Transforming lives on four continents

Bibles at battle lines and living water on trains

BMS World Mission partner Russian Ministries is sharing God’s word and working for peace in Russia and Ukraine.

SSW students evangelising in Russia
Competitions and conflicts can bring out both the best and the worst in people. The 2014 Winter Olympics brought athletes and evangelists to Russia. A team of young people from Russian Ministries’ School Without Walls (SWW) programme travelled to Sochi and around the country sharing God’s word. In Ukraine, Christians and non-Christians all over the country have opened their doors to those seeking shelter while the church works to end the conflict.

Over the past few months, with BMS’ support, Russian Ministries, has worked tirelessly to share God’s love and peace. Hopefully the sound of their message will be louder than bullets.

As the turmoil continues in Ukraine, many have been forced to flee the east and find safety in western parts of the country. “Evangelical churches, including Baptist and Pentecostal, have opened their arms to refugees, who are mostly of the Muslim faith, and have accommodated them,” says Sergey Rakhuba, President of Russian Ministries. “In turn, Muslims in Crimea have offered to help Christians as well, which is unprecedented.” After news that approximately 20 people were killed in Odessa last week, knowing that those trying to escape the fighting are finding shelter brings comfort. “I am heartened to see growing crowds of Ukrainians on the streets who are praying, many on their knees,” he says.
 
Ukranian soldier holding a gospel of LukePrayer is also being partnered with action in Ukraine and Russia. Russian Ministries has printed 200,000 copies of the gospel of Luke in Russian and young people from SWW are taking these books to soldiers on the front lines in Ukraine. As long as the fighting continues, “they could be the first ones to face eternity,” says Sergey.

Similar things took place in Russia during the Olympics. In February, Wally Kulakoff, Russian Ministries VP for Ministries and Church Relations, and a SWW team distributed over 730,000 magazines and Bibles in multiple translations. These included 100,000 copies of the gospel of John which were printed thanks to an £8,000 Mission Innovation Fund grant from BMS.
 
SWW young people getting on the trainArmed with this inspirational literature, the teams set out to share the Scriptures with people of all ages. In one instance, two SWW students witnessed to Muslim women on their train to the south eastern suburb of Nalchik. After striking up conversation, one of the women shared that she had had an interesting dream where they returned home to discover that there was no more water. They cried out to neighbours but no one listened, except for two young men who invited them into their home to receive water freely.

At the end, the two SWW students interpreted her dream. They told the women that “the water they were looking for was the water of life, which is the Word of God.” They gave the women the address for the local evangelical church, and a few days later, the women began working with Russian Ministries’ teams, distributing Bibles and sharing God’s Word with their predominantly Muslim community.
 
Women of different faiths taking home Bibles in their languageGod can use any situation, be it a train ride or political unrest, to share his light to those living without it. In Ukraine, the Church is, “more united in its efforts for reconciliation training and peace restoration,” says Sergey. “In times of trouble, the voice of the Church is heard the loudest. When we work with local churches, we mobilise them to be a bright light and loud voice to restore peace and bring about reconciliation, and we see that the Church is very involved now.”

 

Children reading Bible storiesPray for the churches in Ukraine and Russia as they work to be a guiding light during this time of conflict.

Pray for the SWW students and graduates and Russian Ministries who are sharing God’s word with people, like the two women from Nalchik, who are searching for living water.

08/05/2014
 

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