Belarus in sanctions fight with U.S.

By March 11, 2008

Belarus (MNN) — Sanctions
imposed on Belarus by the United States prompted a flurry of diplomatic
jockeying between ambassadors.  

The United States said Ambassador
Karen Stewart will remain in Minsk for the foreseeable future. There were
concerns though, that with the hostilities brewing, Americans could face trouble in the

Global Aid Network's Charles
Debter confirms that their team just wrapped up a project in the Chernobyl
area. "The reports that we're
getting from the team is that they're having open opportunities to minister in
places in Belarus, and they've not received any hostilities during their time

Belarus has a strict religion law,
and enforcement could bring trouble for missionaries. However, "Our teams
are there visiting as tourists, and they are there as humanitarian aid
providers. So we have an open door." 

GAiN USA has
a long history in the region, too. The
agency was among the first Western ministries to travel into Belarus after the
fall of communism in the early 1990s to address the physical and spiritual

As a result,
their reputation is that of compassionate care in meeting the physical needs of
many hurting Belarusians, and they continue to see many lives transformed by Jesus

The current
team just returned home over the weekend from Minsk. They also worked in the "Breakout City" of Gomel,
where physical help and spiritual hope are critically needed. The
group conducted church support outreach in the form of humanitarian aid to orphanages
and hospital.

There's another team slated for a
visit in July. However, as relations sour, Debter says the situation could
change at any time. "We don't know
that that's going to close. We hope that because we're bringing humanitarian
help, as well as the good news of Christ, that we will have opportunities to
continue to do so in Belarus."


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