A Revival in Moscow: Billy Graham’s Legacy in Eurasia

Rev. Billy Graham Preaching in Moscow, Russia

One of the world’s most inspiring pillars of Christian faith went to be with his beloved Heavenly Father today. The passing of the Reverend Billy Graham moved us at Mission Eurasia to reflect with immense gratitude on his rich life of service to God’s Kingdom and the ways in which his ministry and ours intersected by God’s grace over the years.

Mission Eurasia’s president, Sergey Rakhuba, remembers first meeting Billy Graham in 1987, during the height of the Soviet Union, at a dinner for evangelical pastors in Russia. Sergey shares the memory of this inspiring meeting with Rev. Graham in Moscow and the impact it had on Sergey’s future ministry and the ministry of Mission Eurasia:

“For pastors who had to faithfully lead their churches under the pressures and challenges of the Soviet regime, this dinner with Rev. Graham in Moscow was an encouraging and faith-building night in the midst of a fearful and uncertain time,” says Sergey. “It foreshadowed the growing gospel movement that would spread across Eurasia when the Soviet Union fell a few years later . . . 

Billy Graham meeting with evangelical pastors and leaders in Moscow, Russia in 1987

“My closest colleague, Dr. Michael Cherenkov (Mission Eurasia’s executive director of field ministries), was also impacted forever by an encounter with Billy Graham in Russia. In 1992, a year after the fall of the Soviet Union, Michael remembers traveling as a young man and brand-new Christian from faraway Donetsk, Ukraine to the Red Square in Moscow in order to hear the great Rev. Graham preach to a crowd of thousands. Michael called this an ‘unbelievable miracle,’ writing, ‘In the center of Moscow, not far from the Kremlin, the most famous evangelist in history preached the gospel to thousands, and everyone who wished could freely obtain a formerly forbidden Bible. A revival had started, which promised reformation and renewal.’

Moscow crowd gathered to see Billy Graham preach in 1992

“Inspired and captivated by what he had seen and heard that day, Michael returned to his village in Ukraine under the influence of Billy Graham’s message. Feeling the promptings of God’s call and seeing a colossal need for the gospel in post-Soviet society, Michael made a decision. He would be a preacher, an evangelist, and a catalyst for reformation and renewal in the post-Soviet sphere. And so Michael began working with Mission Eurasia (then Russian Ministries) to continue this gospel movement across Eurasia, where it blossoms and flourishes to this day as we train and equip thousands of young Christian leaders for strategic ministry.

“Like Michael and myself, many of the men and women who heard Rev. Graham preach in Russia on that miraculous day in 1992 went on to be trained as church-planters and evangelists, working with Mission Eurasia and other ministries to plant churches, serve the lost, train new Christian leaders, and deliver God’s Word and the message of Jesus to a broken and hurting post-Soviet world.

“The incredible legacy of Billy Graham is still being felt in the heart of Eurasia today and in the hearts of those who serve with Mission Eurasia. We grieve his passing from this world, but we rejoice that Rev. Graham is united with his beloved Savior and hope for the day when we, too, will be united with our Savior and every tear will be wiped away.”

 

February 2018 Prayer Requests

Gift of Hope distribution during our short-term mission trip to Moldova in January

1. Praise God for a team of young people from the US who participated in a short-term mission trip to Moldova in January! In partnership with our School Without Walls (SWW) students, they distributed 1,500 Gift of Hope boxes to children living in poverty.

2. Pray for SWW coordinators in Central Asia as they participate in ministry-planning meetings in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan on February 1-2.

3. Please pray for Next Generation Professional Leaders Initiative (NGPLI) roundtable events that are taking place in Almaty and Astana, Kazakhstan on February 3-4.

4. Continue praying for Reconciliation Church in Bobruisk, Belarus as the pastors grow their mentoring program, youth ministry, and missions-related efforts.

5. Praise God that more than 120 churches throughout Russia’s North Caucasus participated in our Gift of Hope and other Christmas-related outreach efforts in January! By partnering with these churches, our SWW students were able to reach orphans and disabled children from all different walks of life.

6. Please pray for our SWW students in Israel as they continue partnering with Living Israel, a local ministry, to plant new churches and proclaim the gospel in the Holy Land.

7. Pray for safety for the SWW students from God’s Family Church in Minsk, Belarus who will be traveling to Chisinau, Moldova to participate in an upcoming training conference.

8. Pray for the development and growth of several new SWW groups that were started in Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia’s North Caucasus this year.

9. Please pray for an NGPLI training seminar that is taking place during the Campus Crusade Conference in Kiev, Ukraine on February 9-10.

10. Pray for a SWW conference that is taking place at the Mission Eurasia ministry center in Russia’s North Caucasus on February 9-11.

11. Praise God for Joy Club, a youth ministry program, through which Church Without Walls (CWW) in Pinsk, Belarus is encouraging spiritual healing and growth in young people!

12. Please pray that God would provide good jobs for our SWW coordinators in Tajikistan, where work is hard to find.

13. Pray for our ministry leaders in Russia’s North Caucasus as they begin preparations for an Empower training conference and NGPLI forums that will take place this spring.

14. Pray for SWW leaders and students in Moldova as they begin preparing for a large youth conference that will take place this spring. Around 350 people from 30 different churches are involved in this project.

15. Please pray for an upcoming NGPLI conference that will equip young Christian professionals in Belarus to bring the gospel into their workplaces and spheres of influence.

16. Praise God for a Christian youth club in Vladikavkaz, Russia that is growing thanks to the dedicated efforts of SWW students!

17. Continue praying for our brothers and sisters throughout Central Asia as they faithfully share the gospel in the midst of escalating persecution.

18. Please pray for SWW students from Pure Heart Church in Brest, Belarus as they host an outreach event at a local orphanage and launch a mentorship program for non-Christians.

19. Pray for a new church in Yelizavetinskaya, Russia that Valeriy, one of our SWW coordinators, recently helped to plant.

20. Praise God for our SWW students’ ministry to the Udi people in Azerbaijan! Thanks to their efforts, unreached children and their parents are learning about Jesus for the very first time.

21. Pray for CWW in Pinsk, Belarus as the leaders expand NGPLI training efforts in their city to prepare even more young Christian professionals to grow God’s Kingdom.

22. Please pray that God would bless our SWW students’ children’s ministry efforts in orphanages, hospitals, and schools throughout Russia’s North Caucasus.

23. Continue praying that God would use our humanitarian aid and Scripture for Ukraine to bless those whose lives have been thrown into turmoil by the ongoing conflict in the nation’s eastern regions.

24. Pray for renewed strength and vision for the leaders of God’s Family Church in Minsk, Belarus as they seek to draw more young people to church.

25. Pray that God would grow SWW in Russia’s most remote and unreached regions, where many people have never heard the gospel.

26. Please pray for our SWW students in Mongolia as they continue growing their ministry efforts and sharing the hope of Christ with their unreached neighbors.

27. Praise God for our successful church-planting ministry among unreached people in many different regions in Russia’s North Caucasus!

28. Pray that God would grant us wisdom as we continue developing and expanding our many ministry efforts all throughout Eurasia.

Maria’s Story: SWW Russia

“I grew up in an ordinary village family, and as a child I felt alone, like no one understood me or looked out for me. I wanted someone to understand and accept me and never leave me. I got married, expecting my husband to be this person for me, but he couldn’t give me what I longed for. When we realized that we wouldn’t get what we wanted out of the marriage, we started destroying our relationship with alcohol and abuse. I felt like I was dying and I had to leave my husband. After our divorce I felt completely alone. I felt that I had no reason to live and started contemplating suicide.

“It was then that a young woman was hired in my workplace who had been through a Christian rehabilitation program. We became friends, and I opened up to her about everything and felt much better. She was always full of love and encouragement, and after a month of getting to know each other at work she invited me to a Bible study. There I met other women who told me about Jesus and how He changed their lives. I felt more at peace and loved there than I ever had in my life, and I made the decision to follow Jesus, opening my heart to Him. He took my broken, wounded, and crushed heart and soul and made them whole again.

“Since then I have started studying in School Without Walls (SWW) and have gotten involved in ministry. I lead a home Bible group and I teach an Alpha Course to introduce people to Christianity. My life has been transformed, and my relationship to myself and people around me has changed completely. God is working in me and leading me. SWW helps me change and grow and prepare me to grow my ministry and bring the message of God’s love to the world around me. SWW helps ministry leaders grow in their missions activities, destroying unhealthy ideas about relationships between Christians and towards the world. The practical ministry component of SWW helps us develop our communications skills, responsibility, and creativity. There are lots of people in churches ready to help out and to serve, yet there is a lack of leaders to provide guidance and direction. SWW is the perfect program to prepare and train those kinds of leaders, and my hope is to continue to develop as a leader through the program.”

Give to support the training of Next Generation Christian leaders like Maria through School Without Walls: 

January 2018 Prayer Requests

Thank you for supporting our ministry in prayer in the new year! 

 

Please pray for our SWW students and leaders delivering Gifts of Hope on January 7, which is the date of Russian Orthodox Christmas

1. Praise God for two Next Generation Professional Leaders Initiative (NGPLI) conferences that recently took place in Belarus! About 1,000 young professionals participated in these events.

2. Please pray for 30 School Without Walls (SWW) students from Russia who will be participating in a mission trip to the North Caucasus to distribute Gifts of Hope to children in need on January 2-5.

3. Pray for Clean Heart Church in Brest, Belarus, as they are hosting an outreach event for 20-25 young families at the beginning of the month.

4. Pray for our SWW students as they bring Gifts of Hope to 78,000 children throughout Eurasia during the Orthodox Christmas season. Please also pray that the children who receive these gifts would find new hope and joy in Christ.

5. Praise God that, after four years of submitting applications, Church Without Walls (CWW) in Pinsk, Belarus is finally registered with the government! This is such an amazing answer to prayer and a powerful reminder of God’s faithfulness.

6. Please pray for a team of Mission Eurasia staff and volunteers from the US who will be participating in a mission trip to Moldova, where they will partner with SWW students to distribute Gifts of Hope on January 5-9.

7. Pray for special Christmas outreach events that our partner churches will be hosting throughout Eurasia this month.

8. Pray for a youth training club in Russia’s North Caucasus, where our SWW coordinators and ministry partners are reaching young people for Christ.

9. Please pray for a winter Bible camp that our SWW students in Azerbaijan will be hosting in the village of Nidzh, which is home to the Udi people group.

10. Pray for unity among the leaders of God’s Family Church in Minsk, Belarus as they expand their ministry efforts, particularly youth ministry.

11. Praise God for our strong partnerships with many churches and ministry organizations in Russia’s North Caucasus, through which we are expanding our ministry scope and planting new churches!

12. Pray for our SWW coordinators and teachers in Armenia as they lead several SWW sessions for about 30 students this month.

13. Please pray for Valeriy, our SWW coordinator in Kropotkin, Russia, who is trying to put together a church-planting team to launch a new church in Yelizavetinskaya.

14. Continue praying for our brothers and sisters in Central Asia who are fearlessly sharing the gospel in spite of escalating religious persecution.

15. Pray for an NGPLI conference that will take place in Lviv, Ukraine on January 15-16.

16. Pray for our many missionary partners in Russia’s North Caucasus who are faithfully developing and leading new ministry initiatives in their communities.

17. Please pray for an International Alliance for the Development of Christian Education (IADCE) conference that will take place in Ukraine on January 17-19. The Ukrainian Minister of Education is expected to attend.

18. Praise God that Reconciliation Church in Bobruisk, Belarus received the funds they needed to prepare their building for the cold winter weather!

19. Pray for several of our SWW leaders in Baku, Azerbaijan who have sacrificially committed to expanding SWW in their nation during the next three years.

20. Praise God for opening doors for our SWW students to host outreach events at local schools in Russia’s North Caucasus!

21. Please pray for Ray and Cindy, our missionaries in Ukraine, as they work with the IADCE team to distribute 1,500 copies of John Comenius: Visionary Reformer of Schools, by David Smith, to several different schools and universities in their nation.

22. Pray for Reconciliation Church in Bobruisk, Belarus as the church leaders expand their mentorship and youth ministry efforts.

23. Praise God for a recent SWW church-planting forum that took place in Kropotkin, Russia!

24. Continue praying that our containers of humanitarian aid for Ukraine would clear customs as quickly as possible so we can bring this aid to those in need.

25. Please pray for missionaries and church leaders throughout Russia who remain committed to proclaiming the gospel, even in the face of persecution.

26. Pray for the preparations for an upcoming NGPLI conference that will take place in Belarus.

27. Continue praying for Georgiy, one of our SWW coordinators in Russia, as his family is still trying to obtain Russian citizenship.

28. Pray for Khafiz, Lala, Shirvan, and Zaura, our SWW coordinators in Azerbaijan, as they pursue spiritual growth.

29. Please pray for Aleksandr, one of our SWW teachers in Russia’s North Caucasus, and his family, as they are planning to move to St. Petersburg this year to start a new SWW group.

30. Praise God for the fruitful ministry of the Living Israel rehabilitation center in Haifa, Israel!

31. Pray for the preparations for our Empower conferences, which will provide training for the SWW students and graduates who will be developing and leading our 2018 summer Bible camps.

Angelina’s Story, Eastern Ukraine

Angelina’s family with the firewood, Scripture, and food packs provided by Mission Eurasia in partnership with Feed My Starving Children

Like any mother, Angelina wanted the best for her children. When war broke out in eastern Ukraine, she and her husband had three children and a fourth on the way. While her husband was off fighting for their country, Angelina’s hometown of Andreyevka was targeted in several bombing attacks, so she made the difficult decision to move to Russia, where she had many relatives, so her children would be safe.

Not long after the move, Angelina gave birth to a baby girl. She went back to work as soon as she could, and thankfully, she was able to afford all of the food and clothing that her children needed. But sadly, things changed very quickly. After Angelina’s neighbors found out that she was from Ukraine, they started treating her and her children with great disrespect and hostility. At first, Angelina tried to be patient, but eventually her neighbors’ behavior became so unbearable that she decided to move her family back to Ukraine.

After returning to Andreyevka, Angelina found a small house that was in very poor condition, but it seemed like an oasis compared to her family’s experience in Russia. After finding a home, Angelina tried to register her baby girl with the government so she could receive financial aid, but the process is so difficult that she hasn’t made any progress, which means her family isn’t receiving any kind of assistance.

Two of Angelina’s young children with the firewood provided by our SWW students

In the midst of these challenges, Angelina’s husband is still in the Ukrainian army, where he has been serving for three years. Sadly, he rarely talks to his family, and he no longer visits them or sends any kind of support, so Angelina has been left with no way to provide for her children. In the summer, she had chickens and grew vegetables, but now, in the cold of winter, things have become very difficult. Given her financial situation, Angelina has never even considered the possibility of buying firewood. Sometimes, she and her three older children go outside to look for wood to burn in their stove, but it never keeps the house warm for very long.

When Mission Eurasia’s School Without Walls (SWW) students visited Andreyevka, they met Angelina and heard her story. They were so moved that they decided to help in any way they could. So, when we told them that our partners at Feed My Starving Children were providing funds for firewood and coal for 10 families in need, the students immediately decided that Angelina’s family should receive this generous gift.

When the SWW students arrived at Angelina’s house with the firewood and coal, she couldn’t find the words to express her gratitude. She was so thankful that her children would finally be warm and could sleep in comfort. The students also gave Angelina and her children MannaPack Rice Meals and several Scripture pieces, and we pray that these gifts would help this family find the greatest gift of all: salvation in Jesus Christ.

 

To support families like Angelina’s through Mission Eurasia’s “I Care” Refugee Assistance program, please give today: 

Sasha’s Testimony: SWW Student from Moldova

Sasha is one of our current School Without Walls (SWW) students in Moldova. After many years of rebellion and atheism, Sasha felt hopeless, and even attempted to commit suicide. But God intervened and broke through her hardened heart, bringing her to a Veritas summer Bible camp last year, run by some of Mission Eurasia’s SWW students and young leaders. In her own words she shares her testimony and how God is now using her to mentor troubled teens who feel the same fear and anger that she once felt:

“If you asked me five years ago if I believed in God and in the meaning of life, I would have answered that neither one existed,” shares Sasha.

“I grew up in a family with different views on faith. My parents never believed in God and still don’t believe in Him. Both of my grandmothers are Orthodox. One grandmother took me to various Orthodox churches when I was a child and had me acquainted with different Orthodox practices.  I really was interested in all that, but to all my questions ‘Why?’ she always answered, ‘Because it has to be so!’ so at one point I started suspecting that she was lying to me.

“When I was six, we had a moral and spiritual class at school. A very sweet young lady told us about God, how He created us, and how He gave His son for our sins. So I wanted to know if it was all true or not. I went to ask my mom if she believed in God. Her answer was, ‘no’ and at that time my mother’s opinion was the one that I trusted the most. And so I decided that I wouldn’t believe in Him either. And for several years, nobody could persuade me of anything different.

“My mother, reflecting on my childhood, says that I was an amazingly obedient child. Maybe that was why I was very difficult as a teenager. Starting from eighth grade, I was one of the most difficult children at school. I was very stubborn, rude, mischievous, and contentious; I never obeyed anyone and allowed myself to be defiant, always arguing my point. And even though I was that way, I still had friends. They were bad company, and it wasn’t just that I fell in with the wrong crowd of people. I was the one who gathered together that bad crowd of people.

“Just think of the most horrible things that your child can do at age 15. We did all of that. Why? At the very least, because we were bored and nobody cared for us.

“My parents didn’t know what to do with me. I wasn’t responding to psychologists, and I avoided teachers all the more. It’s so horrible when you are 16 and you have so many thoughts and you have no one to share them with. In my school file it said that I was in the risk group and in brackets it said ‘suicidal intentions,’ and that was for a good reason. At 16, I tried to take my own life. I still have scars. What saved me was that the knife wasn’t sharp enough and my friends happened to be nearby.

Sasha at Veritas Camp

“In summer of 2016 when I was 18 and had already graduated from high school, passed all the difficult exams, and met new good friends, I found out about Veritas summer camp. I had been involved in sports tourism for six years, so a tent camp in the woods sounded really exciting! Nothing was going to stop me from going to that extreme camp! I am pretty sure I only found out that it was a Christian camp after my bus had already left. I didn’t have my friends with me (some couldn’t go and some didn’t want to go), but something on the inside was pushing me to go, even by myself. Now I know that that something wasn’t just my passion for tourism. It was really easy to find new friends at the camp. I think that Veritas draws in the very best people. That camp totally changed me and the way I viewed the world. I experienced what it felt like to really believe – believe without being false, just wholeheartedly believe in Jesus, talk to Him, and see His work in my life. I had left home to go to the camp being 100% skeptical, and when I came back it was the first time in my life that I prayed. I prayed that Jesus would be in my life, that I would believe even more genuinely in Him, and that He would always be with me.

“I wanted to continue talking to these Christian people from the camp after it was over, so that was how I ended up in the Lighthouse club. I started changing daily through that club; I was also growing spiritually and showed it with my deeds. My mother couldn’t understand what was going on with me. I couldn’t wait to go to the Lighthouse club every single Friday, and I was losing more and more of my old friends who were a bad influence.

“As the time was going by and my scars on my arm were not disappearing, I decided to cover them up with a tattoo. So I decided on a tattoo, and a few days after that I was invited to join the Lighthouse team. I couldn’t believe it! That was my tattoo – a Lighthouse! For me it’s a symbol that no matter what happens, no matter how bad I feel, I know where to go to find the light that will dispel my sadness: Jesus.  That moment became very important to me, because that was how my ministry started.

“I went to the Veritas camp the first time to have fun, but the second time I went to Veritas, in 2017, I went with one objective in mind: to find out more about Jesus and do everything to follow Him and totally give my life to Him. I talked a lot to the camp counselors in the evenings.

“Each participant of the camp was given a beautiful New Testament in a design for young people. I saw the camp counselors reading Scripture in a way that seemed like they did not need anything else in the world except for God’s Word. So when I received my gift of the Bible, I also opened it and started to read. I knew that this book can leave a deep footprint on your life, but I never knew that it could become a part of your life!

“On July 16, 2017, I came to the Lord. Almost five months have passed since then. What has changed in my life since that moment? I now go to Church Without Walls.  I am also a part of School Without Walls (SWW). I have started praying much more and have started noticing God’s work in my life. Sometimes it even surprises me how quickly He answers my prayers. It’s absolutely amazing! I now have God in my life and my biggest fear – the fear of being alone – is gone forever. I know that I can always talk to Him and receive an answer. I know that He is near and He hears me, He supports me, and He keeps me safe.

“I am a SWW student because God did everything so that I can come to this. Because of SWW I can be a minister helping young people to find out about God the way my mentors are helping me now. I am receiving priceless knowledge that will help me change and also help other people around me change. I am grateful to God that He has entered my life and has changed it so drastically. I also believe that my ministry will bring fruit and someone else’s life will also drastically change because of how God will use me. Now my life has sense and meaning because of Him.”

December 2017 Prayer Requests

Please pray for our Gift of Hope Christmas outreach and the 78,000 children in need we plan to reach with the gospel!
  1. Please pray that God would use our Gift of Hope boxes, which School Without Walls (SWW) students will distribute throughout Eurasia during the Christmas season, to bring the eternal hope of Christ to hurting children.
  2. Praise God for a SWW seminar that recently took place at a newly planted church in Krasnodar, Russia! During this seminar, 28 new SWW students received practical ministry training, which they are now using to bring the gospel to their city.
  3. Church Without Walls (CWW) in Moldova is starting to rebuild their worship hall, which collapsed this past spring after a heavy snowfall. Please pray that this process would go smoothly.
  4. Pray for a team of missionaries from Novosibirsk, Russia, with whom we are partnering to share the gospel in some of the most volatile regions in the North Caucasus.
  5. Continue praying for CWW in Pinsk, Belarus, as they are still trying to register with local authorities while also expanding their various ministry efforts.
  6. Praise God for our strong partnerships with churches, organizations, and missionaries in Russia’s North Caucasus, which allow us to share the gospel throughout the region!
  7. Please pray for a group of SWW students in Israel who are leading a class to help Russian-speaking immigrants learn Hebrew.
  8. Continue praying for Hafiz, our SWW coordinator in Azerbaijan, as he faithfully shares the gospel in the midst of religious persecution.
  9. Pray for a Next Generation Professional Leaders Initiative (NGPLI) conference that will take place in Vinnitsa, Ukraine on December 10.
  10. Pray for SWW students in Yamal, Russia who are inviting youth from the Khanty and Mansi people groups to join our special missionary school.
  11. Praise God for several evangelistic events, including youth group meetings and a soccer tournament, that CWW in Pinsk, Belarus will be leading during the Christmas season!
  12. Please pray for a team of SWW students from Krasnodar, Russia who will be traveling to Tel Aviv, Israel to share the gospel with people who are receiving treatment at a rehabilitation center run by our partners at Living Israel.
  13. Continue praying that our containers of humanitarian aid goods for the hurting people of Ukraine would clear customs as quickly as possible.
  14. Pray for Mikhail, a SWW student from Moldova, who started new youth groups in three villages near his home. Mikhail has to walk to these villages, so please pray that God would protect him and give him strength.
  15. Please pray for two SWW seminars that will take place in Salekhard, Russia in mid-December. One of these seminars will be for young people in the city, and the other will be for youth from unreached people groups in the surrounding tundra.
  16. Praise God that four young girls were baptized at Reconciliation Church in Bobruisk, Belarus last month!
  17. Pray for SWW students who are helping to plant a new church in Stanitsa, Russia.
  18. Pray that God would provide a space where CWW in Pinsk, Belarus can hold evangelistic events.
  19. Please pray for an NGPLI roundtable and conference that will take place in Armenia this month.
  20. Pray for Chermen and Valeriy, two of our SWW coordinators in Russia, as they are facing personal struggles with health and finances.
  21. Continue praying for our brothers and sisters in Central Asia, who are boldly sharing the gospel, even in the midst of escalating persecution.
  22. Please pray for Eduard, one of our SWW coordinators in Moldova, whose family is experiencing financial challenges.
  23. Praise God for a new church in North Ossetia, Russia, which we helped to plant, and where SWW students are hosting evangelistic events for children and youth!
  24. Continue praying for Reconciliation Church in Bobruisk, Belarus, as they are still in need of resources to construct a church building.
  25. Pray that God would protect a tent that pastors and SWW leaders in Salekhard, Russia are using to host seminars and church meetings during the harsh winter months.
  26. Praise God for Ray and Cindy, our missionaries in Ukraine, who recently led a conference for Christian educators, launched a website with resources for Christian teachers, and printed John Amos Comenius: Visionary Reformer of Schools in the Ukrainian language through the International Alliance for the Development of Christian Education!
  27. Please pray for Bridge Youth Club in Russia’s North Caucasus, where SWW students are training youth to impact their society for Christ.
  28. Pray for Reconciliation Church in Bobruisk, Belarus as they develop a mentorship program for their congregation.
  29. Pray for SWW students in Salekhard, Russia who will be leading a winter Bible camp for 50 teenagers on January 1-7.
  30. Please pray for a short-term mission team from the US that will be partnering with SWW students in Moldova to distribute Gift of Hope boxes to children in need on January 3-9.
  31. As we begin a new year of ministry, please pray that God would grant us wisdom and use our many initiatives to transform Eurasia for Christ.

 

Yura’s Story

Our School Without Walls (SWW) students in Moldova met Yura three years ago when he was 12 years old. They met Yura through his sister Inna who had been attending church for a while and had made a decision to follow Christ. She then started inviting Yura to children’s events at church. Yura was always very shy and reserved and wouldn’t talk to anyone. Inna explained to them that he had speech impediments, and she gave some more background information about their family. Their mother worked in Russia to support the family and was almost never around. Their father was an alcoholic and was abusive towards his children.  Yura’s speech was developing normally until one day when his father returned home drunk and his aggressive behavior scared Yura so badly that afterwards he shut down as a way of protecting himself, and his speech problems were one way that this change manifested itself.

“For the past three years, we could see that Yura loved coming to church,” shares one of our SWW students. “He loved spending time with the other children, and later teens. He came to every activity offered for his age group, including summer Bible camps and Sunday morning services. This year we decided to invite Yura to help out with some of the practical aspects of running our summer Bible camps. When we asked him he was beyond surprised and overjoyed and gratefully accepted our invitation. Over the course of the summer, every team member noticed changes taking place in Yura, who began opening up, joking, and even praying! He faithfully and responsibly carried out all of the tasks assigned to him, and he served as an encouragement to many other team members. Many also commented that they had noticed a significant improvement in his speech, saying that for the first time they could fully understand what he was saying! I’m grateful to God that I know Yura and that we could serve God together this summer. God has placed enormous potential in him, as in all of us, however Satan has been working hard to destroy it since his childhood. I pray and believe that Yura will glorify God with his life!”