Transforming lives on four continents

God’s family grows during the Winter Olympics

The Russian Ministries’ team tells the story of their encounter with three Syrian young men who went from knowing very little about Jesus to accepting him into their lives.

Russian Ministries Team with Aslan, Nicolai and Victor. Olympic athletes were not the only ones in Russia who left the games with something special. Three Syrian men studying in Russia have their own prize: new faith in Jesus Christ. With the help of materials funded by BMS World Mission and produced by partner organisation, Russian Ministries, questions were answered, hope was given and lives were changed.


Wally Kulakoff, Russian Ministries VP of Ministries and Church Relations, and his North American team met Aslan*, Nicolai* and Victor* in a city ten hours east of Sochi during a visit to one of the 55 FanZone churches across the country, where eager visitors watched the Winter Games. It was warm that day and they were more than a little damp, tired and muddy from their work. Meeting the three men, who study at a Muslim technical university and speak English, was a welcome break for the team.


Team ministering in the snow“I told them that we came to tell others about Jesus and how much he loved them,” says Kulakoff. They gave the three students Russian Hope magazines and the gospel of John and then answered their many deep and challenging questions. “Muslim universities and colleges are used in this part of the world to convert young men and women to Islam,” says Kulakoff. “However, little by little, I saw their hearts begin to soften. The Holy Spirit was doing the work that only he can do.”


When all of their questions were asked and answered, Kulakoff asked to lead them in a prayer to accept Jesus into their hearts, explaining that they would be committing to a life with Christ forever. The response was a resounding yes. “At the end of the prayer I reached out my hand to shake Nicolai’s,” says Kulakoff. “He ignored my hand and embraced me instead, wiping tears away from under his baseball cap — repeatedly saying, ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you!’”


As the team and their new brothers in Christ parted ways, Kulakoff heard God tell him, “This is why you are here today.”


Russian Ministries TeamRussian Ministries created thousands of evangelistic pieces of literature to minister to people during the Winter Olympics, including the gospel of John which was produced with the help of a Mission Innovation Fund Grant from BMS. “Please pray for those young men as they dig into the copies of God’s word now in their hands and grow in their newfound faith,” says Kulakoff. “Especially when they one day go home to Syria.”


Please pray for the new evangelical Christians living in Russia, that they stay firm in their faith and find the love and support they need from the local churches. 
Pray for Aslan, Nicolai and Victor as they continue study and grow in their new faith.
Pray for Russian Ministries as they continue their outreach, that they will be able to place the word of God in open hands and the message of Jesus’ love in willing hearts.


*Not their real names



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