Dear Friends and Supporters,
After much anticipation, Mission Eurasia is pleased to announce that our new website is now up and running! Please visit www.missioneurasia.org to read about how Mission Eurasia is helping to bring transformation to the countries of Eurasia, and also to discover ways you can become involved in spreading God’s hope to the lost, hurting and most vulnerable.
While our name and website have changed, Mission Eurasia remains committed to the same mission: To train, equip and mobilize Christian leadership throughout Eurasia, who will engage in indigenous evangelism, church-planting, holistic ministries and church growth by developing creative and strategic ministries and by facilitating partnerships between nationals and Western Christians.
Our three ministry pillars also remain the same, responding to the most urgent needs of the national church:
- To train and equip the Next Generation of Christian leaders in Eurasia and beyond to share the gospel with their colleagues, communities, and nations, helping to connect the Body of Christ with the needs of contemporary society.
- To provide the Word of God and other Scriptural resources for millions who are searching for God’s truth, comfort, and love in the midst of brokenness and despair.
- To create awareness and provide support for Christians who are experiencing persecution for their faith in the countries of Eurasia where the gospel is unwelcome or illegal.
On behalf of our entire team in the US and overseas, thank you for standing with Mission Eurasia to shine the light of Christ into the darkness of hopelessness and despair. We look forward to your continued partnership as we work to advance God’s Kingdom throughout the countries of Eurasia and beyond.
Gratefully in Him,
MISSION EURASIA (formerly Russian Ministries)
P.S. For more frequent updates from the ministry field, be sure to visit Mission Eurasia’s Facebook page on our new website.
The recent Olympic Games in Russia captured the attention of the world and presented unprecedented opportunities for sharing the gospel. Because of your generous support and the faithful partnership of organizations like the Gideons International in Canada, we were able to print and distribute 730,000 copies of Scripture throughout major cities in Russia during the Olympics. Here is a report on our Olympic outreach efforts that were made possible by your investment in our ministry. While it is difficult to communicate the magnitude of the total impact that resulted, this report gives a glimpse into some of the lives and communities that have been transformed because of your generous and faithful support. Thank you for your partnership in ministry!
As the March 16 deadline for the Crimea referendum approaches, the Board of Directors of Russian Ministries has issued the following statement regarding Russian Ministries’ position on the crisis in Ukraine. We pray that the church in both Russia and Ukraine, which have survived the persecution of the Stalin era, will stand firm for the gospel and will serve as salt and light during this time of great turmoil and unrest.
Statement from Russian Ministries’ Board of Directors Regarding the Crisis in Ukraine
As the world observes the unfolding crisis in Russia and Ukraine, Russian Ministries and its national affiliate, The Association for Spiritual Renewal–which has its ministry headquarters in Ukraine and oversees ministry outreach in 12 countries of the former Soviet Union, including Russia and Ukraine–are shocked and saddened by the escalation of violence that began with protests in Ukraine and culminated, as of today, with the Russian invasion of Crimea. As followers of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, we denounce aggression and violence, knowing that “the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:20, ESV).
Through our active ministry involvement in both Russia and Ukraine, our organization is devoted to helping the church be salt and light during this conflict in order to bring healing and hope to the nations. We call upon all leaders, both religious and secular, to embrace peaceful means of deciding questions of political alignment and national determination. We ask our brothers and sisters to always assume the best motives of others as events unfold in the days ahead. We also caution Christian leaders not to let their political views, whatever they are, overshadow their Christian convictions.
In times of uncertainty, the hearts of men and women are looking for stability. True followers of Jesus Christ know that they can depend on the “solid rock” of their faith. Especially in these tense times, we renew our commitment to helping others find comfort, healing and faith in Him, in both Russia and Ukraine. We call on the global Christian community to support us, prayerfully and financially, in our effort to bring reconciliation and restore peace to this land in great turmoil.
Board of Directors
Peter Deyneka Russian Ministries
Midway through the Winter Olympics, an evangelical outreach team reports daily decisions for Christ, successful distribution of Scripture and some opposition in the midst of high security.
The evangelistic team includes representatives from Russian Ministries, the Association for Spiritual Renewal (Russian Ministries’ in-country affiliate), the Gideons International of Canada along with hundreds of local evangelical churches who are sharing God’s Word in parks and marketplaces—thanks to the partnerships mentioned above.
Two young School Without Walls students fresh from a Christian youth gathering, hopped aboard a train to Nalchik to join their church there in Scripture distribution. Soon these young men struck up a conversation with two Muslim women who shared their compartment. After a while, the women related a dream one of them had. The women had returned home to their suburb in Nalchik (the same suburb where the church was located), to discover that there was no water. The women cried out to their neighbors for water, but no one heeded their cries, except for two young men, who told them to come to their house, where they could freely receive water.
The two students said they could interpret the dream. Although surprised, these two women listened as the young men explained that the water they were looking for was the Word of God and there was only one place to find the Holy Scriptures in their suburb—at the local evangelical church.
Back at the Olympics, young Christian leaders are reporting conversions and recommitments to Christ. But they are also ministering in an environment of tight security. Workers are asked several times a day for identification checks. So far, they have been allowed to continue under the watchful eyes of Russian security forces who are on guard against terrorist attacks by area militants.
In addition, the global ministry effort is making it possible to distribute a total of730,000 copies of Scripture and other Christian literature.
Russian Ministries’ Vice President Wally Kulakoff reports that “the churches are renting pay-per-view showings of Olympic events and showing them on big screen televisions, open to the public and free of charge. During breaks, volunteers are distributing Bibles and copies of the Gospel of John.”
After the Olympics, the ministry team anticipates that the following ministries will grow in the area:
- Evangelistic sports,
- Music clubs,
- Hiking trips and camping ministries,
- Follow-up contacts with local city workers and officials
Meanwhile, a Baptist church in the Olympic area was recently presented with papers threatening to confiscate their property—a potentially ominous sign for life in the area after the conclusion of the Olympics.
This week could prove to be a turning point in Ukraine’s history. After months of deliberation, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich decided not to sign an Association Agreement with the European Union last week, prompting thousands of Ukrainians to flood the streets of the capital city of Kiev in protest. These mostly young people were protesting against what they see as succumbing to pressure from Russia and taking a step backwards in Ukraine’s development.
On the morning of Saturday, November 30, things took an ugly turn as riot police turned up at 4:00 in the morning and forcibly disbanded the few hundred protesters still out on the streets, beating many of them with truncheons and fists, and sending a few dozen of them to the hospital. In response, the number of protestors swelled to the hundreds of thousands, and there are now protests on the streets of every major Ukrainian city, calling for the resignation of the president and for a new government. Tensions and violence are growing among the protestors in Ukraine. Vitaly Klichko, an opposition leader, reported that this morning the first dead body was found.
“Ukraine has historically been a bright model of freedom in the post-Soviet world,” said Russian Ministries’ President Sergey Rakhuba, a native of Ukraine. And indeed, the events of the past few days are drawing many comparisons to the Orange Revolution that took place nine years ago, when hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians poured out on the same streets, forcing the government to hold a re-vote in the presidential elections. And, just as during the events of nine years ago, “We are praying and urging the global Christian community to pray for the leaders of this great nation that they would make the right, unifying decisions for the future of this great country,” he added.
Please join us in praying for the Ukrainian government during this time of upheaval, that they would make decisions that are best for the Ukrainian people!
Dr. Michael Cherenkov, vice president of the Association for Spiritual Renewal (ASR), pointed out the important role the church is playing in these events. Many churches and monasteries of various denominations have opened their doors to those seeking refuge, warmth, and safety during the protests. “The Ukrainian nation longs for change and is standing up for freedom,” Dr. Cherenkov said. “While the government is paralyzed, the church has become a support. People are hiding in churches from the repression of the police, church representatives are calling on the people to take peaceful action and on the authorities to fear God. The main force behind the protests is young people and students—the future of Ukraine.”
Please pray for Ukrainian churches, that they would continue to be a demonstration of Jesus’ love and unifying message during this time in Ukraine.
Executive Vice President of the Association for Spiritual Renewal (ASR) Boris Volkov talked about the role of Russian Ministries/the Association for Spiritual Renewal in impacting the Next Generation in the former Soviet Union, thereby changing the corrupt system that Ukraine is currently protesting against: “Working together with evangelical churches, ASR is investing energy and resources into our vision of a Next Generation deeply committed to the Lord, who will change the face of the church and of our country. We believe that the painstaking task of forming honesty, integrity, responsibility and respect in people will bring the fruit of peace.”
Please pray for Russian Ministries/the Association for Spiritual Renewal as we seek to train and equip the Next Generation of Ukrainian Christians who will continue to bring spiritual transformation through their churches into their communities and society.
Christians of different denominations in Ukraine have joined together to set up prayer tents on the main square in Kiev and 24/7 prayer chains for the safety of the protestors and for the future of Ukraine.
We urgently need your prayers and help! The evangelical church in Ukraine is now urgently requesting that copies of the Word of God be made available to protestors who are in despair and who are looking for hope and answers for the future of their country.
In response to this urgent request, Russian Ministries is planning to print and make available 100,000 copies of the Gospel of John in the Ukrainian language. $32,000 is urgently needed to provide these copies of the Word of God that have the power to transform lives. Please consider a gift of any amount toward meeting this urgent need. Click here to give online—select “Scripture for Ukraine” from the designation dropdown menu.
Thank you for partnering with Russian Ministries to provide the transforming Word of God for those in Ukraine who need God’s hope at this critical time in their country’s history.
On October 8, an event occurred in the saga of the 67-year-old Astana Pastor Bakhytzhan Kashkumbaev that few could have foreseen. As soon as he was released from his five-month detainment, the pastor was taken into custody, right there at the exit of the Astana pretrial detention facility (SIZO). Azattyk [Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty] has learned that a new criminal case has been launched with allegations of extremist activities.
Recall that the Pastor was initially placed under arrest in May of this year on the charge of causing bodily harm to one of his parishioners through hypnosis in his sermons, writes Kazis Toguzbaev for the Radio Azattyk website.The decision to transfer the Pastor to house arrest was made just before evening on Monday, October 7. The release from SIZO was processed the next day at noon. But what kind of a blow it was to the pastor’s relatives when, after three hours of waiting for their family patriarch, he was immediately placed under arrest.
A brief video of the moment of the new arrest was captured by one of the Pastor’s family members via mobile phone. Pastor Bakhytzhan Kashkumbaev is showing the people surrounding him his injured leg. Next to him a woman is crying—his wife, Alfia Kashkumbaeva.
Relatives of the Pastor and his lawyer say that the 67-year-old suffers from numerous health issues and requires constant medical care. The Pastor himself asked the authorities to at least transfer him to house arrest if there was no way to drop the absurd, in his opinion, criminal charges.
And now Kashkumbaev, immediately upon exiting SIZO, is once again taken into custody. According to Nurlan Beisekeev speaking by telephone to Azattyk from the scene of action, he was detained by officers of the Municipal Department of Internal Affairs (DVD) on new charges of extremism. The officers, dressed in civilian clothes, agreed to allow the Pastor to be transported to the police station in the private car of Nurlan Beisekeev. “I was behind the wheel, and behind me sat the two officers with Bakhytzan between them. Upon arrival at the DVD he was taken to the office of Investigator Glazkov. I also made my way there. The investigator explained his reason for the detention: new charges have been filed against Kashkumbaevfor alleged extremism: article 233. I saw the ruling and read it,” said the attorney Beisekeev.
However, Nurlan Beisekeev, it would seem, is no longer the attorney for Pastor Kashkumbaev. “The investigator took away the document with his indictment of Kashkumbaev, saying as he did so that I am not Kashkumbaev’s attorney in this new case and evicting me from the office,” says Nurlan Beisikeev. At present it is a matter of urgency that Beisekeev resolve some legal formalities in order to become the Pastor’s attorney in the new criminal case. Investigator Vyacheslav Glazkov told a correspondent of Azattyk that the charge against Kashkumbaev has not yet been filed, but that a new criminal case has indeed been opened on suspicion of criminal activity meeting the criteria of the article on extremism: article 233-1, part 1. And so Kashkumbaev is being held.
“We’ve taken him into custody,” said Investigator Vyacheslav Glazkov, explaining that the law permits them to hold suspects for three days. Human rights organizations have called for Astana to release Bakhytzhan Kashkumbaev and drop the politically motivated, in their view, charges. During the previous detention, Kashkumbaev was forced to undergo a psychiatric examination, which also provoked criticism from human rights advocates.
Together, we can make a difference. Please continue your prayers for Pastor Kashkumbaev and other persecuted Christians across the former Soviet Union/Eurasia. And as the Lord leads, please give to Russian Ministries’ Religious Freedom Fund, to support churches and families facing persecution and give emergency aid to fellow believers in crisis.
Pray for Central Asia —In the fear-filled countries of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan, violence by Islamic militants is on the rise, and evangelism is considered terrorism. But your support of Russian Ministries is at work! Despite the fact that we must work underground, we trained 567 School Without Walls (SWW) students in 2013. These Next Generation Christian leaders are at work now, actively sharing their faith in every way they can.
Pray for Russia —The world’s largest country, the Russian Federation is home to 162 different people groups . . . nearly half of which are unreached by the gospel. The government has become hostile toward evangelical Christians and persecution is on the rise. This vast land is filled with the byproducts of spiritual emptiness — suicide, addiction, and despair.
But in the past year, your support of SWW trained 465 students in 18 locations, strengthening their faith and motivating them to actively evangelize and to work in ministry.
Pray for Belarus —Sky-high suicide and homicide rates, rampant corruption, and despair grip this country. Foreign missionaries are not allowed and unregistered religious activity can result in imprisonment or heavy fines. Unregistered churches are monitored by secret police and violent raids are common. Your support trained 184 SWW students in six locations in 2013 to strengthen existing churches and communities and to evangelize through social work and discipleship.
A generous foundation has created a very special matching challenge for Russian Ministries. They will match, dollar for dollar, every gift we receive from first-time givers and every gift that represents an increase over 2012 giving from existing givers by September 17, 2013, up to a total of $25,000.
That means if you’ve never given to Russian Ministries before, there’s never been a better time to give! If you are already one of our generous donors, there’s never been a better time to consider an increase in your 2013 giving over 2012!
Your gift today is especially important because we will forfeit any portion of the $25,000 that is not matched by September 17—and the $50,000 we can raise, if we fulfill the entire match, can:
- provide twice as many Bibles for at-risk children attending our summer Bible camps in the former Soviet Union/Eurasia;
- train twice as many young leaders through our School Without Walls nonformal Christian leadership training program.
- double the impact of other strategic ministry initiatives in the former Soviet Union/Eurasia.
Remember, every gift matters to help take full advantage of this wonderful God-given opportunity. So make your gift go twice as far. To give by check, please make the check out to Russian Ministries and mail (in the US) to: P.O. Box 496, Wheaton, IL, 60187. In Canada, please mail your check to: 3199-3350 Fairview St., Burlington, ON L7N 3L5. Be sure to write “Matching Gift” in the memo section of the check.
Thank you for your generosity!