Kazakhstan Authorities Free Jailed Pastor

Makset at airportAfter nearly three months in prison, a pastor in Kazakhstan wanted for the “crime” of sharing Jesus was finally released on Tuesday.

In an announcement Wednesday, Dr. John Sorensen, President and CEO of Evangelism Explosion International, said the EE family is “extremely thrilled and relieved” over the release of Pastor Makset Djabbarbergenov.

“And we are very grateful for the work of staff members and leadership for their role in speaking to officials, visiting him in prison, taking care of his family, and standing with him during this difficult time,” he added.

In particular, Dr. Sorensen thanked Dr. George Roller, the Director of the D. James Kennedy Center for Christian Statesmanship, and NRB President & CEO Dr. Frank Wright for their “many hours” in appealing to and working with the State Department, leaders from the former Soviet Union, and Members of Congress.

“Mostly, I’d like to praise and thank our God for His compassionate Hand toward Makset and his family,” the EE leader stated.

Since September 5, Pastor Makset had been sitting in a Kazakhstan jail as prosecutors sought to send him back to Uzbekistan, where he has been charged for practicing religion outside state regulation.

According to reports, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees had determined Makset and his family to be refugees who would face prosecution in their native homeland because of their Christian faith. The Kazakh government, however, disagreed and had ruled against Makset, whose case then moved to the country’s highest court.

Though Pastor Makset is now free, Dr. Sorensen has asked concerned Christians to continue praying for the pastor and his family, who are now in search of a new place to call home and a new role in service.

“It is truly a day for rejoicing!” he concluded.

PHOTO ABOVE: Pastor Makset Djabbarbergenov poses for a photo at an airport with his youngest son after being release from prison. Photograph courtesy of Evangelism Explosion International.

Published: December 6, 2012