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Liberty Theological Seminary


A Paper Submitted to Dr. Daniel Sheard In Partial Fulfillment Of the Requirements for the Course Global Studies Survey GLST 500

By Johnny Carter

Lynchburg, Virginia

June 30, 2013




Map source: Joshua Project / Global Mapping International1

People-in-country Profile, Joshua Project, June 30, 2013, profile.php?peo3=14039&rog3=UZ.


With less than 2% of its population following Christ, the indigenous people of Uzbek, of Northern Uzbekistan are destined for doom if they are not reached for Christ. Christian churches along with Christian workers are greatly needed in Northern Uzbekistan and the region is ripe for harvesting. However, creating a working partnership between mission workers and the Uzbek Christian leaders has not been going very well. For every successful outreach story there are several stories of religious persecutions. The current methods used for reaching this group of people are being met by the hostile regime of the ruling party who will do whatever they have to do to keep the gospel from reaching the people. The purpose of this particular project is to research and develop a biblical program that will help train leaders to go into the remote areas of Northern Uzbekistan and preach the Good News of Jesus Christ to the indigenous people of Northern Uzbekistan. The main goal of this project is to see a region that was once lost; now proclaiming the name of Jesus Christ. INTRODUCTION

Northern Uzbekistan is located in Central Asia and is home to about 20 million Uzbeks.2 Northern Uzbekistan borders the Aral Sea between Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.


Northern Uzbekistan is believed to be slightly larger than the state of California.3 The country of Uzbekistan is the most populous in Central Asia and it has the largest armed forces. Uzbekistan is the biggest producer of cotton in the world and the country is very rich in natural resources, such as oil, gas and gold. However, economic reform has been slow and poverty and unemployment is widespread.4 According to the Christian Aid Mission website Uzbekistan is home to 62 people groups, 36 of whom remain unreached. Uzbekistan is defined as an authoritarian state with limited civil rights and international observers have express serious concern over the wide spread violation of basic human rights.5 According to the Joshua Project, persecution for the country of Northern Uzbekistan stands at 16 and the need for Christian workers stands at 62/100.6 UZBEKISTAN BACKGROUND INFORMATION History The Central Asian Turks are the ancestors of the Uzbeks; they helped Genghis Khan capture Eastern Europe in the 1300s.7 However, as with most kingdoms something happens that eventually turns two friendly kingdoms into warring enemies. The Turks and the Mongols

Worldmark Encyclopedia of Nations, s.v. Uzbekistan: Location Size and Extent, June 30,2013) Uzbekistan Profile, BBC News-Uzbekistan Profile, June 30, 2013, About Uzbekistan, Christian Aid Mission, July 1, 2013,
6 5 4

Ibid, People-in-country Profile, Joshua Project

Prayer Profile: The Uzbek, Pray Way Global Prayer Community: The Uzbek, July 1, 2013,

became those two warring kingdoms. From these warring kingdoms came the descendants of the Uzbeks people. The Russians conquered the Uzbeks by the mid 1800s and they were forced to live under the czarist rule until the Bolshevik Revolution brought the Communists to power in 1917.8 The Communists power which was under a socialist government forced many of the Uzbeks nomads and farmers to live on collective farms. Uzbekistan was able to become an independent nation once the Soviet Union was broken up in 1991.9 The way of life for the Uzbek people has historically been one of farming, horticulture, craftsmanship, trade, and animal husbandry. The men handled all the major hard work such as the farming, gardening and craftsmanship; while the women handle all the cooking, weaving and looking after domestic animals and of course caring for the kids. 10 The daily activities of the Uzbek people had a great impact on their cultural and social characteristics. The Uzbek people made their clothes according to climatic characteristics, historical and ethnic-regional features. Language The primary language of Northern Uzbekistan is Uzbek which is a Turkic language.74.3 percent of the Uzbekistan population speaks the Uzbek language. 14.2 speak Russian and 4.4 percent speak Tajik. There are a few people who speak Karakalpak, which is also a Turkic language that is related to the Kazakh and Tatar and its included under the Uzbek in statistics. 11No one knows how many actual people speak the Karakalpak language because many ethnic Karakalpaks use the Uzbek dialects. Russian language is officially designated as

Ibid Ibid Uzbekistan People, Uzbekistan, July 1, 2013,


Country Profile: Uzbekistan, The Library of Congress: Country Studies-Federal research Division, July 1, 2013,


the language of interethnic communication and the people who speak Russian live mainly in the larger cities. Due to the language barriers that can hinder the evangelism process there is a need for the gospel material to be translated into the Uzbekistan language. This translation will help the mission workers to explain that gospel and the Uzbeks will be able to at least read, hear and understand what is being spoken to them. According to David J. Hesselgrave The task of the mission worker is to translate and communicate the biblical message (indeed, the bible itself) into the language and forms that will make it understandable to the hearers and readers in the respondent culture.12 Culture The Uzbekistan culture is considered one of the brightest and original cultures of the East. Their national music, dances, paintings and unique national kitchen and clothes are inimitable.13 The Uzbek people are known for their songs, Koshuk-is a household song with a small diapason melody, covering one or two rows of the poetic text. The dances of Uzbeks distinguish softness, smoothness and expressiveness of movements, easy sliding step, and original movements on a place and a circle.14 The national clothes of the Uzbeks have pretty much remained the same since the end of the twentieth century. The men still wear their pants with a top to bottom direct cover dressing gown (known as a khalat) with openings on the side so they can walk comfortably. The women are often seen wearing colorful dresses or pants. If their heads are not covered with a scarf then
David J. Hesselgrave, "The Role of Culture in Communication," in Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, 4th ed., ed. Ralph D. Winter and Steven C. Hawthorne (Pasadena: William Carey Library, 2009), 426. About Uzbekistan: Culture and Traditions, Embassy of Uzbekistan To The United States, July 1, 2013,
14 13 12


chances are they are wearing a special coat (known as a parandja) this coat could cover the womens body as well as her head and face. However, in todays society most of the Uzbekistan people wear Western style clothing especially those who live in large previously Soviet cities.15 The Uzbekistan people take great pride in providing hospitality for their guests. By custom their guests are afforded the best of everything, even in times of hardship.16 According to Charles H. Kraft The way of Jesus is, however, to honor a peoples culture and its incorporated worldview, not to wrest them from it. Just as Jesus entered the cultural life of the Jews to communicate with them, so are we to enter the cultural matrix, of the people we seek to win.17

Economy The country of Uzbekistan is currently a dry landlocked country with 11% of the land intensely cultivated in irrigated river valleys.18 Uzbekistan has over 60% of its population living in a rural densely populated area. The Uzbek people exported various sort of hydrocarbons, however it was the exportation of natural gas that gave the country a 40% foreign exchange earnings rate in 2009.19 The government also exported gold and cotton, currently


Ibid People-in-country Profile, Joshua Project,

The People of Uzbekistan, Way of Life, Way of Life -The People of Uzbekistan, July 2, 2013, Charles H. Kraft, "Culture, Worldview and Contextualization," in Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, 4th ed., ed. Ralph D. Winter and Steven C. Hawthorne (Pasadena: William Carey Library, 2009), 402. Uzbekistan Economy 2013, CIA World Fact Book, February 5, 2013,
19 18 17



Uzbekistan is now the worlds second largest cotton exporter and fifth largest producer.20 Uzbekistan has tried aggressively to diversify its crops however; cotton remains their main source of production. After their independence in 1991 the Uzbekistan government tried to boost their Soviet style economy by using subsidies and tight controls on production and prices.21 The Uzbekistan government knows that it needs to improve their countries investment climate; nevertheless the government keeps sponsoring measures that often increase, and not decrease its control over business decisions. A sharp increase in the way income is distributed has hurt the lower class of society since Uzbekistan declared its independence.22 In 2003 the Uzbekistan government adapted the IMF currency convertibility under the rules of Article VIII, but because of strict currency controls and the step up in border security, the effects for currency conversion has been hampered and it has also led to other shortages that have caused the economy to remained in a downward spiral. 23 With delays like these the Central Bank will often delay or restrict currency convertibility, especially for consumer goods. For several years due to the rising world prices for its main export commodities such as natural gas, cotton and gold the Uzbekistan government saw a GDP growth over 8% per year for several years that was until the year 2012. 24 In 2012 that growth the Uzbekistan government had experienced suddenly slipped as a result of lower export prices due to the European recession. As a result of their economic woes, the Uzbekistan government accused the United States and other foreign companies of violating The Uzbekistan tax laws while operating in Uzbekistan and therefore the

Ibid Ibid Ibid Ibid Ibid





government froze the assets of these companies.25 While freezing the assets of these companies the Uzbekistan government tried to persuade other US and foreign companies to bring their business to their country by putting together a pretty lucrative package that offered financing and tax advantages.26 This lucrative deal did attract the attention of the US automobile industry and the Uzbekistan government also celebrated the opening of a powertrain manufacturing plant in Tashkent. As of February 2012 the Uzbekistan government had the GDP purchasing power parity of 103.9 billion which gave them a 71 ranking comparison to the world.27 Religion 88% of the Uzbekistan population is Muslims with about 9% Russian Orthodox with 0.01% evangelical Christians.28 Because of their Muslim beliefs the Uzbeks believe that there is only one God which is Allah who was revealed through the prophet Mohammed and then recorded in the Koran.29 About two-thirds of the Uzbekistan populations practice a type of mystic Sufism that is known as the Sunni.30 The Sunni practice consist of five daily prayers, fasting in the month of Ramadan and performing the hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca.31 The Sunni Muslims also believe in the seven articles of faith which are: the belief in the Oneness of God, the angels, the Sacred Scriptures, the messengers of God, the last Day, destiny coming from

Ibid Ibid Ibid




Country Profile: Uzbekistan, The Library of Congress: Country Studies -Federal research Division, July 1, 2013,

People-in-country Profile, Joshua Project, Country Profile: Uzbekistan, The Library of Congress



Kenneth Shouler PHD, The Everything World's Religions Book, 4th ed. (Avon: F + W Media Inc., 2010), 129142, Amazon Kindle.

God- whether good or bad and the resurrection after death.32 Uzbekistan also has 14% who consider themselves non-religious 13% who are of the independent belief 37% Protestant 40%Orthodox (non-Russian) 9% other Christian and 1% who consider themselves Roman Catholic.33 The Joshua Project website says that the New Testament, Genesis, Psalms, Proverbs and Job as well as the Jesus Film have already been made available to the Northern Uzbeks.34 Then there are some Uzbekistan people who do have access to the gospel because they live in the city however, there is a good chance that the majority of the rural villages have had no Gospel witness.35 Even with the diversity in religion the Islamic faith still remains the dominate faith. This region of the world is in desperate need of the word of God. According to the Joshua Project website the Islamic fundamentalist living in the former Soviet regions have begun calling for the strict application of Islamic law that is being practiced in Afghanistan. 36 David Wells states the secularists believe we must come to terms with life, accepting things as they are; seeking some other reference point around which to structure our lives is futile and escapist.37 He also goes on to state- accepting the status quo or life as it is contains a hidden unrecognized assumption that Gods power to change the world, to overcome Evil with Good will not be actualized.38 If we do not want to see a region changed for Christ then we must go on believing as the secularists believe, however I believe in a God who can do the impossible.


Ibid People-in-country Profile, Joshua Project Ibid Ibid Ibid






David Wells, Prayer Rebelling Against the Status Quo," in Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, 4th ed., ed. Ralph D. Winter and Steven C. Hawthorne (Pasadena: William Carey Library, 2009), 160. 38 Ibid


Map source: Maps of World.com39

In the Uzbekistan culture marriage is absolutely necessary for everyone. The family is the basic structure in the Uzbekistan culture. In the Uzbekistan culture the women are usually married by the age of twenty-one; the men not much later. 40 The familys honor is dependent


Political Map of Uzbekistan, Maps of World, May 14, 2012, political-map.html. 40 Jeff E Rlich, Uzbekistan, Countries and Their Cultures, July 2, 2013, www.everyculture/ToZ/Uzbekistan.html#b.

on their daughters virginity; that is why daughters are encouraged to get married early.41 Marriages are arraigned between families; in the more cosmopolitan families the bride and groom has the final say so when they get married. However, the marriage will not take place unless both parties get parental approval and in the Uzbekistan culture the mother has the final word.42 Marriage preference is given to the members of the kin group particularly to the choice the youngest son may choose because he and his bride will be responsible for the care of his parents. 43 The bride and groom will usually marry in their late teens or early twenties, so their wedding can last for a few days with the brides family responsible for the cost.44 The grooms family might have had to pay a price in order for the bride to marry their son. Even though polygamy is illegal and rare in their culture it is not unknown. In the Uzbekistan culture divorce was rare especially outside of the major cities, however once the country received its independence divorce became more common and it became easier for the man to start the divorce proceeding.45 Uzbekistan families hold to the patriarchal model, through which the mother is in charge of the household. To see families with ten or more members is not uncommon; however an average size family will most likely consist of five or six members. All parents would like to leave an inheritance to their kids in the case of the Uzbekistan people the youngest son will receive the family house along with the commitment to care for their elderly


Ibid Ibid Ibid Ibid Ibid





parents. It has always been the custom that the son receives twice as much of the family inheritance as the daughters but it can vary from family to family.46 SURVEY OF MISSIONS As reported earlier in this report Uzbekistan is 88% Muslim. The Uzbekistan people are the largest people group in Central Asia and they are the most resistant to the Gospel.47 With the Islamic Fundamentalists placing strict restrictions on religion it is getting harder and harder for the mission workers to take the gospel to this region. In 2008 things had gotten so bad religious literature was being banned, the Uzbekistan government under President Islam Karimov started targeting Christian missionary groups.48 Persecution is well-known in Uzbekistan, it has gotten to the point where human rights groups have accused the government of imprisoning hundreds of Muslims for practicing their faith outside-stateapproved institutions and even going as far as to label them extremists bent on overthrowing the secular government.49 The Uzbekistan region is in desperate need of God. However, at every turn when is seems like progress is being made the enemy rears his ugly web of deceit to hinder the progress. However, Jesus said that the gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a witness to all the nations (Matt 24:14).50 Regardless of the obstacles that are placed in the way of the mission workers, God still has a plan to reach Uzbekistan. Status of the Church

Ibid People-in-country Profile, Joshua Project



Farangis Najibullah, Uzbekistan: Government Launches Campaign Against Missionaries, Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty, May 26, 2008,

Ibid All Bible references are from Holy Bible The New International Version (NIV)


During Uzbekistans independence there was not a single case of interethnic or interreligious conflict. Religious organizations fully enjoyed the right to create central authorities for coordination of their activities and joint protection of their rights and freedoms. 51 This move came about because of Article 31 of the Uzbekistan Constitution; the freedom of conscience is afforded for all. In 1991 the Law on Freedom of conscience and Religious Organizations was established to regulate the procedures, principles and it guarantees the establishing and operation of religious organizations. According to a report issued in 2012 by Christian Aid Mission they say currently there are over 500 evangelical churches in Uzbekistan. They are small in number and they do not have the freedom to preach the gospel in public, they have been restricted to the confines of an official church building. The law even forbids them to preach in the Uzbek language about Jesus Christ.

Even though the Uzbekistan government

declares freedom and democracy, the Muslim religion is still the preferred religion by the government. If someone has a bible, he / she can be given up three years in jail according to the law.53 Nevertheless, World Aid Mission states that the UCF has a vision of opening a church

in every small city and region.54 With this determination and the help of the Holy Spirit Uzbekistan can be won for Christ. How Many Know Believers


Social Issues: Freedom of Religion, Embassy of Uzbekistan To The United States, July 3, 2013,

Freedom and Uzbekistan? Two Words That Don't Go 'Hand in Hand', Christian Aid Mission, January 19, 2012,

Ibid Ibid


One of the definitions the Joshua Project uses to define an evangelical believer is a person who professes the Lord Jesus Christ as the source of salvation through faith.55 There are no clear cut figures of how many Christian believers there are in Uzbekistan. And since we are going by the definition as described above we know that the number of believers will be rather low. As Christian we should not be discouraged by the low numbers because throughout the bible we can see where Christ used a handful of things to get things done for the glory of his Father. However, according to the Joshua Project website 0.01% are Christians or Evangelicals56 The US State Department shows the current number of Christian believers in Uzbekistan to be at 0.9%. of as of 2013.

Present Strategies Currently Mission Aid is trying to work closely with some of the local Uzbek Christians in Uzbekistan to open more some churches and several missionaries are also working with the Tajik people to get the gospel into more areas of Uzbekistan.58 The Holy Trinity Ministries with the help of Open Doors are also working closely together to get more Christian workers to Uzbekistan. Both ministries state, if the aim is to establish a strong, healthy indigenous church in Uzbekistan, we must start from scratch. Seminars, Bible study groups, correspondence courses and other types of education are all needed to build the church from the very foundations of the


Definitions, Joshua Project, July 3, 2013, People-in-country Profile, Joshua Project



Population of Uzbekistan 2013, World Population Review, July 3, 2013,


Being a Christian in Uzbekistan Can Be Costly, Mission Network News, October 17, 2012,

Christian faith.59 Along with establishing the church there are plans to train the church workers in Uzbek how to deal with families who are having problems as the result of some members converting to Christianity and as well as working with the youth. Most importantly the mission workers want to help the Uzbek workers to understand the necessity of altering their lifestyle. Plus the Uzbek workers must learn how to survive during the times of persecution they are sure to face because of their new found belief.60 The bible gives us assurance that we will be blessed if we are persecuted for righteousness sake (Matt.5:10). Proposed Strategy According to the Joshua Project website the Uzbeks people are the largest group of people in Central Asia and they are the most resistant to the Gospel.61 The Joshua Project websites states a list of needs and resources that are needed in order to be successful in reaching this country for Christ. In order to do my part in trying to reach the Uzbekistan people for Christ. I would propose a strategy where I could work in conjunction with the Joshua Project to reach the lost. My proposal would consist of raising funds to help with the work of translating all printed and audio material into the language of the Uzbekistan people. One thing that I have noticed on the Joshua Project website is that there is no known complete bible for the Uzbekistan people. Getting the complete bible translated into the language of the Uzbekistan people would be the goal of my fund raising effort. While talking to her husband one night the late missionary Mary Moffatt said The gospel has not been preached to them in their own tongue in which they


Let's Win Uzbekistan for Jesus! Uzbekistan: Problems and Needs, Holy Trinity Ministries International, July 3, 2013,

Ibid People-in-country Profile, Joshua Project


were born. They have heard it only through interpreterswho have themselves no just understanding, no real love of the truth. We must not expect the blessing till you are able, from your own lips and in their language, to bring it through their ears into their hearts.62 Raising funds to get the bible translated into the language of the Uzbek people will be a great tool in our goal of reaching this country for Christ. Seeing the bible in their own language will give it much more meaning because not only will they be hearing it but they will be reading it for themselves. Barbara F. Grimes states Without scriptures in the mother tongue, churches are not able to sustain spiritual depth into succeeding generations. They will have difficulty answering false teachings, waging spiritual warfare and avoiding syncretism.63 According to the Pray Way website there are over 21,000 Uzbekistan people in the United States who are open to receiving the Gospel.64 On their website and the Joshua Project website are several requests for willing Uzbek workers as well as mission workers. Authors Steve Hoke and Bill Taylor states Starting evangelistic bible studies, creating cell groups, raising up leaders from the harvest and discipling new believers to the second and third generation are critical. 65 To fill this request I would propose opening up a training center here in the United States to train the Uzbekistan people along with any other willing Christian workers who want to work in the foreign field. The goal is that the Uzbekistan people in the Unites States who may be returning home will have the proper training in the gospel to take back


A. Scott, Corwin, Gary R., McGee, Gary B. Moreau, Introducing World Missions: a Biblical, Historical, and Practical Survey (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2004), 267.

Barbara F. Grimes, From Every Language," in Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, 4th ed., ed. Ralph D. Winter and Steven C. Hawthorne (Pasadena: William Carey Library, 2009), 566.

Prayer Profile: The Uzbek, Pray Way Global Prayer Community


Steve Hoke, Bill Taylor, Your Journey To The Nations," in Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, 4th ed., ed. Ralph D. Winter and Steven C. Hawthorne (Pasadena: William Carey Library, 2009), 744.

home and evangelize their people for the glory of God. In the same manner those workers here in the states who may want to go into the mission field will receive the same training. It is vital to any type of mission work that all parties be adequately trained for the work of the kingdom. CONCLUSION Throughout this research we have seen how the people from the Northern Uzbekistan culture view Christianity. We have seen how the mission workers have worked tirelessly to bring the gospel to this remote place. Nevertheless, with the threat of persecution or possible jail time and being met by opposition from every side, the workers continue to press on doing the work of the Lord. Luke 15:3-7 tells us that there is rejoicing in heaven for the return of one lost sheep. When a sheep is lost it is defenseless because it has wondered away from the one who can protect it. That is how Jesus sees those who do not know him as lost sheep wondering aimlessly around. However, there is great joy when that lost sheep comes home to Him. Our work in the mission field may at times seem fruitless, nevertheless, when a soul is won for Christ whether Its one or many it makes the journey so much better. As Christians we must never give up on mission work. Roger S Greenway says-All human beings are creatures of God, made in His Image and fallen into sin, and the gospel of Gods saving grace in Christ applies to everybody.66


Roger, S. Greenway, The Challenge Of The Cities," in Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, 4th ed., ed. Ralph D. Winter and Steven C. Hawthorne (Pasadena: William Carey Library, 2009), 744.

BIBLIOGRAPHY "About Uzbekistan." Christian Aid Mission. n.d. (accessed July 1, 2013). "About Uzbekistan:Culture and Traditions." Embassy of Uzbekistan To The United States. 2004. (accessed July 1, 2013). "Being A Christian In Uzbekistan Can Be Costly." Mission Network News. October 2012, 2012. (accessed July 3, 2013). "Country Profile: Uzbekistan." The Library of Congress: Country Studies-Federal Research Division. February 2007. (accessed July 1, 2013). "Facts About Uzbekistan." Lifestyle Lounge. n.d. (accessed June 30, 2013). "Freedom and Uzbekistan? Two Words that Go" Hand-In-Hand"." Christian Aid Mission. January 2012, 2012. (accessed July 3, 2013). "The Challenge Of The Cities." In Perspective On The World Christian Movement, by Roger S Greenway, 744. Pasadena: William Carey Library, 2009. Grimes, Barbara F. "From every Language." In Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, by Ralph D Winter, & Steven C Hawthorne, 566. Pasadena: William Carey Library, 2009. Hoke, Steve, and Bill Taylor. "Your Journey To The Nation." In Perspectives on the Worl Christian Movement, by Ralph D Winter, & Steven C Hawthorne, 744. Pasadena: William Carey Library, 2009. "Let's Win Uzbekistan for Jesus!Uzbekistan:Problems and Needs." Holy Trinity Ministries International. n.d. (accessed July 3, 2013). Moreau, Scott A, Gary,R Corwin, and Gary B McGee. Introducing World Missions. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2004.

Najibullah, Farangis. "Uzbekistan:Government Launches Campaign Against Missionaries." Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty. May 26, 2008. (accessed July 2, 2013). "People-in-Country Profile." Joshua Project. n.d. (accessed June 30, 2013). "Political Map of Uzbekistan." Maps of World. May 14, 2012. (accessed July 2, 2013). "Population of Uzbekistan 2013." World Population Review. 2013. 2013 (accessed July 3, 2013). "Prayer Profile: The Uzbek." PrayWay Global Prayer Community: The Uzbek. 1997. (accessed July 1, 2013). Rlich, Jeff E. "Uzbekistan." Countries and Their Cultures. 2013. (accessed July 2, 2013). "Social Issues: Freedom of Religion." n.d. "The People of Uzbekistan, Way of Life." Way of Life- The People of Uzbekistan. n.d. (accessed July 2, 2013). "Uzbekistan Economy 2013." CIA World Factbook. 5 2013, February. (accessed July 1, 2013). "Uzbekistan Profile." BBC News-Uzbekistan Profile. 2013. (accessed June 30, 2013). "Uzbekistan:Location, Size and Extent." Worldmark Encyclopedia of Nations. 2007. (accessed June 30, 2013). "Uzbekistan-People." Uzbekistan. n.d. (accessed July 1, 2013). Wells, David. "Prayer Rebelling Against the Status Quo." In Perspectives On The world Christian Movement, by Ralph D Winter, & Steven C Hawthorne, 160. Pasadena: William Carey Library, 2009.