Central Asia

Beekeeping Opens Muslim Hearts to Jesus in Tajikistan

In early fall, Farzin* loaded his donkey and walked to his beehives outside the village. 

As he approached, he did not see the bees or hear the humming. When he opened the lids of his bee boxes, he gasped. All the bees were dead!  

Farzin is a Muslim and lives in Tajikistan, a mountainous landlocked country in Central Asia. Agriculture in this region is difficult, but blooming trees and abundant wildflowers make it ideal for beekeeping. Bees begin extracting nectar from the blossoms at the lower, warmer elevations and then work their way up the mountainside, extending the season.  

The United Nations Development Program states that monthly income in Tajikistan is less than $14 a month, causing thousands of men to leave the country to find work in Russia and other areas. This labor migration is the only way they see to support their families. However, Farzin has been able to remain at home with his wife and children due to the income he gets from selling his honey. This year there would be no honey—none for his family and none to sell. 

He often gathered with fellow beekeepers in the village and became good friends with a man named Jawid*, a Christian. Even as a Muslim, Farzin felt comfortable in Jawid’s presence. Jawid often brought practical gifts to help his friend’s family, and they became closer with each visit. One day in the spring, Farzin asked for assistance with his hives.

Together they cleaned out the old hives, removing parasites, and then obtained new bees. When everything was set up, Farzin asked Jawid to bless his hives and ask his Jesus for a bountiful harvest. 

In October, these two men went to gather the honey from Farzin’s hives. As they approached the hives, they heard a sound like cats purring. Smiling at one another, they hurried up to see. The presence of active bees and the sound of high-pitched buzzing assured them that the hives were healthy. 

Farzin placed pine needles in the smoker, lit it, and inserted it into the base of the hives to calm the bees. This year the honeycombs were capped with wax and full of life-saving sweetness. He and Jawid removed the frames, shook off the remaining bees, sliced off the caps, and placed three frames into a hand-operated centrifuge. Farzin then cranked long and hard. 

The golden treasure of pure mountain honey flowed into a large vat. When the two men finished processing the four boxes of ten frames each, Farzin had 154 pounds of honey! Jawid had only harvested 50 pounds from his four hives. 

Even Farzin’s extended Muslim family believes that this year’s miracle is due to Jawid’s prayers. They now want to go into business with Jawid and learn more about this Jesus, who answers prayer. 

Jawid says, “Our family wants to see these people be blessed not only with honey but also by God who gave them the biggest blessing in His Son Jesus Christ!”

*Names changed for security reasons

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