Belarusian singing group shares Gospel through music and testimonies

By November 27, 2009

USA (MNN) — “Salvation” is coming to America.

The Belarusian band, Spasenie, whose name translates in English to “Salvation,” is spending two and a half months touring across the U.S.

Their concerts will be in celebration of two decades of ministry, to build relationships with churches across the nation and gather the last resources needed for the construction of a community center.

While in Colorado, they stopped at Greater Europe Mission for a concert and to share a little bit about how they got started.

Formed in the late 80s, Spasenie first got its start when Pavel Shelpuk, Igor Mukha and Peter Semeniuk met with lyrist Alexander Borisiuk at a bible study. Informal praise and worship led to opportunities to perform in factories, at colleges and even on TV.

“With borrowed equipment and a mandate from God, Spasienie’s ministry began,” a press release stated.

“When they started at the beginning of perestroika, when communism just finished and the Soviet Union dissolved, the laws in all of those countries, they were all very loose and changing. And during that time, these guys saw there was a tremendous open door for the gospel,” said Mike Choby, a new member of the band joining them this fall to play bass.

Over the next 20 years, the band began performing in Belarus and across the Russian speaking world. Using their concerts and testimonies to form relationships, Choby said they also helped plant numerous churches.

In fact, the church they planted in their home town of Brest 13 years ago has grown to 600 members and has helped plant numerous other churches.

“The work that started 20 years ago has had to change to fit the changing laws in the former Soviet Republics,” Choby said. “What they’ve chosen to do is just reach out in the cultural way with their concerts and then partner with churches to do follow up in those regions to bring people deeper in, especially where it’s very sensitive [to] open evangelism.”

Specifically in their ministry today, they are targeting the youth of Europe who are searching for something to put their hope in.

“Right now, they’ve just seen that there’s a hunger, just like here, in the young people for something meaningful, and music is a great way to speak about deeper things,” Choby said.

One of the ways they will be reaching out to these youth in the future is through a community center they have been working on for the past 10 years.

Choby said the center is scheduled to open in 2010, and the government recently gave them permission to open the building as soon as it is finished and use it as an outreach building.

Once opened, they hope to have some sort of activity taking place there every day, such as sports leagues and clinics and a music academy. Through the academy, young people will have the opportunity to learn about contemporary music, as well as hear the more important message of the hope Christ brings.

As they travel across America, Spasenie will be collecting funds to finish the center. They are also asking for old, unused instruments to take back with them to use at the music academy.

With this tour, in addition to adding Choby from Chicago to their band, Dima Haladko will be joining them playing guitar.

As rules begin to tighten up across Europe, and Christians in America start to meet opposition, one of their main messages is this: “When you are in broken places, this is when you see God in His real strength,” Choby said. “Those who have hope in God don’t just survive, but they have real hope.”

Please pray for Spasenie as they conclude their tour. Pray for churches in America to receive them with open arms and hear the message they have to deliver. Pray also for them to raise the needed funds and collected as many instruments as possible.

Finally, pray for the group’s families back in Belarus. And pray for the churches they have planted to continue to grow and remain bold in their faith.

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