Tokmok Training School
ugust 31, 1997. Excitement ran high in the city of Tokmok, Kyrgyzstan. City and government officials had joined Adventist Church leaders and members to open a private primary school (see photo below).
Kyrgyzstan is a mountainous country bordering China, about 100 miles from Afghanistan. The majority Kyrgyz people are mostly Muslim, ethnically closer to Mongols than to Arabs or Europeans. Because they were once part of the former Soviet Union, Russian is still widely spoken.
During nine years of operation the school continues to grow. It is now a full elementary school with some middle school classes. More than 130 students come each day and represent a wide mix of ethnic backgrounds—Kyrgyz, Uzbek, Dungan, Kazakh, Chechen, Russian, Turkish, and other nationalities. Fourteen students come from a village 20 km. away. Those families are very strict in their religion, but are happy with the quality of education, especially the teaching about good and evil and worship of the one and only Creator-God of the universe.
Every morning the teachers and other staff members come together for worship. Then the day begins for all children with prayer and moral stories based on the Bible. More than 80 percent of the students come from non-Christian backgrounds, and at least 60 students and parents have been baptized.
The Kyrgyzstan Conference and Southern Union dream of expanding this program into a high school with additional vocational training. They long for a place where their children don’t have Sabbath problems for classes and tests. They also want a place where tentmaker missionaries can be trained to spread out through Central Asia with the gospel.
Tuition covers about 80 percent of the school’s daily operating costs. The rest comes from the local church, conference, and union. Any new equipment, remodeling of buildings, worthy student assistance, etc., come from special donations and from the appropriations to the Southern Union made possible by Sabbath school mission offerings.