Prayer for Christianity in Georgia
Pray for the spiritual need of ethnic minorities.Georgian believers are best placed to reach ethnic minorities, but they need a greater desire to train, send and support workers to do this. There is a little outreach to Muslims; some Baptists are receiving training to reach out to them. Pray for these believers to gain a burden for ethnic peoples, including the following:
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a) Abkhazians - mostly Orthodox and with a sizeable Muslim minority, they tend to reflect a worldview and practice that is more ethnoreligionist and pagan in its outlook. They live in their own breakaway region in the northwest; effective outreach would require cultural insight as well as spiritual breakthrough.
b) Jews. There is no known witness to them. They face a rising tide of anti-Semitism in a country that has historically been for them a haven.
c) The Kish live mostly in and near the Pankisi Gorge and are closely related to Chechens. Many live in poverty. They are mostly Sunni Muslim, but with some Christian and pagan influences among them.
d) The Mingrelians number around 400,000; while many are Orthodox in name, the large majority are non-religious.
e) The Svaneti people live in the mountainous west in remote villages, a dangerous area of Georgia often plagued by Chechen rebels. The Svaneti are largely untouched by the gospel; those who are Orthodox have little knowledge of their own faith. One Pentecostal couple works among this unreached people.
f) Azerbaijanis, who are Muslim. There is at least one Azeri congregation, and the Bible is available in their language, as is the JESUS film.
Christian help ministries for prayer include:
a) Literature distribution. The Bible Society, OM, BIEM and the Fellowship Tract League produce or distribute tracts and Christian literature in Georgian.
b) The Georgian Bible, in use until a few years ago, was an ancient translation. The two recent translations (1990s) are the standard Bibles today, but due to their popularity, there is a great need to print more. A children's Bible is also available. The Bible Society projects are a welcome success in inter-confessional ministry; they also produce a Bible magazine and run a Bible shop. Their desire to distribute Scriptures in Abkhazia and South Ossetia has often been disrupted by the conflicts and instability there.
c) Christian radio programmes in Georgian are another need. There is a wealth of radio broadcasting in Russian from abroad, but solid Christian content in local languages is sorely lacking.
d) The JESUS film and related resources have been completed in Georgian, Russian, Ossetian and Mingrellian (the first ever film in this language!). Svan and Abkhazian productions are held up due to the conflict; pray for the completion of these translations. The JESUS film, combined with other discipleship tools, has proven to be very effective.