“Evangelical churches in our country are not very numerous, but we aspire to impact our society and we are grateful to School without Walls for their help in this,” shared Arash*, a national School Without Walls (SWW) coordinator for Tajikistan, speaking to 80 young Next Generation Christian leaders at a Next Generation Professional Leaders Initiative (NGPLI) conference last week.
Tajikistan is over 90% Muslim, and Christians who openly share their faith risk persecution from their families, in the educational system, and from employers. Therefore, the goal of the conference was to pass on a vision of influential Christianity to these young Tajik Christians and to inspire and teach them how to be witnesses for Christ and transform their society through treating their workplace as a mission field.
Bahram*, a university student, shared how the conference’s message impacted him: “It’s not easy being a Christian in our country. Many people tell me that I’ve betrayed the faith of our ancestors. It’s difficult to find work in Tajikistan, and a majority of men find that they must travel to Russia to find jobs to support themselves and their families. But I don’t want to leave – I love my country, and I want to serve Christ here! This conference has helped me understand how I can do that. I was inspired by the vision of sharing Christ in the workplace. I believe that God will help me find a job in Tajikistan which will allow me to be a witness for Him among my future coworkers!”
The conference served as a follow-up to the first NGPLI Forum in Central Asia, which brought together 500 participants from around the region in Kyrgyzstan in November 2016. It is important for Christians in these countries, where openly evangelistic events are not allowed and believers face heavy restrictions on their activities, to gather together to encourage and learn from one another in their efforts to influence their communities for Christ.
Kamran* is a high school teacher and youth ministry leader, as well as a local SWW coordinator. “I brought 14 high school and university students from my town to this conference,” he shares. “It’s important for them to see other believers and to hear that they are called by Christ to have strong faith as leaders. They are all first generation Christians, and many are experiencing persecution in their families, but SWW and this NGPLI conference are helping lay the foundation in them for powerful, committed Christian life and ministry. I will continue to mentor and disciple them and help them grow in this after the conference.”
Thank you for your faithful prayers and support, which enable us to invest in young Next Generation Christian leaders who will in turn transform their society with the Gospel!
*name has been changed
A recent School Without Walls (SWW) seminar in Kyrgyzstan focused on helping students respond to the unique challenges they face in their country following a recent incident. After a 76-year-old Christian woman passed away, Muslim leaders wouldn’t allow her to be buried in the local cemetery due to her faith, so her family had to dig up her body and bury her in a different village. However, the people in this village also didn’t want her to be buried in their cemetery, so her body was unearthed again and moved to a cemetery at a Russian Orthodox Church. Yet again, this burial was also not approved, so without informing her relatives, her body was dug up for a third time and taken to an unknown location.
There have been many instances like this, but this particular case has gotten a lot of publicity among Christians, and throughout Kyrgyz society as a whole. Many churches are now uniting in prayer, fasting, and taking action by appealing to local authorities and the media. This case even went beyond Kyrgyzstan’s border, as many international organizations have expressed their disapproval of these acts. However, despite the very negative reaction to this incident, public attitudes towards Christians have not improved.
This case helped local leaders to develop the main question for this special SWW seminar: “How can I, as a Christian, help transform my country and the people who live here?” The students focused on Jesus as the ultimate example. He excelled in all aspects of life: intellectually, physically, socially, and, of course, spiritually. He could speak on any subject, not just spiritual topics. He was well versed in agriculture, business, fishing, and family matters. “Like Him, Christians should also be well-versed in the various aspects of modern life,” shares the SWW coordinator who organized the seminar. “If we only focus on spiritual development and ignore all other areas of life, then we won’t be able to connect with people outside the church. Along with pastors, our country also needs Christian businessmen, doctors, lawyers, teachers, etc.” This is the primary motivation behind the Next Generation Professional Leaders Initiative, which helps motivate and equip young Christian professionals to share their faith in the workplace.
“I realized that I need to grow,” Alyona, one of our SWW students, shared regarding the seminar, “not just spiritually, but also in other areas of life, so that people will be comfortable talking with me.” As a result of the seminar, some of the SWW students expressed a desire to study the Koran in order to more effectively share the gospel with Muslims. Christina, one of these students, can speak several languages, and recently she started teaching language classes for non-Christian children at her church!
Please pray for these students as they seek to put what they learned into practice and find creative ways to reach their communities with the gospel!
“When I first started working, I had to choose whether to be an accountant or a teacher, and I chose to be a teacher, because I wanted to impact young people’s lives,” shares Nargiza, a math teacher from Kyrgyzstan who attended our Next Generation Professional Leaders Initiative Forum in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan in November. “My parents were also teachers, and my father was considered a master at his craft. From them, I learned the value of hard work, and from the Bible, I learned that my work should be glorifying to God. There is a great need for the gospel in the intellectual environment that I work in, and the best way to respond to this need is by talking with people. God has entrusted me with my students, and I believe He has called me to use my job for ministry, which is a great responsibility.
“The forum in Bishkek really touched my heart. I no longer feel guilty that I’m not doing enough to serve God and I feel much more prepared for ministry. I was reminded that my profession is also my ministry field and I am called to serve God, even at the expense of my job. My colleagues should know that I’m a disciple of Christ, not just at church, but also at work. The forum also helped me understand that I need to value the people to whom God is sending me. I made so many great contacts at this event, which is very important, because there aren’t many Christian professionals in Kyrgyzstan, so we need to stick together.
“Some of my students are from Muslim families, so I want to do my best to be a blessing to them. Because their parents trust me as a professional educator, they are also starting to trust what I say about God. For me, the most helpful thing is that I regularly meet with a pastor who mentors me, and I feel like it is Jesus Himself who is teaching me. We Christian professionals have a great responsibility to work hard and treat our coworkers well. I don’t just work to live; I work for the Lord, and I hope this idea becomes a model for others.
“During the Soviet era, it was very difficult for Christians to pursue higher education, which meant they couldn’t enter influential professions. Furthermore, many people were afraid of evangelical churches, because they believed that they were ‘sects.’ But today, things are changing. For example, people sometimes come to my church to ask for legal advice from the lawyers in our congregation, because they trust them more than non-Christian lawyers. They sometimes even wait until the services are over before talking with the lawyers, which means that they hear the gospel being preached. This is an excellent example of how our society’s view of the Church is changing, and why it is so important that we continue working to positively impact our nation.”
Help us train and equip as many young Christian professionals like Nargiza as we can—so that they can shine the light of Christ in their spheres of professional influence!
- Praise God for our first ever Next Generation Professional Leaders Initiative (NGPLI) forum in Central Asia, which took place in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan on November 12!
- Please pray for our Gift of Hope distribution efforts and other evangelistic events taking place throughout Eurasia during the Christmas season.
- Pray for a School Without Walls (SWW) youth conference that is taking place in Ukraine on December 2-3.
- Pray that God would bless our ministry leaders in Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia’s North Caucasus as they expand our SWW efforts in these volatile regions.
- Pray for Church Without Walls (CWW) in Pinsk, Belarus, as the church leaders are applying for registration with the local authorities, while also expanding their various ministry initiatives.
- Please pray for SWW students in the city of Vanadzor, Armenia to be zealous for God and motivated to share the gospel with even more unreached people.
- Praise God for a group of 30 new SWW students in Russia’s North Caucasus who are committed to sharing the gospel!
- Pray for Vasiliy, one of the leaders of Reconciliation Church in Bobruisk, Belarus, as he ministers to broken families in his community.
- Pray for CWW in Moldova, as our ministry partners are planning many different social outreach efforts and other evangelistic events during the Christmas season.
- Please pray that God would grant wisdom and courage to believers in Armenia as they share the gospel with the unreached.
- Praise God for our ministry center in Vladikavkaz, Russia and our partners at Spiritual Renewal Church, who are dedicated to sharing the gospel throughout the North Caucasus!
- Pray that God would continue to bless our NGPLI efforts in Belarus so that even more young Christian professionals can learn how to share the gospel in their workplaces.
- Pray for wisdom for a group of SWW students in Georgia who want to start a ministry to the homeless.
- Please pray that God would provide new opportunities for SWW students to share the gospel with young people in local schools and universities in Vladikavkaz, Russia.
- Pray for Yuriy, our SWW coordinator in Pinsk, Belarus, as his mother-in-law is undergoing surgery, and he is also developing his own business.
- Pray that our containers of humanitarian aid goods for Ukraine would clear customs as quickly as possible so that we can continue bringing these goods to those in need.
- Pray that God would use SWW to raise up new church leaders in Russia’s North Caucasus and expand our ministry efforts in the region.
- Please pray for the leaders of Reconciliation Church in Bobruisk, Belarus as they encourage their congregation to continue growing in faith and sharing the gospel with their neighbors.
- Pray for Denis, our SWW coordinator in Svetliy, Moldova, as he seeks to faithfully serve the Lord and make enough time for his family.
- Praise God for a group of new SWW students in Russia who are participating in our Preparation for Success training seminars and inviting their friends to participate!
- Continue praying for Reconciliation Church in Bobruisk, Belarus as the church leaders apply for registration with the local authorities.
- Pray that our 12 SWW centers in Ukraine would help to prepare the Next Generation of Christian leaders for effective ministry.
- Please pray that God would grant courage to our brothers and sisters in Russia who are continuing to share the gospel, even in the midst of escalating religious persecution.
- Pray for Aram, our SWW coordinator in Armenia, and a group of SWW students as they minister to Lianna, a single mother who suffers from epilepsy and is struggling to care for her family. Praise God that she recently started going to church!
- Pray for Roman, one of our ministry partners at Reconciliation Church in Bobruisk, Belarus, as he recovers from a recent tumor removal surgery.
- Praise God that Ray and Cindy Le Clair, our missionaries in Ukraine, received permission to translate a teaching website into the Russian language! They are hoping to have it ready for a Christian Education Resource Network workshop for Christian teachers that will be taking place in January 2017.
- Please pray that our new SWW students in Gagauzia, Moldova would use their gifts and talents to reach their neighbors for Christ.
- Pray that God would be at work in the families that CWW in Pinsk, Belarus is serving so that they might come to accept Christ as their Savior.
- Continue praying for Georgiy, one of our SWW teachers in Vladikavkaz, Russia, as he is still trying to resolve a difficult financial situation related to a car accident he was in last year.
- Pray that God would lead nonbelievers to Reconciliation Church in Bobruisk, Belarus so that they may come to know Christ.
- Please pray for our SWW students in Haifa, Israel as they take their final exams and prepare for graduation.
- Praise God for several forums and seminars for Christian teachers that Ray and Cindy Le Clair, our missionaries in Ukraine, and the Christian Education Resource Network held in October!
- Please pray for God to bless our ministry efforts in Russia’s North Caucasus, particularly School Without Walls (SWW) and our church planting projects.
- Pray that God would grant wisdom to Natali, our SWW coordinator in Minsk, Belarus, as he and his wife are starting a couple’s ministry called Seventh Heaven.
- Pray for Artur and Serop, two SWW students in Armenia, who are actively involved in organizing Christian concerts, one of which will be taking place this month.
- Pray for SWW efforts in Moldova, as our students are planning to expand their youth outreach by hosting training seminars in local schools, and holding special events at a local church.
- Praise God for the leaders of Spiritual Renewal church, our SWW students, and our other ministry partners in Vladikavkaz, Russia, who are all actively involved in reaching local youth with the gospel!
- Please pray for courage and endurance for believers in Kyrgyzstan, as the government is attempting to amend the constitution to further limit religious freedom.
- Pray for God to continue using our SWW students and the leaders of Reconciliation Church in Bobruisk, Belarus to expand and grow His Kingdom.
- Pray for a group of SWW students and teachers from Siberia, Russia as they prepare for an upcoming mission trip to Mongolia.
- Continue praying for Robert, a man who recently accepted Christ and works for the local authorities in Armenia, as his boss recently asked him to choose between Christ and his job. Things have calmed down, but he is still in a very difficult position.
- Praise God for three new SWW branches that started in Moldova this year! Please pray that the students would be actively involved in reaching out to their communities.
- Pray for Yuriy, our SWW coordinator in Pinsk, Belarus, as he undergoes medical testing for his chronic headaches.
- Please pray for God to provide new ministry opportunities for our brothers and sisters in Russia as they continue sharing the gospel, despite escalating religious persecution.
- Continue praying for an end to the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine so that those who are suffering can start to rebuild their lives.
- Pray that God would grant wisdom to the leaders of Church Without Walls in Pinsk, Belarus, as they recently started an English as a Second Language class for non-Christian youth.
- Praise God for a Next Generation Professional Leaders Initiative (NGPLI) forum that will be taking place in Kyrgyzstan this month!
- Please pray for Ivan, our SWW coordinator in Mongolia, Russia, and Siberia, as his wife, Luba, is currently undergoing chemotherapy.
- Pray for upcoming SWW events that will be taking place in Chaykovsky and Perm, Russia.
- Pray for our ministry team in Israel, as they are planning to open a youth center in Haifa for young people who want to learn about church planting.
- Please pray for the health of our ministry team in Ukraine and their families, as many of their children have been sick lately.
- Praise God that many young people in Russia have gotten involved in our Bible study groups!
- Pray for God to be at work in the hearts of those in Belarus who have fallen away from Him.
- Pray that God would grant wisdom and courage to our SWW teachers in Georgia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.
- Please pray for our ministry team in Russia as they continue preparing for a large youth conference that will be taking place in Khovd, Mongolia later this winter.
- Pray for an NGPLI conference for Christian counselors that is taking place in Belarus on November 26.
- Pray for our SWW teachers in Armenia as they continue training and equipping young people for ministry.
- Please pray for Georgiy, one of our SWW teachers in Vladikavkaz, Russia, as he is facing a difficult situation involving a car accident that he was in last year.
- Praise God that many evangelical churches and organizations in Kyrgyzstan are interested in getting involved in NGPLI!
- Pray for our regional youth ministry center in Minusinsk, Russia, where 30 young people from Siberia and Mongolia are learning how to effectively share the gospel in their own communities.
- Please pray for the final preparations for our Gift of Hope Christmas outreach for children. This year, we plan to distribute 74,000 Gifts of Hope in Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, and Ukraine!
“I grew up in an orphanage and I always dreamed that one day my parents would come back for me, but it never happened,” shares Alisher. “I was so jealous of the children who did have parents, and I wondered why God wasn’t answering my prayers. Growing up, I was often mistreated by the orphanage staff, and I never experienced parental love. When I tried to picture my future, I only saw darkness, and I thought my life would have no meaning.
However thankfully, Alisher’s life did not continue down the dark path that he expected. Instead, a young Next Generation Christian professional entered his life, and changed it radically through her commitment to showing God’s love through her work. “Years later, when I was 16, I got a new teacher, and she was so different from the others,” Alisher continues. “She was kind and wanted to get to know me personally. She also gave great advice, and I trusted her very quickly. One day, I told her I was having a hard time forgiving my parents for giving me up, and she invited me to church. I immediately accepted her invitation. I was nervous, but as soon as I walked inside, I was welcomed like a brother. Everyone was so friendly, and they even offered to pray for me. Even though we only talked for a few minutes, I felt like I had known them for years. The sermon also spoke to my heart, and I was so happy, because I had finally found the answers I was looking for in God’s love! After the sermon, I immediately repented and accepted Christ!
“Soon after, I started attending youth group meetings and serving in a ministry to the elderly. At youth group, I heard about School Without Walls (SWW), and I decided to join the program. During my lessons, I could hear God’s voice so clearly. All of my doubts about my future were completely destroyed, and I realized that, with Jesus, I could do anything! I also forgave my parents, as well as the educators who mistreated me at the orphanage, and my heart was filled with love for them. I decided to dedicate my life to God by sharing His love with orphans. I also invited my friends from the orphanage to my youth group, where some of them accepted Christ! Two of them even enrolled in SWW! God has radically changed my life through this program!”
If you would like to support School Without Walls in transforming lives like Alisher’s throughout Eurasia, you can give online here:
- Please pray for an International Alliance for the Development of Christian Education meeting that Ray and Cindy Le Clair, two of our ministry workers in Ukraine, are leading in Kiev on October 1.
- Praise God for a successful hiking trip that School Without Walls (SWW) students from North Ossetia, Russia recently led! Because of this trip, several young non-Christians started going to church!
- Pray for Church Without Walls (CWW) in Pinsk, Belarus as they continue growing their small group ministry.
- Pray that God would bless Eduard, our SWW coordinator in Balti, Moldova, as he and his wife lead three different youth groups with the help of their students.
- Please pray that God would grant wisdom and courage to our ministry team in Russia’s North Caucasus as they continue expanding SWW in this volatile region.
- Praise God that Robert, a man from Gyumri, Armenia, accepted Christ at one of our evangelistic concerts and is now actively serving in his church! Please also pray for him, as he works for the authorities and is not permitted to openly confess his faith.
- Pray that the leaders of God’s Family Church in Minsk, Belarus would continue bringing the gospel beyond their church’s walls.
- Pray for SWW students in Gagauzia, Moldova as they continue reaching out to a single mother and her six children who live in their village.
- Praise God for a new group of SWW students in Russia that is actively serving in a local church and home Bible study groups!
- Please pray for the school that Living Israel recently opened in Haifa. Young people from Russia, Ukraine, and other European countries will soon be arriving to begin their studies!
- Continue praying for Aram, our SWW coordinator in Armenia, as he prepares young people at his church to take over the leadership of his youth ministry.
- Pray for two upcoming Next Generation Professional Leaders Initiative (NGPLI) conferences in Krasnodar and Perm, Russia. About 800 total young people are expected to attend these strategic events!
- Praise God that CWW in Pinsk, Belarus is celebrating their third anniversary this month with a special family outreach event!
- Please pray that our containers of humanitarian aid goods would clear customs in Ukraine as quickly as possible so we can bring these goods to those in need.
- Pray for three new SWW groups in Georgia as they strive to transform their communities with the hope of the gospel.
- Pray for an upcoming one-day conference in Krasnodar, Russia that will encourage SWW students to reach their neighbors for Christ.
- Please pray for Andranik and Vova, SWW teachers in Armenia, as they prepare a new group of SWW students for effective ministry.
- Pray for a group of Christians from Kazakhstan who will be participating in parliamentary work groups to encourage the nation’s leaders to soften harsh religion laws that they are trying to pass.
- Praise God for renewed passion among the leaders of Spiritual Renewal Church in Vladikavkaz, Russia!
- Pray for Denis, our SWW coordinator in Moldova, as he seeks wisdom in balancing his work with family time.
- Pray for Uzbekistan as the nation prepares to elect a new president on December 4. Please specifically pray that this new leader would call for greater religious freedom in this nation where Christians are harshly persecuted.
- Please pray for Georgiy, a SWW teacher and pastor in Vladikavkaz, Russia, who is dealing with a difficult personal situation.
- Praise God for two Christian education seminars and a training course for Christian teachers that Ray and Cindy Le Clair, along with the Christian Education Resource Network, are hosting in Kiev, Ukraine at the end of October!
- Pray for a Christian band from Armenia as they travel to different cities to expand their ministry.
- Pray for our church-planting efforts and ministry to young people through preventative lectures and youth clubs in Russia’s North Caucasus.
- Please pray for Alexey, our SWW coordinator in Kazakhstan, and his wife, Alisa, who is experiencing some challenging health issues.
- Continue praying for courage and safety for believers in Russia as they proclaim the gospel, even in the midst of the nation’s new anti-terrorism laws.
- Pray for Joy Club, a youth group at CWW in Pinsk, Belarus, to continue growing so they can reach even more young people for Christ.
- Please pray for Valeriy, our SWW coordinator in Krasnodar, Russia, as he recovers from surgery.
- Pray that God would bless SWW students in Balti, Moldova, as they are planning to build a new church in the village of Ushureya.
- Pray that God would grant us wisdom as we prepare for this year’s Gift of Hope Christmas outreach for children.
In February, School Without Walls (SWW) students in Tajikistan had the opportunity to participate in a seminar on spiritual gifts. The students enjoyed sharing their ideas and learning about how to effectively use their spiritual gifts. Now, SWW coordinators are working with these students in accountability groups to encourage them to continue developing their leadership skills and using their spiritual gifts. Now that several months have passed, a few of these students share how the seminar has impacted them in the long term:
Ahmed (age 15)
Ahmed is a pastor’s son, but he used to be too afraid to share his faith with others. However, after he completed his first SWW session, he said, “God revealed to me that He and His Word should be the most important things in my life.” Just a few weeks later, other SWW students and coordinators could already see a change in Ahmed. During one accountability meeting, he shared that he was able to share the gospel with several of his friends, and he even brought one of them to church! At the next meeting, he asked for prayer that God would remove his pride, and the following week, he shared that God had provided several opportunities for him to humbly serve others!
Viktor (age 16)
“Before we started studying the Word together in our accountability groups, a lot of us had problems with our school work and didn’t have much motivation to read the Bible,” Viktor shares. Today Viktor is an honors student, and even though his teachers don’t agree with his beliefs, he still takes every opportunity to share his faith with his classmates. His accountability group is encouraging Viktor to share what he is learning from God’s Word with others. He is also taking guitar and vocal lessons, and he helps lead Sunday worship services at his church. Recently, Viktor was asked to sing for a class, so he sang several Christian songs, and his classmates were very interested in the lyrics.
Ilya (age 15)
Ilya has won multiple cycling championships, but he shared with his accountability group that he was afraid of talking with others about Christ. The rest of the group prayed for him, and throughout the next week, he was able to share the gospel with several of his classmates, and he even invited three of them to church! A month later, one of his friends accepted Christ at a summer Bible camp! Now, Ilya is a standout SWW student, as he always completes his homework, he is actively involved in youth ministry at his church, and he helps lead his accountability group.
If you would like to partner with us in training and equipping more young Next Generation Christian leaders like Ahmed, Viktor, and Ilya in Eurasia, you can give online to the School Without Walls program here: