HEARTS RIPE FOR HARVEST: A QUICK STUDY OF AZERBAIJAN
Hearts on Fire
A flame burns at the center of the official emblem of the Republic of Azerbaijan. It symbolizes their ancient national concept of “Odlar Yurdu,” which translates as Land of Fire. Sources differ about the origin of this phrase, but the reality of this burning fire is evident in the hearts of its people. GHM works closely with many Azerbaijanis and their ardor for their country, their people and their traditions is remarkable. This burning flame becomes an inferno when Azerbaijanis come to know and love Jesus Christ.
Azerbaijan is a beautiful country with a wide range of landscapes and climates. Its access to the Caspian Sea and the grandeur of its mountain ranges have tempted empire after empire to make it their own. Rich in natural resources and exquisite trade goods, the country contributed to the legends and wonder of the Silk Road. Even today geography plays a role, because oil, agriculture and tourism contribute significantly to the country’s economy.
Archeologists have discovered evidence of Stone Age settlements in this Transcaucasian region. Scythians, Medes and Ancient Greeks ruled there throughout early historical eras. In the second century AD, a Persian dynasty came to power. The country had its first taste of Christianity in the 4th century. Then it fell under Muslim rule in the 7th century with the rest of the Persian Empire. After that it was passed back and forth between various Turkish rulers until 1918.
The Mother Tongue
As boundaries and rulers changed the Azerbaijani language tied the hearts of its people together, regardless of their situation or place. Today, as evidence of their displacement over the centuries, you will find more Azerbaijanis in Iran than populate Azerbaijan itself.
This beautiful language was used in literature from the 14th century and by the 16th century Azerbaijani became the lingua franca (common language) throughout the Transcaucasian area. Each successive conquest in the area influenced the spoken and written language.
Now Azerbaijani-speaking people populate the entire region of Central Asia, including Iran and Turkey. This wide-spread knowledge of the language allows it to be a lingua franca for the Good News.
In 1918 the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was declared, but within two years it became part of the Soviet Union. Azerbaijan reclaimed its independence in 1991, but the country still suffers from the effects of almost three thousand years of conflict, conquest and dispersion. The current conflict over the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh is proof of their difficulties.
In spite of everything, these people, who have been through so much, are filled with fire. With just a few sentences, their passion will convince anyone of the beauty of their land and its people. Working with Azerbaijanis to bring the love of Jesus Christ to all the people their country is one of the great joys of this ministry.
Help Reap the Harvest
You can partner with Global Heart Ministries to fulfill The Great Commission in this generation. Together we can bring the light and the truth of Jesus Christ right into the living rooms of every deceived child, every oppressed woman and every hurting home. This is our message. This is our call.
We invite you to join this vision as a volunteer, a prayer warrior or a financial donor. Contact us today by phone or email. Let us know how you’d like to partner with us as we reach out to the most unreached regions of the world.