On a typical day, the July 29 Associated Baptist Press headline I read, “Uzbekistan charges Baptist camp with crimes,” would catch my attention, but quickly give way to other matters. However, this particular July 29 was no typical day, as I was preparing for a 12-day journey that was to include seven days in Uzbekistan. The itinerary included a meeting with Pavel Peychev — the president of the Baptist Union of Uzbekistan, and one of three charged with tax evasion and illegally teaching religion to children as detailed in the article.
I traveled to Uzbekistan with a group of pastors and mission leaders from the United States, as well as friends from Eastern Europe. During our trip we met with church leaders and heard their stories, while also searching for ways to collaborate on training in theological education.
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Note: Dr. Otniel Bunaciu, President of the Romanian Baptist Union, was part of this delegation.