• Pray for God's love to be proclaimed in the dozens of towns and villages which have never heard the Gospel.
• Pray for enduring solutions to conflicts with Armenia and Russia.
• Pray for mature leaders, deepening unity, and increased discipleship for the growing Church in spite of government surveillance.
Located between Russia, Iran, and Armenia, Azerbaijan is the largest nation in the Caucasus region and home to diverse landscapes, from vast mountain ridges to plains and lowlands. The picturesque Caspian port and capital city of Baku is a popular destination for tourists, though many often fail to acknowledge the forty percent of Azeri citizens living in poverty. Past the luxury hotels and modern art museums, this Eurasian country holds over 600,000 internally displaced people as a result of the frozen Armenian-Azeri conflict.
The Armenian-Azeri territorial dispute over the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh erupted into armed conflict in 1992 before a ceasefire was issued two years later. Despite continued attempts at peace, the still unresolved issue results in ongoing political tension between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Azeri citizens - especially those displaced by the conflict - fear a war is in their future. Though political tensions are high, Azerbaijan's successful oil-dominated economy keeps the nation fiscally stable, and growing the tourism industry in Baku is one of the government's top priorities.
Over eighty-six percent of the nation's nine million citizens are practicing Muslims. While the Azeri constitution grants everyone the freedom to worship, religious institutions are still required to register with the Azeri government in order to congregate, and religious literature must be approved before publishing. Less than three percent of the population are followers of Jesus, and because Christianity is frequently associated with Russian imperialism and Armenian enmity, Christians are often harassed by law enforcement, threatened by heavy fines, and forced to avoid congregating because of the inability to adhere to strict regulations. Many citizens are imprisoned for worshipping without proper registration. Foreigners are also legally prohibited from proselytizing, making cross-cultural missions more challenging. These strict regulations cause many churches to both meet and minister in secret. But despite these challenges, the Christian church is beginning to flourish as the number of churches emerging in Azerbaijan increases every year.
Capital City: Baku
Government: Presidential republic
Major People Groups: 86% Azerbaijani (Azeri Turk); 4% Lezgian (Lezghi); 3% South Azerbaijani; 1% Armenian (Ermeni); 1% Talysh (Lenkoran)
Religion: Muslim 96%, Christian 2%, Agnostic 1%
Language: Azerbaijani, Lezgi, Armenian, Talysh, Russian
GDP Per Capita: $13,700
Literacy Rate: 99.8%
POPULATION IN UNREACHED PEOPLE GROUPS: 96.1%
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