Introduction / History Azerbaijan is known as the Land of Fire to its people. This name refers to an ancient belief that this Central Asian country is a place where sacred fire is found and preserved. Today, the Land of Fire's rich oil resources have elevated the nation to a place of significance within the European Union. In particular Belgium has been willing to offer benefits like visa liberalization to incoming Azerbaijanis in order to secure a strategic relationship with the Azerbaijani government. Still there are few Azerbaijanis in Belgium.
Despite Azerbaijan's economic prosperity, it is a country plagued by severe political and military corruption and a failure to preserve human rights. This situation gives some Azerbaijanis a desire to move to other countries like Belgium.
Where are they located? Azerbaijanis tend to live in the urban centers of Belgium.
What are their lives like? Those who live in Europe are trying to get established in a land where the language and customs are foreign.
What are their beliefs? The majority of Azerbaijanis in Belgium are Shi'ite Muslim, and only one percent are Christian. There is a sizable secular minority among them. Azerbaijan itself is one of the most progressive and secular Islamic nations while Belgium, primarily Roman Catholic, gradually seeks to reduce Christian influence from its public life by doing things like secularizing the names of Christian holidays. To the Azerbaijanis in Belgium, religion can be a meaningless identifier. With the threat of marginalization and alienation from the wider Belgian society affecting all Muslim immigrants, there is urgent need for disciples of Christ to reach out to the Azerbaijani population.
What are their needs? Shi'ite Muslim Azerbaijanis seldom have the chance to hear that Jesus Christ saves sinners. There is freedom or religion in Belgium, so believers can go to them as ambassadors of Christ.
Prayer Points * Pray for the all-consuming fire of God to purify and redeem these men and women from the Land of Fire.
* Pray for Belgium to be a place where Azerbaijanis find freedom to knock, seek, and find the Lord.
* Pray for many to take the ways of Jesus to the Azerbaijanis in Belgium.