2018 World Soccer Cup: An Epic Opportunity to Reach Russia for Christ

 

Russia needs the gospel now more than ever. It breaks our hearts to watch as a new Iron Curtain lowers over Russia and evangelical Christians face increased pressure from the state to keep silent about sharing their faith with unbelievers. Russia’s efforts to restrict mission work outside the walls of registered churches make it all the more important for our young leaders in Russia to find strategic and innovative ways to share the gospel in this challenging climate.

That is why we are so excited about an epic opportunity this summer to partner with evangelical churches in Russia to reach 500,000 Russian people with God’s Word during the 2018 World Soccer Cup!

From June 14-July 15, hundreds of thousands of people—hungry for hope and meaning—will pour in from all over Russia to 11 cities where the World Cup soccer matches will take place. Our young national leaders—trained and equipped by Mission Eurasia—are partnering with 250 registered national churches to project the games onto big-screen TVs and distribute copies of God’s Word in Russian.

Under the legal umbrella of these registered churches, our young leaders will strike up life-changing conversations and form friendships with thousands of men, women, and youth who do not know Jesus. 

To make the most of this God-given opportunity, Mission Eurasia plans to print a total of 500,000 pieces of Scripture in Russian, including 100,000 New Testaments, which will be distributed at these churches during the World Cup. A generous major ministry partner has already pledged a matching gift to provide half of the New Testaments needed for this outreach.

We still need to raise the remaining $75,000 to meet the match and begin printing the New Testaments in Russian. Would you help us reach our goal by considering a gift of $45 to provide 30 New Testaments, $90 to provide 60 New Testaments, $180 to provide 120 New Testaments, or more?

Overall, we estimate that we will help reach 2.5 million people through the 2018 World Soccer Cup outreach  in Russia. That’s 2.5 million souls who will hear the message of Jesus, many for the first time. 

Will you partner with us to make the most of this epic opportunity and transform hearts with God’s Word? Thank you for giving generously today to help us impact the hearts and souls of the Russian people for eternity!

April 2018 Prayer Requests

Please continue praying God would bring an end to the conflict in eastern Ukraine, where hundreds of thousands of people are still trapped in the midst of violence and turmoil.
  1. Praise God for a recent women’s conference that was held at Church Without Walls (CWW) in Pinsk, Belarus! Thanks to this special event, many women at the church are now using their spiritual gifts in various ministry projects.
  2. Pray that God would bless an upcoming Baptist Convention in Moscow, Russia, during which we will be presenting some new Scripture pieces.
  3. Please pray for our School Without Walls (SWW) leaders and students in Kazakhstan, as they are being harshly persecuted for their faith.
  4. Pray that Reconciliation Church in Bobruisk, Belarus would be ministry-focused as they construct their new church building and invite more people to join their congregation.
  5. Praise God for the leaders of Spiritual Renewal Church in Vladikavkaz, Russia, who are faithfully developing new ministry strategies in the midst of escalating persecution!
  6. Pray for our ministry team in Tajikistan as they plan a meeting for national SWW coordinators and youth ministry leaders.
  7. Please pray for Clean Heart Church in Brest, Belarus as they re-launch their youth club and mentorship program for non-Christians.
  8. Pray for the new church that Valeriy, our SWW coordinator in Vladikavkaz, Russia, recently planted in Elizavetinskaya Stanitsa.
  9. Continue praying that God would bring an end to the conflict in eastern Ukraine, where hundreds of thousands of people are trapped in the midst of violence and turmoil.
  10. Pray for the leaders of CWW in Pinsk, Belarus as they expand their youth ministry and develop new strategies for reaching their non-Christian neighbors with the gospel.
  11. Please pray for our SWW students in Perm, Russia as they continue sharing the life-changing gospel with their families and spheres of influence.
  12. Pray for our ministry team in Armenia as they plan a seminar for future SWW teachers and a summer Bible camp training for SWW students and graduates.
  13. Continue praying for our ministry team in Russia’s North Caucasus, one of the most turbulent regions in Eurasia.
  14. Please pray for a month-long Bible school for the deaf community, which our SWW leaders and ministry partners in Kazakhstan will be leading in several different cities starting in mid-April.
  15. Praise God that our SWW students in Vladikavkaz, Russia were invited to lead preventative lectures and training seminars at a technical school for troubled youth!
  16. Pray for an upcoming meeting in Moldova, during which ministry leaders from 30 different churches in 10 different cities will discuss partnership opportunities and youth ministry strategies.
  17. Continue praying that our containers of humanitarian aid goods would clear customs in Ukraine as quickly as possible.
  18. Pray for our ministry to unreached people groups in the most remote regions of Eurasia, including Central Asia, Russia’s North Caucasus, and Arctic Siberia.
  19. Please pray for an upcoming Next Generation Professional Leaders Initiative (NGPLI) training seminar for medical professionals in Kazakhstan.
  20. Pray for a ministry forum that will take place in Siberia, Russia on April 21. We anticipate that about 500 people will attend this event!
  21. Pray for Reconciliation Church in Bobruisk, Belarus as they grow their youth ministry by holding evangelistic movie nights. Many non-Christian young people have been attending these events, so please pray that God would be at work in their hearts.
  22. Praise God that our church-planting ministry in Russia’s North Caucasus is growing, despite the escalating religious persecution in the region!
  23. Please pray for wisdom for our SWW team in Uzbekistan as they consider planting a new church in an unreached city.
  24. Continue praying for Georgiy, one of our SWW teachers in Vladikavkaz, Russia, as he and his family are still trying to obtain Russian citizenship.
  25. Pray for upcoming Empower training conferences in Georgia, during which SWW students and graduates will learn about organizing and leading summer Bible camps.
  26. Pray for our SWW students in Vladikavkaz, Russia as they lead youth clubs and other evangelistic events to reach non-Christians with the gospel.
  27. Please pray for a meeting of SWW coordinators and teachers that will take place in Irpin, Ukraine on April 28. This meeting will introduce about 70 SWW leaders to Family as Mission, one of our new ministry projects.
  28. Pray for two events that will take place in Russia at the end of the month: a Christian for Our Time conference in Kursk, and an Empower training conference in Novorossiysk.
  29. Pray for the leaders of Clean Heart Church in Bobruisk, Belarus as they participate in a youth ministry training forum.
  30. Please pray for the printing of several Scripture pieces that we will be distributing in Russia during the FIFA World Cup this summer.

Inzhi’s Story: A Quest for Truth and Meaning

 

Inzhi was born in Istanbul, Turkey but moved to Moldova with her mother after her parents divorced when she was five. Her father had a problem with alcohol and was sometimes abusive and violent towards them and her parents fought a lot. In Moldova, Inzhi and her mother stayed with her grandmother. Her mother worked very long hours and her grandmother didn’t care where she was or what she did, so she was left to her own devices. She frequently got in trouble at home, and when she started school her problems only increased. She had a lot of conflicts with other kids and was frequently the victim of bullying. She grew bitter and disillusioned. As she grew older she started hanging out with the wrong crowd. Her father came to visit rarely, and when he did, his visits were short and full of conflict. One of the sources of conflict was religion: her father was a Muslim, her mother Orthodox, and her grandmother identified as a cosmic humanist. Torn by the fighting, Inzhi wasn’t sure what or whom she believed in.

At age 14, Inzhi made her first suicide attempt. It wasn’t very serious, but it was followed by another five attempts, each more serious than the last, leaving her feeling empty and her arms seriously scarred. “I was looking for meaning in life, and I couldn’t find it,” shares Inzhi. “But one evening a friend invited me to Lighthouse, a youth group run by School Without Walls students and other young Next Generation Christian leaders from a local church. The experience transformed me. There I heard about a God unlike anything I had heard about before. This God gives strength and joy and brings meaning to my life.  A few months later I attended Veritas, a summer Bible camp organized by Church Without Walls in Chisinau, and my life was changed forever. In August 2017 I repented and gave my life to God, and I discovered a new me.

“My life had meaning, I now wanted to live. I began attending church, growing closer to other believers and to God. I developed a love for other people and the world around me. I now take every opportunity to tell other young women about how God has changed my life and can change any life. I started studying in SWW, and I am learning about how to be a good leader, and how to manage my resources with God’s help. I look forward to continuing to grow and change with the help and support of my church, SWW, other believers, and, of course, God!”

March 2018 Prayer Requests

The first service in the newly constructed Church Without Walls building in Chisinau, Moldova!

1. Praise God that Church Without Walls (CWW) in Chisinau, Moldova has reopened! The roof of the church collapsed due to heavy snowfall in April 2017, but thanks to the generosity of our faithful supporters, it has been repaired and services have resumed.

2. Please pray that God would provide opportunities for our School Without Walls (SWW) students who distributed Gifts of Hope during the Christmas season to continue building relationships with the families they met.

3. Pray for several upcoming SWW and Next Generation Professional Leaders Initiative (NGPLI) events that will be taking place in Moscow, Russia in early March.

4. Pray for God’s Family Church in Minsk, Belarus as they launch a youth ministry program and prepare for an English as a Second Language (ESL) camp that will take place this summer.

5. Praise God that SWW students from Vladikavkaz, Russia are distributing thousands of Scripture pieces, including Light magazine and The Greatest Stories of Hope, to unreached children in their city!

6. Please pray for Aleksey, our SWW coordinator in Kazakhstan, and his wife, Alyssa, who is experiencing health issues.

7. Continue praying for Reconciliation Church in Bobruisk, Belarus as they expand their youth ministry and mentorship programs.

8. Pray for SWW students in Yekaterinburg, Russia as they plant new churches and lead new ministry initiatives in the Sverdlovsk region.

9. Please pray for an NGPLI training session that will take place in Lviv, Ukraine on March 9-10.

10. Pray for our ministry leaders in Kazakhstan, as they are planning to open a Bible school for young people from the deaf community. Please pray that all of the preparations would go smoothly so the school can open this spring.

11. Pray for Clean Heart Church in Brest, Belarus as they train young leaders through their SWW study center. Two young men, Roman and Ruslan, recently accepted Christ at this center!

12. Praise God for a Christian youth club that SWW students from Vladikavkaz, Russia recently launched in their city!

13. Please pray for our SWW groups in Tajikistan, where young Christian leaders are being equipped to launch new ministry initiatives in their own communities.

14. Pray for Ray and Cindy, our missionaries who are leading the International Alliance for the Development of Christian Education (IADCE) in Ukraine, as they develop an online training program for Christian teachers.

15. Pray for SWW students in Kropotkin, Russia as they balance ministry with their many other responsibilities.

16. Please pray for a SWW event called Living Movement, which is taking place in Lviv, Ukraine today and tomorrow.

17. Praise God for a women’s ministry conference that will be taking place at CWW in Pinsk, Belarus this month!

18. Pray for Valeriy, our SWW coordinator in Vladikavkaz, Russia, as he leads a church-planting project in a local village.

19. The Parliament of Kazakhstan is trying to pass a law that would prevent children from attending church services, so please pray that God would be at work so His Kingdom may continue to grow.

20. Pray for Artur, a young man who recently accepted Christ at Reconciliation Church in Bobruisk, Belarus, as he is experiencing serious health issues.

21. Please pray for two young men who recently graduated from SWW in Haifa, Israel and are now launching a ministry program in Arad, where there are no churches.

22. Praise God for new churches that local pastors and SWW students are planting in Russia’s North Caucasus!

23. Pray for a missionary conference taking place in Bila Tserkva, Ukraine on March 23-24.

24. Pray for CWW in Pinsk, Belarus as they expand their small groups, youth ministry (Joy Club), sports ministry, and social outreach to orphans.

25. Please pray for an upcoming youth conference that SWW students are leading in Kazakhstan.

26. Pray for new SWW groups in Azerbaijan and Russia, where the students are launching youth clubs to reach out to non-Christian young people.

27. Pray for the first session of the IADCE online training program for Christian teachers in Ukraine, which will take place on March 27-30.

28. Please pray for God to raise up new leaders at CWW in Pinsk, Belarus so they can continue sharing the gospel in their community.

29. Praise God for the young people in Moldova who recently accepted Christ and are now participating in SWW and Lighthouse Youth Club!

30. Pray for a SWW conference that will take place in Kharkiv, Ukraine on March 31.

31. Pray for two Empower training conferences that will take place in Russia at the end of April. Through these conferences, hundreds of SWW students and graduates will be equipped to organize and lead summer Bible camps for children.

Religion in the Shadow of the Kremlin: National Prayer Breakfast Roundtable Discussion

The 2018 National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC

Mission Eurasia’s efforts to promote peace and religious freedom in Eurasia and raise awareness about challenges to religious freedom in the region led us to organize several strategic events centered around the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC at the beginning of February 2018. One of the key events that week was a roundtable discussion called Religion in the Shadow of the Kremlin: New Challenges Facing the Post-Soviet World. This roundtable discussion brought together key leaders in church, government, and society from Eurasia and the US to establish international partnerships and dialogue, analyze current challenges to religious freedom in Russia and territories of Ukraine that are occupied by pro-Russian separatists, and develop creative and effective solutions to the problems.

This event was organized by Mission Eurasia, and Sergey Rakhuba (President of Mission Eurasia), Dr. Michael Cherenkov (Executive Director of Mission Eurasia Field Ministries), and Viktor Kuzmenko (Short-Term Missions and Slavic Relations Manager) represented Mission Eurasia at the roundtable discussion.

Other distinguished participants included Dr. Andriy Yurash (Director of the Department of Religious and Ethnic Affairs in Ukraine), Lauren B. Homer (President of Law and Liberty Trust), Father Cyril Hovorun (Acting Director of Huffington Ecumenical Institute), Rev. Dr. Valeriy Antonuk (President of the Ukrainian Baptist Union), Dr. Viktor Ielensky (Member of Parliament of Ukraine), Dr. Liliia Hrynevych (Ukrainian politician and Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine), and Dr. Pavlo Ungurian (Member of Parliament of Ukraine). Dr. John Bernbaum, one of our esteemed partners at the BEAM Foundation, moderated the discussion.

Questions examined during the roundtable discussion included:

  • What is the nature of the new religious and political situation in Russia? What is the real role of the Russian Orthodox Church in relation to the Russian government? What will happen to other Christian denominations and religious groups in Russia? What is the “Yarovaya law” and against whom are its strict regulations directed?
  • How are the religious and political motives of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine connected? What can religious institutions in both countries do to end the war in eastern Ukraine?
  • How can the international/global community and partnerships help civil society and religious communities facing limited freedom and/or open aggression? What forms of interaction are most effective?
  • How can the social, educational, missionary initiatives of the church help to positively transform the post-Soviet countries of Eurasia?

To read and download the individual presentations from the roundtable discussion, please see the list of speakers below.

Speakers and Presentations:

Dr. Andriy Yurash, Director of the Department of Religious and Ethnic Affairs (Ministry of Culture of Ukraine), Professor of Religious Studies. Click to read Dr. Yurash’s presentation:

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Viktor Ielensky, Member of Parliament of Ukraine, Sociologist of Religion, Professor. Click to read Dr. Ielensky’s presentation:

 

 

 

 

 

Rev. Dr. Cyril Hovorun, Acting Director of Huffington Ecumenical Institute, formerly Chair of External Relations of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Click to read Dr. Hovorun’s presentation:

 

 

 

 

Dr. Mykhailo (Michael) Cherenkov, Professor at Ukrainian Catholic University, Executive Field Director at Mission Eurasia. Click to read Dr. Cherenkov’s presentation: 

 

 

 

 

 

Rev. Dr. Valeriy Antonyuk, President of the Ukrainian Baptist Union. Click to read Dr. Antonyuk’s presentation:

 

 

 

 

Sergey Rakhuba, President of Mission Eurasia. Click to read Sergey Rakhuba’s presentation:

   

 

 

 

 

Moderator:

Dr. John A. Bernbaum, President, BEAM (Business & Education as Mission), Inc. Click to read Dr. Bernbaum’s remarks:

 

 

 

 

Photos from the roundtable discussion: 

 

 

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: