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Turkmenistan is the second largest
Central Asian country. Eighty
percent of its land mass is an
inhospitable desert. The Karakum
Desert, one of the driest deserts in the
world, contains unexploited oil and
gas reserves. Despite its gas wealth,
much of Turkmenistan’s population is
still impoverished.

The Republic of Turkmenistan is
bordered by Kazakhstan to the
northwest, Uzbekistan to the north
and east, Afghanistan to the southeast,
and Iran to the south. The population
of the country is 5.6 million.

Turkmenistan was part of the Soviet
Republic until 1992. In the Soviet era,
the authorities attempted to eradicate
all religious systems. Religious
education and religious observances
were banned. Mosques and places
of worship were closed. Since 1990,
there have been attempts to restore
some of the historical culture lost
under Soviet rule.

10 After the collapse of the former
Communist rule, the communist
leader Niyazov appointed himself as
a self-styled dictator for life. In 1992,
he led the presidential election with
only himself as a candidate. No one
else was allowed to run for the office.

He renamed all the days of the week
after himself and his family. The
president then proceeded to build
golden statues of himself. Niyazov
did not forget his mother, naming the
only men’s magazine in the country
after her.

Niyazov died suddenly in 2006, leaving
a country without a stable power
structure. In early February 2007,
Deputy Prime Minister Gurbanguly
Berdimuhamedow won the special
presidential election. He was re-
elected in 2012.

The CIA World Factbook gives the
ethnic composition of Turkmenistan
as 85% Turkmen, 5% Uzbek, 4%
Russian, and 6% other (2003
estimates). There are two languages
spoken in Turkmenistan and the
whole Bible is available in one of the
languages. According to the CIA World Factbook,
the religions of the tiny country are
Muslim 89%, Eastern Orthodox 9%,
and unknown 2%. The unknown 2%
would include Christian and Jewish.

It would be extremely difficult for
a missionary to enter this country.

In many places around the world,
the internet would offer evangelistic
opportunity, but the internet is
available to only a small percentage
of the population in Turkmenistan. It
is found in some hotels; however, it is
under constant surveillance from the
state. Visitors are watched carefully.

Persecution against Christians is
on the increase. Christian leaders
have suffered beatings and foreign
Christians have not been allowed to
remain in the country. Pray for the
people of Turkmenistan—so long in

by Mary Ray
Charles F. Weigle
I reached out my hand to open the door, but I was quickly rebuked. His words were stern
and emphatic. “I am not too old to be a gentleman.” They were the words of Dr. Charles
Weigle who lived on the campus of Tennessee Temple University where I was a student.

W hile working my way through
college, I had numerous jobs
on the campus. One of those jobs
was to clean the room of Charles F.

Weigle. I did not consider it a job
but an honor. He would sit at the
piano in the classroom outside of
his room and play and sing while I
cleaned. When I finished, he and I
would walk to the university dining
room together for dinner. Because
Dr. Weigle was almost 90 years old,
I would try to hold the door open
for him, but he would never allow it.

C harles Weigle was born
in Lafayette, Indiana, on
November 20, 1871, and was one
of 12 children. His father was a
German baker, and his mother was
a devoted wife and mother. Both
of his parents were godly people.

Charles went to a Lutheran school
where he learned his father’s native
language. He had a great love for
books and after his conversion at
1 2
hymns. When a crowd gathered,
they would stop on the corner, a
quartet would sing, and then one
of the young men would preach the
Gospel. At times, there would be a
ecause of financial reverses, thousand to fifteen hundred people
the Weigle family moved to listening, and hundreds raised their
Kentucky when Charles was high hands for prayer.

school age. Because he had a keen
fter Charles answered the call
interest in music, he attended the
to preach, doors began to open
Cincinnati Conservatory of Music,
and it was there that he received his rapidly. At one time, he was a pastor,
voice training. “His desire was to but much of his ministry was in
become a baritone soloist; however, evangelism. He had great evangelistic
this ambition was not strong enough meetings where thousands attended
to sidetrack his interest in spiritual and hundreds were converted. He
things. The Lord used several was an eloquent preacher of the
incidents that led him to realize that Gospel. “Two other qualities so
God was calling him to become a often overlooked are possibly the
source of his magnetic personality,
preacher and an evangelist.” 1
which colored his whole ministry:
r. Weigle began his service for he was a consecrated preacher and a
the Lord on a Gospel Wagon in dignified gentleman.” 2
Cincinnati, Ohio. A group of young
t was during his years as an
Christians would ride down the
evangelist that he became a hymn
streets of the city on a wagon and sing
the age of 12 at a Methodist revival
meeting, he became very interested
in the Bible and made it part of his
daily reading.

The Life Story and Songs of Charles F. Weigle (Chattanooga, TN: Highland Park Baptist Church, 1963), 12.

The Life Story and Songs of Charles F. Weigle, 12.