Rehabilitation Through A Bee Hive
In May I spent some time in Central Asia, seeing how your help is advancing the gospel through a Bee Farming project!
In this region of the world, the violence of Islamic extremism and the relentless pressure of communism collide to make following Jesus unbelievably difficult. Our vision has always been to strengthen the local church so that they may continue to be the hands and feet of Jesus in their community.
The Bee Farm
Image: Bee Hives
To reach the Bee Farm we drove through a picturesque mountainous region of the country and passed through several remote villages, several of which practiced Wahhabi Islam (a similar version of Islam to that of Islamic State). Children played outside and farm animals wandered the streets. Eventually, we arrived at the Bee Farm, situated high on a hillside overlooking many of these staunchly Islamic villages and townships.
From Criminal To Pastor
Silvan came to know Jesus when he was in prison, and is now a pastor and one of our key partners in this country. Silvan ended up in prison at a young age and he was beaten daily by the guards. Food was scarce, so he would eat grass, frogs and rats.
Image: Silvan, one of our partners.
His aunt gave him a New Testament, which he read cover to cover. He realised that God could change him, and he began meeting with a pastor who visited his prison from time to time.
One evening he heard a voice inside say, “You need to repent.” Silvan gave his life to Jesus and asked for forgiveness. He was filled with joy and started to tell other inmates and guards about Jesus, many came to faith.
Even when he left prison, he went back to preach the gospel.
The Difference A Bee Hive Makes
Silvan heard about Open Doors through the pastor he met in prison. As an organisation and with your support, we helped him complete a Vocational Business Training course. He didn’t have an education, but through this training was able to complete a business plan on bee keeping.
Silvan was given a loan to buy a wagon with beehives and some bees. Now, several years on, he has five employees at the bee farm, and is one of our key project partners in this country. Off the success of the Bee Farm he has been able to start several other key ministries in this country, keep reading to find out about the rehabilitation centres Silvan began.
Sharing The Gospel In An ISIS Village
As I stood with Silvan at the Bee Farm we looked out over the villages below and he began to tell me those villages are where he sells the honey. He said that the village is Wahhabi Muslim – people who follow the same doctrine as Islamic State and al-Qaeda.
Silvan’s said his aim is to share the gospel with this village – I asked him if he sold the honey and then shared the gospel and he quickly responded, "Mike you missed one very important step… first, we become friends with them and then we share the gospel."
Along with support from Open Doors, the income from the Bee Farm supports two rehabilitation centres, one for men and one for women.
Men’s Rehabilitation Centre
Image: Dusk at the rehabilitation centre.
The men’s centre is home to former criminals, addicts and homeless men. They’re supported through their rehabilitation and hear the life-saving message of Jesus. They spend their time reading the Bible and worshipping together, and working in the centre’s garden and kitchen.
The women’s centre gives hope to women and children off the streets, and those formerly working in the sex industry. Women and children are given a home and food, and the opportunity to find work, education, safety and community. The people here know Jesus and are so thankful to their Saviour.
Your Help Is Making A Difference
I was privileged to visit these three projects, and see the difference your help continues to make and how it undeniably helps people find hope in Jesus. Every single person I spoke with told me that now they know Jesus, their mission is to share Him. Jesus to them is ‘the most serious thing in their life’.
Everything we do at Open Doors is to advance the gospel by empowering the local church. We want to see people reach out with the gospel in some of the most dangerous places in the world to follow Jesus.
*Name changed for security purposes.