Baker_Central Asia_Sep2020.pdf


September 2020


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Entering the home where a fledgling church now meets in a remote village, we were told the head of the home and his wife were not there. His children (both in their mid 20s) invited us to sit down for tea along with another young family who was visiting them. As we joined them, the young man visiting introduced himself as a mullah—an Islamic teacher. Early on in the conversation he stated that Kazakhs are by definition Muslim. I prayed for wisdom, knowing that this very “conversation stopper” can serve as a bridge into a deeper conversation pointing to Jesus as our Lord and Savior. 


As we plunged into a discussion of what “Muslim” really means, he agreed the word’s root meaning is “submitter”—one who submits to the will of God Almighty. From that point, our conversation took many twists and turns. The young man noted that he helped teach other Kazakhs to pray the Salah or Namaz prayers—an important act of submission to God in the Muslim religion. I shared what Jesus taught his disciples about prayer and read Jesus’ words from Matthew 6:5 ESV. “When you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.” I observed that even today many love to be praised by others or even to receive payment for their beautiful prayers. But Jesus said such people should not expect to receive anything from God for their prayers, for they have already received what they will get—the praise or payment of other people. Others are not so crass; they say their prayers hoping to gain merit or credit before God by their good deeds. The common understanding is that the longer their Arabic prayers, the more credit they receive. However, the young man confirmed that no one in the village could actually speak in Arabic. I noted that such prayers are exactly what Jesus instructed his followers not to do in Matthew 6:7 ESV. “When you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.” The kind of submission God wants is not merely outward, but one of the heart “in Spirit and in truth.” 


I pointed out that Jesus taught His disciples a completely different way of praying. Because of His sacrifice given on the cross, we sinful humans have been made right with God. Now He invites us to come before Him not as cowering slaves, but “as dearly loved children come before their dearly loved Father.” So, we pray, “Our Father, who art in heaven…” Instead of being offended, the young mullah seemed quite thoughtful and attentive by this point in our conversation—asking many questions along the way that I cannot fit in this short article. In the end the conversation shifted to his little three-year-old son, who walks with a limp because of untreated hip-dysplasia. I related that our son Timothy had the same problem as a child. When I offered to pray for his son he whole-heartedly agreed. Perhaps this simple example of Christian prayer in their own native Kazakh language had more impact than the rest of our conversation thus far, for the mullah and his wife were clearly moved at the end of the prayer, and thanked me for asking God’s blessing upon their child.



·     Please pray for the people of Kazakhstan where Covid-19 is still spreading widely.


·     Pray for Azamat and Dina and family who are still stranded in Kazakhstan due to coronavirus travel restrictions, that they would soon be able to return to Mongolia.


·     Thank the Lord for the privilege to come before Him in prayer! Pray that new Kazakh Christians would learn to make use of this precious privilege to come before the Lord in prayer “as dearly loved children come to their dearly loved father!”


·     Praise the Lord for the wisdom that He gives by the Holy Spirit as we testify to who Jesus is and what He has done for us.

·     Pray for preservation and growth in the faith for the young Kazakh Christians in Mongolia, who often face pressures and persecution from the Islamic community.



(age 17)

Julia is in her last year of high school and Rachel has been taking some “senior pictures” with her. Julia’s younger siblings have found this to be a great opportunity for teasing their older sister as she poses for the camera! For Julia’s parents the convention of taking senior pictures has served to remind us just how fast these precious little ones of ours are growing up!



(age 15)

Generally things like a backpack, water bottle and walking stick make the short list of supplies needed for a hike in the mountains. Timothy has added “LEGOs” to his list. He likes to use the amazing panoramic backgrounds to stage scenes for photos and videos of his creations in nature.



(age 13)

Daniel seems to be in a perpetual growth spurt these days. On a recent outing with the middle-schoolers from our Sunday school, the other children couldn’t believe how Daniel had grown. As reward for his huge size Daniel got the privilege of giving all the other middle-schoolers piggyback and shoulder rides!



For Esther the best part of any outing is the chance to be together with other people. She wasn’t so sure about climbing through a cave that we found on a recent hike, but as her mother and siblings began exploring the passageway Esther soon decided that she would not like to be left out!








David Baker, Post Office 48A, Post Box 87, 13373 Ulaanbaatar, MONGOLIA


USA MOBILE NUMBER: (920)-757-8001


PO Box 305, Poy Sippi, WI 54967


To financially support the ministry of the Baker family, please call 1-712-882-1029 or 1-703-713-2851, or send an email to either or


LCMS OIM | PO Box 305, Poy Sippi, WI 54967



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