Beth Alexander

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WEEK OF PRAYER: European refugee center lacks funds but not opportunity

EUROPE (BP) -- She is looking for a little good news. Shirin has found her way to a refugee center in Europe run by Southern Baptist workers. A worker calls Shirin's grown daughter in the United States -- Shirin is desperate to reconnect. Once a businesswoman in Kabul, Afghanistan, she also was a mother and a wife, married to a man with a prestigious government job. Then the Taliban showed up. They mercilessly killed her husband. Her children were taken from her and raised to hate her and the more culturally liberal way of life she embraced. She eventually left Afghanistan, joining thousands of other refugees migrating through Iran, Turkey and Greece toward the hope of a better life. Wandering is part of the nomadic history of many minority peoples of Central Asia. Sadly, running is part of it as well: running from war, persecution, discrimination, poverty. "War! War! War!" Shirin laments. "Why?" The news from Shirin's daughter is devastating. "Tell her I died 20 years ago" is the message she receives. For a woman tired of running and longing for a home, the words strangle what little hope she has left. Where is home? It is not with her daughter. It is not Afghanistan....

Kyrgyzstan ethnic violence doesn’t deter believers

OSH, Kyrgyzstan (BP)--Ethnic violence among Kyrgyz and Uzbek people in Central Asia has killed as many as 2,000 people and driven an estimated 400,000 from their homes.       Yet, despite the tensions, Kyrgyz believers have reached out to help Uzbek neighbors, putting their own lives at risk, a Christian worker in the region said.       Kyrgyzstan has been in political turmoil since President Kurmanbek Bakiyev was forced from power two months ago. Conflict now swirls around Osh, the country's second-largest city.