Attack on church leaves Christians wondering in Russia

By January 9, 2008

Russia (MNN) — A previously-unknown youth movement has attacked a church in Kaluga, Russia, which is southwest of Moscow. Many Christians are wondering if this was an isolated incident or a sign of things to come.

According to the Slavic Legal Center, an organization that defends the rights of minority Christians in Russia, a watchman at a Baptist church noticed a group of youths scoping out the building and asked them to leave. A short time later, he heard the sound of breaking glass, but he was too frightened to investigate. Bottles and pellet guns were used in the vandalism.

A pastor told the Legal Center that this is not the first time the church has been targeted by vandals, but the note attached to one of the bottles was unprecedented. It read: "We are not happy to see you here and ask that you leave our city. If you refuse, we will help you to leave… Get out of here, you pitiful American lackeys of Satan."

That same night, a Pentecostal church nearby was vandalized. The culprits left a note claiming to represent the pro-Kremlin youth group "Nashi," which in the past has issued strong "anti-sect" statements. According to the Legal Center's earlier reporting, "anti-sect" leaflets were circulated around the city in recent weeks.

Russian Ministries Moscow Regional Director Paul Tokarchuk says, "I think this is a growing trend in Russia. We already have many cases in many other places in the country."

Tokarchuck says this incident has affectd their work. "The pastor was a Russian Ministries Missionary. And also, the church was the home of a 'School Without Walls' training program. Up to 45 students are going through the seminars."

He continues: "We'll not stop. We will carry on, and we will continue doing seminars like School Without Walls to bring more young leaders to reach this next generation."

MNN's Greg Yoder is traveling with Russian Ministries this week to help with their Russian Christmas outreach called, "Greatest Gift Exchange – Project of Hope." Thousands of young people around Russia will be receiving gifts along with copies of God's Word during Christmas, which in Russia is January 7.

Pray that God would move in the hearts of young people. Pray that there would be incredible "Paul like" conversions for the youth who are attacking churches across the country.

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