Below is a true Boots on the Road story highlighting one of the many unreached people groups along the Silk Road. This story is excerpted from the book, Live Dead Together: A Practice in Group Abiding. Order the book and find other Live Dead resources here.

Back home in the rural hills overlooking China’s Western border, the men of the village spent their free time resting their weary knees while drinking milky-brown tea and mulling over the same weathered topics that they have always talked about. It had been more than once that they had warned Abu Bakhr of the evils of the West and the polytheistic, pig-eating, drunkard Christians. Of course, none of them had ever met a Christian, and did not expect Abu Bakhr to when he went as a student to this nearby Turkic speaking, Muslim country.

Dilara’s round face, framed by her soft blue hijab, beamed as I handed her the Bible she had asked me to give her. Abu Bakhr peered skeptically at it. Just the day before he insisted foreigners passed out Bibles with one hundred dollar bills, bribing people as if any Uyghur would be so weak enough to accept the perverted Christian religion. But he was curious too.

I knew realistically that when Dilara and Abu Bakhr returned from their studies abroad, home to Western Turkistan, that Dilara would not have the freedom to explore this book. As a young man, as in most patriarchal societies along the Silk Road, Abu Bakhr might have a slight measure more of independence, but fear of societal pressure runs strong in all human veins.

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