Welcome to Zhartvystan!
We love God and we love Central Asia. We long to see His name made famous among the people there. Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful…” (Matt 9:37, NASB). “Zhartvystan” is a made-up word meaning Land of the Harvest (from the Russian word for harvest: жартва). We feel that the time for the Harvest in Central Asia is come. At Zhartvystan, we’re passionate about God being glorified in a great Harvest from Central Asia.
Our purpose in this life is to glorify and enjoy God. At Zhartvystan, we glorify God by…
- Proclaiming the Sewyewnchew–that He loves the people of Central Asia and reigns there.
- Nurturing a love for His people in Central Asia.
- Supporting and rejoicing in His Harvest Work in Central Asia.
We do this through…
- The sharing of what we know about Central Asia and God’s work there with others.
- Prayer for God’s people and His work in Central Asia.
- Sacrificial giving to His work in Central Asia.
- Direct participation in His work in Central Asia by going there ourselves.
We rejoice that God has given us this opportunity because God first loved us and showed His love for us in this, “that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us,” (Rom 5:8) because the entire Law can be summarized as this, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” (Gal 5:14) and because the great and final task that Jesus left His disciples was to, “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matt 28:18-20)
Here at Zhartvystan, we ocasionally use some language that you may be unfamiliar with. Below, we’ve defined some of the words we use frequently:
- Zhartvystan — A generic word for any region in Central Asia that, for some reason, cannot be named more specifically. Also, the name of the blog. When we are referring to a region, we will say “in Zhartvystan.” When we are referring to the blog, we will say “at Zhartvystan.”
- Zhartvy People — A generic phrase used for any people group that, for some reason, cannot be named more specifically.
- Sewyewnchew — In Kyrgyz culture, the word “суйунчу” introduces news that is extremely special and valuable. When we use the word at Zhartvystan, we are referring to the Good News (also known as the Gospel or the Injil) of Jesus Christ (known as Isa in the Islamic scriptures, the Qur’an).
- Isa — Jesus of Nazareth (Jesus Christ) as He is known in the Islamic scriptures, the Qur’an.
- Believers — People who have repented of (turned away from) their sin, believed in Isa and now follow Him (Christians).
- Harvest — God’s People who have yet to hear the Seyenchew, repent, believe and follow Isa.
- Harvest Work — To proclaim the Seyenchew among those who have not yet heard and to love them regardless of their response.
- Harvest Workers — Believers who proclaim the Seyenchew among those who haven’t yet heard and love the people that they work among, regardless of their response (missionaries).
- Heritage — This word can be used to refer to Central Asian history and culture, which we respect and work to understand. It can also be used to refer to the history and inheritance that Believers have in the Kingdom of God.
- Hospitality — People from Central Asia are renowned for their hospitality, we hope that you feel warmly welcomed by us as well.
The shanyrak is emblematic in many Central Asian cultures. It is the wooden crown that creates a hole at the summit of the roof of a yurt. It is always open, allowing smoke from the fire within to escape. During the day, it illuminates the yurt; at night, it is a window that allows people to search the heavens. It is the longest-lasting part of the yurt and is frequently passed from father to son upon the father’s death–it represents a family’s heritage and identity.
In the same way, we hope that we live our lives in a way that allows the fragrance of God to escape from the source fire of Holy Spirit within us. We hope that we are Light among the peoples of this dark world and that we are a window into the very character of God. We Believers have a great Heritage in Christ, who is our identity, which we pass along to others.
For centuries, Believers have used wheat to symbolize the Lord’s Harvest. By building our shanyrak with wheat, we declare that all Central Asian peoples have a future Heritage as part of the Lord’s Harvest. The Lord reigns over all the earth, and this is reflected in the cross formed by the wheat and crossbars over the circle behind it.
About Central Asia
Central Asia is the land where East meets West along the Silk Road. Depending on who you ask, it stretches from western China to Iran, from Pakistan up into the southern regions of Russia and the Caucasus. Today, Central Asia is home to more than 90 million people from many different ethnicities, languages, religions and tribes.
For millennia, nomadic horsemen ruled the steppe of Central Asia. By the end of the 19th century, Russia and China had claimed most of the region as their own. The Russian Revolution and subsequent rise of Soviet power introduced new infrastructure, but restricted freedoms and suppressed local culture. When the Soviet Union fell, the Central Asian countries regained their political and cultural independence from Russia, but former Communist leaders remained in power and restricted many freedoms.
Today, most people in Central Asia remain unaware of the Sewyewnchew–Good News. Seven of the Top Ten Unreached People Groups call Central Asia home. Central Asia truly is a land of the Harvest.