Belarus (MNN) — Religious freedom is taking a backseat to the government in Belarus. According to a recent report, the government closed a worship service in Minsk because a foreign pastor preached at a worship service. Pastor Boris Grisenko, a Ukrainian, was also fined.
Vice President of Russian Ministries Sergey Rakhuba says Belarus is a difficult area in which to work. "They try to limit evangelical activity only to their churches. Basically, the church body cannot do anything outside the church walls."
Rakhuba says that's the purpose of their School Without Walls program. They train nationals to do the work so they don't have to rely on foreigners. "We work to equip the national church. We are training the next generation believers. We don't want the authorities to associate the evangelical church with any western activity." That can cause government leaders to scrutinize local churches.
Rakhuba says Russian Ministries is strategically positioned to meet this training demand. "We have Belarusians already trained. They are 100-percent in charge of the program, and they train others in other regions. It doesn't attract any authorities who would try to stop it."
The training Russian Ministries provides is empowering young church leaders to be creative in outreach. "Even despite all the difficult situations, the young people find a way to continue to reach the communities. And they do it on behalf of their churches," Rakhuba says.
Rakhuba says summer camps are a part of the culture, and young Christian leaders are taking advantage of that. "They would call it a sports camp, a creative camp, or an English camp. But at the same time, everybody knows these young people are believers and on behalf of their churches they continue reaching out." Many young people are coming to Christ.
With the growing need to disciple and train these new believers, funding is the biggest need right now. It goes toward purchasing resources for the training and providing scholarships for the camp ministry.