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:
A group of School Without Walls students were in a church in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia earlier this summer, preparing for a missions trip to Mongolia to serve in a summer Bible camp. As they were working, a drunk man, who was around 30 years old, walked in, and asked to talk to one of the young women. “I was scared, as there were only a few of us in the church, however I sat down with him nearby and he started to pour out his life story. He shared that, having tried all of the pleasures that life has to offer he was unable to fill the emptiness in his heart.”
“Disillusioned, he decided to hang himself, but before killing himself he wanted to go on one last drinking binge. On his way home he got into a fight with his companions, and they kicked him out of their car right in front of our church. He shared with me that his whole life he’d felt a longing for God, but had never made an attempt to approach God because he felt undeserving.
“I was lost for words. I prayed to God for wisdom, and told him that even though he is a sinner, God loves him very much and that he should ask Jesus for forgiveness, because Jesus died that he might live. I offered to teach him to pray. He couldn’t believe that he had a right to address God directly. He got to down on his knees and said three words, ‘Jesus, forgive me.’ Then I prayed, and he cried. When I opened my eyes, he was smiling. He said that everything was different – the world was brighter and more beautiful. He immediately sobered up. He asked if there was somewhere he could go wash up. We gave him a Bible, and called friends from his town to find out where the nearest church is for him to attend. And we were left happy and grateful to God for this miraculous repentance. God showed us once again that He wants to use us for His work, and that all we need to do is to be ready.”
- 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.
Today is known as Knowledge Day in Russia, Ukraine, and other countries of the former Soviet Union. It marks the end of summer and the beginning of the new school year. The 15,800 children impacted by our summer Bible camps ministry are returning to school today across Eurasia. And now is the perfect time to continue watering the seeds of faith that were planted in many young hearts by our Next Generation leaders at summer Bible camps.
This summer, our leaders were amazed at the hunger for God’s Word that so many children demonstrated at camp. Countless young lives were transformed by the power of Scripture as they encountered first-hand the love of God through the pages of His Word. For many of them, it was their first encounter with the message of Jesus.
And today, the window of opportunity is open to continue ministering to these children—and thousands more children across Eurasia who have yet to hear or respond to the gospel—with the transformative power of God’s Word. Our Next Generation leaders are distributing specially designed children’s Bibles to kids in their schools, orphanages, hospitals, community centers, and neighborhoods. The impact of these Bibles is infinite, as these children share their Bibles and the lessons they’ve learned with friends, families, teachers, and neighbors.
It costs just $5 to print a beautiful children’s Bible, designed to be culturally relevant and translated to be easy-to-understand for young readers. These special Bibles are personally placed in the hands of thousands of children by our School Without Walls (SWW) students and graduates. The cost of each Bible is small, but its impact is priceless.
Here are just a few of the many testimonies of young lives transformed through the reading of God’s Word:
Alex* from Russia
After receiving a children’s Bible at summer camp, Alex was so intrigued by this new book that he started reading it at every chance he got—even during lunch breaks. When the SWW students noticed that he wasn’t eating and brought him food, he held the book in one hand so he could keep reading while he ate! Our camp leaders were so touched by Alex’s dedication to God’s Word, they told us he was a living example of the verse, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4, ESV).
Katya* from Azerbaijan
From our SWW leader Stephanie*:
Nine-year-old Katya came from a very poor family, and it was obvious that she had already faced many hardships in her young life. The first day of camp she was quiet and withdrawn and didn’t interact with any of the other children. But after receiving a haircut and a fun hairstyle from one of the camp leaders, she was all smiles. And after starting to read her Bible, she began to open up. During Bible class, she asked the most questions. She was very bold, and it was clear that she was very seriously considering the lessons she was learning from the Bible. When we read the gospel narrative about Jesus’ resurrection, Katya became so excited. She immediately wanted to go and tell all of the other children in camp about this good news! During the rest of camp, we watched as she treated the other children with kindness and jumped in to support kids who were feeling shy. At the end of camp, she told us that she wanted to become a Christian and help others to know the love of Jesus.
It only costs $5 to print a life-changing children’s Bible—like the ones that touched Alex’s and Katya’s lives so profoundly. Consider providing a Bible today for our Next Generation leaders to place in the hands of precious children throughout Eurasia.
*Note: all names in this post have been changed
Last year, God called several young Next Generation Christian leaders to organize a summer Bible camp to share the gospel with unreached children in Israel, in partnership with Living Israel, a messianic church and ministry committed to sharing God’s love with Israel’s Russian-speaking population. These young leaders knew that many children in Israel are unreached by the gospel and in danger of getting caught up in crime or substance abuse, and they wanted to create a setting for them to experience the love of Jesus and the care of godly role models. And so, the idea for a summer Bible camp was born. We weren’t sure whether or not the campwould bear immediate fruit–but we took a step in faith, trusting that God had a plan and that He would be faithful. And by the end of that first week of camp, it was clear that God was working powerfully in the hearts of many children. In fact, they loved the camp so much that they could hardly wait for this year’s camp to start!
This year’s camp was designed to reach young people ages 6-17 and provide them with a safe, structured environment in which to make friends, eat nourishing food, participate in fun activities, and learn about Jesus. The camp takes place Monday-Friday, and it will continue until the end of August. Each day begins with a Bible lesson, and the older children are encouraged to share their reactions and responses to the Bible lesson with the rest of the group. We also provide an opportunity each day for the kids to share prayer requests and pray with one another, which has encouraged them to continue talking with God on a daily basis. The kids also get lots of fun opportunities to unleash their creative sides through crafts, games, poetry writing, arts, and other activities. But most importantly, throughout each week of camp, our young campers see the faith of Next Generation Christian leaders on display and experience the love of Jesus through the love and care of the camp mentors.
One of our camp leaders shared how she was touched by the sight of several young girls coming to know Christ through camp:
“We thank God for transforming the hearts of young people right before our eyes! Several of the girls who attended our camp this year had never heard the gospel message. And as they learned more about God and prayed for their friends at camp, they were moved to confess their sins and accept Christ! Praise God for this miracle.”
This summer, our Next Generation Christian leaders have been reaching thousands of children throughout Eurasia and Israel who are in desperate need of the gospel message of hope and transformation. And as they faithfully minister to these precious young people, another generation of vibrant Christian leaders will soon be flourishing throughout Eurasia, Israel, and beyond.
Give to support the training and equipping of young Next Generation leaders in Eurasia and Israel who are impacting their nations for Christ:
In July, a group of Next Generation leaders from ShareWord Global in Canada made a trip to Moldova to join our team of School Without Walls (SWW) graduates as they visited 12 summer camps to distribute Bibles, lead fun activities, and share the gospel with more than 1,000 youth. Over the course of the week, the team placed 2,000 Russian and Romanian New Testaments in the hands of young men and women at camp—planting seeds of faith that will grow for many years to come.
We are so grateful for our friends from ShareWord Global who raised their own funds for the trip, provided materials for games and activities, and jumped right into the action as we led the kids in singing, games, Bible lessons, and sports. No one sat on the sidelines—everyone was an enthusiastic participant!
Evgeniya Laki, one of our SWW graduates in Moldova, shares the stories of people whom God placed in her path to experience the love of Jesus through the loving care of Christian witnesses:
We met Valeriya in a small village on the first day of our trip. She had found out about the camp through her grandmother, who attended a local church. We hosted a special party for the girls of that village, where we did makeup, hairdos, manicures, and shared a lesson about how they are precious and valuable in the eyes of God. I noticed that Valeriya’s eyes lit up, and she stood up straight and started smiling. When I came up to talk to her, Valeriya told me that she hadn’t wanted to come to camp at first because she didn’t think we had anything interesting to offer her. But then she said that we had helped her feel beautiful and precious—and she asked us to come back next year!
The Village of Dakhnovich
On the fourth day of the trip, we visited a small village called Dakhnovich. There was only one Christian woman in the village, who told us she had moved there after her elderly parents passed away, and she was now caring for their house. When she moved to the village three years ago, she was very disappointed to find out that there were no other Christians living there. There wasn’t even a Christian radio signal. And so she started to pray. Every night at 10 pm, a friend from another town would call her and and they would pray together on the phone for a missionary to come and work with the people of Dakhnovich. This woman even set aside part of her house for a missionary to live in! She told us that our visit was an answer to her prayers: “The Lord Himself made this day for you to come visit us!”
On the last day of the trip we came to a camp for mute and hearing-impaired children. The children played with excitement and joy. Sign language and touch were the only language they spoke, but we learned that they also spoke the language of love. When they understood that we loved them and wanted to show them God’s love, they didn’t want to let us go. We met Kristina in that camp. She was born deaf and mute; when her father realized what kind of child was born to him, he left Kristina and her mother. When she was eight years old, her mother died, and her father took her to live with his family. Her father was cruel to her and her grandmother often beat her. When she turned 16, they kicked her out of the house. A Christian organization that worked with deaf and mute people invited her to come to camp. At camp she met Jesus for the first time and received a Bible from us—along with lots of joy and hugs. That trip left an unforgettable footprint on my life. God helped me meet children that had never heard about Him before, and it was a joy to watch them receive Him. It inspired us to spread His Word even more in our country.
Praise God for the seeds of faith that have been planted in the hearts of these children through the testimony of young Next Generation leaders like Evgeniya. And a special thanks to the team from ShareWord Global who helped us impact the lives of more than 1,000 children and youth in Moldova this summer!
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.
- Praise God for successful EMPOWER summer Bible camp training events for School Without Walls (SWW) students and graduates, which we recently hosted in Belarus!
- Please pray for church growth and ministry development in Russia’s Northern Caucasus, especially in the Islam-dominated regions of Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia, and Kabardino-Balkaria.
- Pray for Denis, the director of our Next Generation Professional Leaders Initiative (NGPLI), and his wife, as she was recently diagnosed with cancer.
- Praise God for our summer Bible camps, where thousands of children in need throughout the former Soviet Union (FSU)/Eurasia are hearing the gospel for the very first time!
- Pray for our ministry workers in Mongolia, as they often experience difficulties with travel related to their various projects.
- Please pray for the nation of Russia, as its government recently passed a law prohibiting missionary and evangelistic activity in residential areas, and limiting missionaries to acting only on behalf of registered religious groups.
- Pray for Ray and Cindy LeClair, our ministry partners in Ukraine, who are helping to provide training materials for Christian teachers, including a revised version of “How to Start a Christian School” and other translated resources that they can access online.
- Pray for Reconciliation Church in Bobruisk, Belarus, as they are organizing several evangelistic events this summer, including camps, movie nights, picnics, and prayer meetings.
- Praise God that Robert, a young man from Gyumri, Armenia, and his family recently became believers at an evangelistic concert!
- Please pray that God would bless and guide our ministry workers in Mongolia as they plan new projects.
- Pray that God would continue expanding and growing SWW and NGPLI in Russia’s Northern Caucasus, as well as Transcaucasia, so that we can prepare even more young leaders to bring the gospel to these volatile regions.
- Pray for Church Without Walls (CWW) in Pinsk, Belarus, as many of the congregants are looking for work.
- Please pray for God to provide a new home for Vitaliy, our SWW coordinator in Tajikistan, and his family.
- Praise God for a very successful SWW meeting in Vladikavkaz, Russia, which encouraged the students to continue developing and expanding their ministry efforts!
- Pray for Sasha, a SWW student from Bobruisk, Belarus, who was recently called to serve in the military for a month.
- Pray for preparations for a Christian teaching course that Ray and Cindy LeClair are helping to organize in Ukraine for the fall.
- Please pray for Zhanna, a young Christian girl from Armenia, whose parents have forbidden her to attend church.
- Pray for God to be at work in the hearts of the people who visit CWW in Pinsk, Belarus so that they may come to know Christ.
- Praise God for growth and renewed unity at Spiritual Rebirth Church in Russia’s Northern Caucasus!
- Pray for preparations for two upcoming NGPLI forums in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan and St. Petersburg, Russia.
- Please pray that SWW students in Belarus would continue learning and using their spiritual gifts to serve others in their churches and communities.
- Pray for new people to visit churches in Georgia so that they may hear the Good News.
- Pray for our ministry representatives who will be presenting our work at the Maranatha Bible and Missionary Conference in Michigan on July 23-30.
- Praise God that one Christian school has already been registered under a new law in Ukraine! Please pray that more Christian schools would be able to do the same.
- Pray for the leadership of Reconciliation Church in Bobruisk, Belarus, as many members of their congregation are facing trials, particularly financial and health problems.
- Please pray that God would provide new opportunities for our SWW students in Russia’s Northern Caucasus to host preventative lectures and sports clubs at local schools, as well as expand youth ministry in the region.
- Pray for a newly formed Christian music group that one of our SWW students is leading in Armenia.
- Praise God that about half of the congregation at CWW in Pinsk, Belarus is now involved in discipleship ministry!
- Pray for God to continue blessing our ministry center in Vladikavkaz, Russia so that we can further develop and expand our ministry in the region.
- Please pray for Aram, our SWW coordinator in Armenia, as he is finishing up his graduate studies in Austria.
- Pray for preparations for two SWW conferences that we are hosting in Perm and Primorsky, Russia this fall.