Tatyana, who lived in Gorlovka, Ukraine with her husband, Vitaly, and their two daughters, never dreamed that war would ever come to her homeland. After the fighting broke out in Ukraine, Vitaly felt called to defend his country, so he joined the army and left to serve in the war zone. Two weeks later, Tatyana learned that her husband had been killed in the fighting. She was shocked and couldn’t bear to break the news to her children, Nadya and Alina.
After receiving the news about Vitaly’s death, Tatyana and her daughters fled to the village of Granitnoye in the Donetsk region, where Tatyana’s mother lived. For the first four months after the move, Tatyana couldn’t find work, so she helped her mother with the household chores. Her family only survived because of the help they received from School Without Walls (SWW) students, who brought them humanitarian aid and warm clothing for the winter.
“Realizing that my life was falling into an abyss of hopelessness, I decided to read the New Testament that the SWW students gave me,” shared Tatyana. “I got so caught up in what I was reading, that I couldn’t stop! I also started praying for peace for my country, and prosperity, not only for my family, but throughout the world. And then God started communicating with me through the positive changes He brought about in my life. I believe that He will take care of us.”
After a while, Tatyana’s family started adjusting to their new home, and Tatyana got a job at a local shop. As of right now, they aren’t planning to return to Gorlovka until the war is over. “I am not the kind of person who is content with the bare minimum,” Tatyana shared. “I value freedom, and I want to be able to talk with anyone that I want whenever I want. I feel good where I am free, where my family is safe, and where there is no war. Many people from Gorlovka weren’t able to leave, and it makes me sad to remember that they are trapped there. But, I still want to say thank you for not forgetting about the people who are suffering and struggling to survive because of the war. In times like this, it is so necessary to preach the gospel to those in need, and it is especially important that young people like you keep doing this.”
In the midst of the spiritual emptiness spreading across Russia, Light Magazine–a beautiful evangelistic magazine containing the Gospel of John and designed and printed in partnership with ShareWord Global– is helping young people choose to follow Christ, rather than living for the world. These remarkable young people, like Olesya, are spreading God’s Light to their communities and families:
Olesya is 15 years old and was born in South Ossetia, but her family moved to North Ossetia not long after her birth. There they started going to church, where Olesya’s brother and parents were baptized. After becoming a believer, Olesya’s father stopped drinking and swearing. “I was so happy that my family became Christians, because we finally got along,” she shared. However, after some time, Olesya’s father left the Church because he was angry that so many people claimed to be Christians but didn’t live in line with God’s teaching. Sadly, his disappointment led him to start drinking and smoking again.
Despite her father’s decision, Olesya still attends a home Bible study and the youth group at her church. She has also participated in several boxing tournaments, where she has won many awards. Now, Olesya strives to be a world-champion boxer, however widespread corruption in Russia has made this very difficult. For a while, she found herself wondering how God could allow such injustice. “I was working so hard, so I didn’t understand why I was facing so many difficulties,” Olesya recalled. “One day, I was upset, so I opened Light Magazine and read these words: ‘The sun may be your light for the day, but the Lord will be your eternal Light.’ My heart was instantly filled with joy! I began to understand that God allows struggles in our lives so we can grow stronger and learn to trust Him.”
While boxing is very important to Olesya, serving the Lord is even more important. If she has to choose between going to Biblestudy and training, she always chooses Bible study. Because she recognizes that studying God’s Word and being in community with other Christians is so important, she actively shares the gospel with her peers, even during her training sessions. Many of the young people she talks to are interested in Christianity, but sadly, her teachers call her a sectarian. Despite the poor treatment she receives from her teachers, Olesya continues to trust that God will provide. She also loved the Light Magazine that our School Without Walls (SWW) students gave her, and because of the artistic, youth-friendly design, she can easily share it with her friends.
“This year, I served as an assistant to the SWW leaders at a summer Bible camp for the very first time,” Olesya shared. “For me, this experience revealed a whole new aspect of the Christian life, as I learned how to share the gospel with children. Now I want to study at a Christian university and pursue a theology degree. I’m planning to start studying at SWW this fall, because I believe it will help me learn more about God and provide experience that will help me serve more effectively and grow my faith. I’ve learned that it is important to look at Christ rather than others as the example for how we should live. And without Him, our worldly achievements are worthless. I am so thankful that I can serve in my church.”
“I am always looking for new ways to share the Gospel,” shares Olga, one of our ministry partners from Barnual, Russia. “One way I do this is by visiting the local train station once a week to leave a few copies of God’s Word around the station.
“One week when I was in the process of setting out a few of the New Testaments that I had received from Mission Eurasia, I heard a voice behind me ask, ‘Are you the one who brings Scriptures here?’ I turned around to see a severe-looking elderly woman, dressed all in black. ‘Yes, I am,’ I replied. To my shock, she bowed to me. She told me that she had been visiting the train station every day for a month, hoping to meet me and share her remarkable story with me. She told me that normally she always carries a copy of the New Testament with her, but recently discovered that she had lost it while on her way to town for a doctor’s appointment. So she stopped by the train station to pick up another copy, intending to return it later.
“When she got to the hospital, she sat down to wait for her appointment, and noticed a sad-looking young woman sitting next to her. They were separated by a small table, and the grandmother took out her copy of the New Testament and set it on the table right by the girl, facing her. She herself didn’t know why she had done that, she just felt compelled to.
“At first, the girl looked stunned, but then she burst into tears. The grandmother asked her what was wrong, and the girl shared that she was pregnant. As soon as she had found out, she had decided to get an abortion, even though her boyfriend wanted to keep the baby and marry her. His parents also told her that they would take the baby if she didn’t want it, but she didn’t want to have to deal with the pregnancy, and felt that it was her right to make her own decision.
“As they continued talking, the grandmother found out that the young woman had come to the hospital to have the abortion, which she had already paid for. But at the last minute, she decided to give God a chance. She decided that if God gave her a clear sign during the next 10 minutes as she waited for her appointment, then she wouldn’t go through with the abortion. She had only been waiting for a few minutes when the elderly woman arrived and gave her the New Testament!”
It is amazing what a single copy of God’s Word, in the hands of someone obedient to the Holy Spirit, can accomplish! You can help increase the impact of this transformational ministry by giving online here:
“I am the pastor of a small church in the heart of Georgia, and I enjoy preaching to people on the streets of small towns and villages,” shares Pastor Kamkhadze. “I usually just set up a table of Bibles and New Testaments in a public place and people will approach the table to listen, ask questions, and sometimes argue. Some people take the Scripture, some say that they will start going to church, and sadly, some say that they will never go to church.
“Recently, I received copies of 101 Favorite Bible Stories, so I started including them at my Scripture table. Soon, children started approaching me to ask for their own copies of the book. One day, my son, Lucas, who is eight years old, said, ‘Dad, I want to be an evangelist with you.’ I asked him what he was going to do, and he said he would preach to other children. Lucas was a great help! When children came to our table, Lucas would play with them and ask them questions about God.
“One day, some boys were walking by our table and they called Lucas an offensive name. He was angry and said he wanted to beat them up, so he and some of the other children who were at our table chased the other boys away. When they returned to the table, I told them that this is not what the Bible teaches, so they agreed that they wouldn’t fight with the other boys.
“A few weeks later, those same boys walked by our table again, but this time they asked if they could have copies of 101 Favorite Bible Stories! They promised to read them, and they said they wanted to start behaving responsibly. I’m so grateful for how God’s Word is changing lives here in Georgia!”
You can help provide copies of God’s Word for motivated young Next Generation Christians like Lucas to distribute to their peers by giving online to our Scripture publishing and distribution efforts:
- Praise God that Pastor Dmitry (David) Shestakov and his family, who we helped flee to Ukraine after David suffered severe persecution in Uzbekistan, were relocated to the United States on August 30! This is a wonderful answer to prayer, as we have been advocating on behalf of the Shestakov family since 2012.
- Please pray that God would use our 2016-2017 School Without Walls (SWW) program, which launches this month, to prepare even more young Christian leaders for effective ministry throughout Eurasia and Israel.
- Pray that God would be at work in the hearts of the children who attended this year’s summer Bible camps and will now be participating in several follow-up events.
- Pray for SWW leaders and students in Belarus as they prepare for several upcoming Next Generation Professional Leaders Initiative (NGPLI) conferences.
- Pray for our ministry team in Russia’s North Caucasus as they continue expanding SWW outreach efforts and church planting in this volatile region.
- Praise God for a team of young people from ShareWord Global, one of our ministry partners, who recently visited 12 of our summer Bible camps in Moldova, where they distributed New Testaments to 900 at-risk children!
- Please pray that our containers of humanitarian aid goods for Ukraine would clear customs quickly so we can continue bringing these goods to those in need.
- Pray for the leaders of Church Without Walls (CWW) in Pinsk, Belarus, as they are seeking new ways to serve in their community and grow their small group ministry.
- Pray that God would provide new opportunities for our ministry team in Vladikavkaz, Russia to partner with local schools and universities so they can reach out to young people through preventative lectures.
- Please pray for our SWW coordinator and several SWW students in Uzbekistan who were recently interrogated by local authorities. Pray that God would protect them and give them courage.
- Pray for CWW in Chisinau, Moldova as they continue developing and expanding their youth ministry through sports outreach, youth clubs, and training seminars at local middle schools.
- Praise God for a very successful summer Bible camp in Dagestan, Russia, where many children heard the gospel for the very first time!
- Pray for a new Living Israel church that was recently planted in Safed, Israel, where there are currently no other churches.
- Please pray for several upcoming evangelistic events, including picnics, movie nights, and prayer meetings, that Reconciliation Church in Bobruisk, Belarus will be hosting.
- Pray for our SWW students in Armenia as they prepare for several upcoming evangelistic concerts in various cities.
- Pray for healing for Konstantin, one of our ministry workers in Ukraine, who recently injured his shoulder.
- Praise God for our ministry center in Vladikavkaz, Russia, through which we are preparing SWW students to reach the lost throughout the North Caucasus!
- Please pray that God would continue His work in the hearts of the non-Christian teenagers who participated in a special summer Bible camp in Pinsk, Belarus so that they may come to know Christ.
- Pray for Aram, our SWW coordinator in Armenia, as he prepares young people at his church to lead their own youth ministry.
- Pray for safety for Erin and Rashid, our missionaries in Perm, Russia, as Rashid travels to Kiev, Ukraine for SWW meetings and Erin stays at home with their children.
- Please pray for SWW students at Reconciliation Church in Bobruisk, Belarus as they continue serving at a local boarding school for orphans.
- Praise God for new believers who were recently baptized at Spiritual Renewal Church in Russia’s North Caucasus!
- Continue praying for peace in Ukraine so that those who are hurting can start to heal and move forward.
- Irina, the wife of the CWW pastor in Pinsk, Belarus, is starting an English as a Second Language ministry, so please pray that God would grant her wisdom.
- Pray for courage and safety for our brothers and sisters in Russia as they continue sharing the gospel, despite new laws that limit religious freedom.
- Praise God for a specially designed New Testament in the Romanian and Russian languages that we are distributing in Moldova!
- Please continue praying for Sasha, a SWW student from Bobruisk, Belarus, as he is currently serving in the army.
- Pray for several upcoming events in Russia, including a pastors’ conference in Yekaterinburg, a NGPLI conference in Perm, and a NGPLI forum in St. Petersburg.
- Pray for wisdom as we continue sharing the gospel in the midst of escalating religious persecution in Central Asia.
- Please pray for Dmitry, our partner pastor in Tolyatti, Russia, as his church plans evangelistic events to expand God’s Kingdom in their city.
1. Praise God for a team of 10 young people from ShareWord Global (formerly The Gideons International in Canada) who recently helped us share the gospel with more than 1,000 at-risk children at 12 of our summer Bible camps in Moldova!
2. Pray that God would provide opportunities for our brothers and sisters in Russia to continue sharing the gospel, even in the midst of the challenges posed by new anti-terrorism laws.
3. Please pray that God would be at work in the hearts of children throughout the former Soviet Union/Eurasia during this last month of our summer Bible camp season.
4. Pray that God would grant wisdom to the leaders of Church Without Walls (CWW) in Pinsk, Belarus as they continue developing their ministry strategy.
5. Pray for Andrei, one of our ministry workers in Ukraine, as he participates in the Lausanne Younger Leaders Gathering in Indonesia on August 3-10.
6. Praise God for providing new leaders for our ministry center in Vladikavkaz, Russia who are committed to expanding School Without Walls (SWW) throughout the volatile Northern Caucasus and the Transcaucasian region!
7. Please pray for our ministry workers in Moldova as they prepare to open three new SWW locations this fall.
8. Pray for Aram, our SWW coordinator in Armenia, as he continues visiting sick people in his community.
9. Pray that our containers of humanitarian aid for Ukraine would clear customs quickly so that we can continue bringing desperately needed clothing, food, wheelchairs, and other goods to those in need.
10. Praise God for a kids’ club that SWW graduates are leading in several different villages in Perm, Russia!
11. Please pray for several upcoming events, including camps, movie nights, outreaches to orphans, picnics, and prayer meetings, that Reconciliation Church in Bobruisk, Belarus is planning.
12. Pray for a new youth center that we are opening in Haifa, Israel in partnership with the Living Israel congregation.
13. Pray for a group of new SWW students in Russia as they prepare for an upcoming bike trip that SWW leaders are organizing.
14. Praise God that 63 orphans heard the gospel during a recent summer Bible camp hosted by CWW in Pinsk, Belarus!
15. Please pray for our ministry workers throughout Central Asia as they continue sharing the gospel, even in the midst of escalating religious persecution.
16. Pray that God would grow evangelical churches in Russia’s Northern Caucasus and provide new opportunities for our SWW students in the region to reach young people by partnering with local schools and universities.
17. Pray for Denis, our Next Generation Professional Leaders Initiative (NGPLI) director, as he prepares for an upcoming NGPLI conference in St. Petersburg, Russia. Please also pray for his wife, who was recently diagnosed with cancer.
18. Please pray that God would provide for the needs of God’s Family Church in Minsk, Belarus and b less the ministry efforts of the church’s SWW students.
19. Praise God that thousands of at-risk children in Belarus, Georgia, and Kyrgyzstan recently received copies of 101 Favorite Bible Stories, which we designed in partnership with Christian Aid Ministries!
20. Pray for Aleksandr, one of our ministry workers in Russia, as he will be presenting NGPLI at an upcoming conference in Krasnoyarsk.
21. Please continue praying for the leadership of CWW in Pinsk, Belarus, as they are still struggling to register with the government.
22. Pray for our ministry workers and SWW students in Armenia as they prepare for two big Christian concerts that will take place in Gyumri and Ijevan at the end of the month.
23. Praise God for new believers who were recently baptized in Vladikavkaz, Russia and are now joining in our ministry efforts!
24. Pray for Sasha, a SWW student in Bobruisk, Belarus, who was recently drafted by the army.
25. Please pray for SWW students in Israel as they continue sharing the gospel with Russian-speaking immigrants.
26. Pray for our ministry workers in Ukraine as they present NGPLI, as well as several of our other ministry initiatives, at the International Missionary Forum in Kiev on August 26-27.
27. Pray for Pavel, our director in Russia, as he prepares for an upcoming trip to Canada, where he will meet with several of our ministry partners.
28. Please pray for the members of Reconciliation Church in Bobruisk, Belarus, as many of them are struggling to find work.
29. Praise God for new SWW groups that will be starting in Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia’s Northern Caucasus this fall!
30. Please continue praying that God would bring about an end to the conflict in Ukraine.
31. Pray for the launch of our 2016-2017 SWW program, which will start in September.
School Without Walls (SWW) leaders, in partnership with New Life Church and the Gideons International in Canada, recently held an evangelistic outreach event in Zaporozhye, Ukraine. They focused their outreach efforts on the Stometrovka, an area with a large flow of people. Many homeless people can be found in this area, along with a pharmacy, where drugs are openly sold. In fact, there is usually a large crowd of drug addicts, many of whom are young people, outside of this pharmacy.
In order to reach out to these addicts, as well as other unreached people, more than 20 SWW leaders, New Life Church leaders, and volunteers from the Gideons set up a tent with cool drinks, sweets, and Christian literature right next to the pharmacy. During this one-day outreach event, they distributed more than 5,000 copies of Christian literature! Many children also eagerly accepted copies of a children’s magazine and looked at the colorful pictures together.
Along with the tent, SWW leaders also set up an art exhibit, which included several beautiful, high-quality paintings. Many people stopped to look at them, and the young Christians talked with them about the biblical themes depicted in the artwork. After discussing the paintings, some people asked for prayer and were even open to praying out loud with the young believers! Many people who received copies of the New Testament could not hold back their tears of gratitude and joy. We estimate that about 10,000 people were touched by God’s love through this strategic outreach event!
Natalia and her 13-year-old son Vlad used to live in a small town called Kirovsk in the Lugansk region in eastern Ukraine, but after the war began, they were forced to move to Kiev. In order to survive, Natalia learned how to do manicures, which she is able to do right in her apartment. In order to attract clients, she has to keep her prices low, and she usually has to work all day just to be able to pay rent and buy food.
“A lot of the time, I would feel dead tired from all of my responsibilities,” shares Natalia. “Some days I even thought about committing suicide, but I knew that I couldn’t abandon my son. One day, Lily, one my clients who is a Christian, noticed that I seemed sad, so she asked me how I was doing. After coming to Kiev, I hadn’t really made any friends, so I started pouring my heart out to Lily. I wanted so badly to just talk to someone about everyday life, and not about manicures!
“Soon after, Lily told me about God’s Design Church, which was helping internally displaced people from eastern Ukraine. I decided to visit the church, where I was given food and clothing. The Christians also prayed with me and gave me a Bible. When I lived in Kirovsk, I had a Bible, but I almost never read it. But now, the Bible is the only book in my apartment. I have bookmarked Psalm 23, which says, ‘Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and staff, they comfort me.’ I also was led to this verse: ‘Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’
“I felt like the shadow of death that had hung over me for weeks was immediately dispelled! I reread these words, and my eyes were filled with tears of happiness. The darkness began to dissipate. When my son asked what was happening to me, I told him that I knew we weren’t alone, because there is a God who cares for us. Now, I often read the Bible with him.
“A while later, I repented and committed my life to Christ, and now I am preparing to be baptized. My life is still not easy, but now I have a light that leads me. The church gave me a Bible, this Bible opened my heart to God, and God has given me life.”