Beslan Churches impact region with message of peace and reconciliation

By July 26, 2006

Russia (MNN) — With the death of Russia’s most wanted terrorist, many across Russia are feeling a sense of relief. On July 10, 2006, Chechen warlord and separatist leader Shamil Basayev was killed when a dynamite-filled truck in his convoy exploded. Investigations are ongoing.

Meanwhile, evangelical churches in the war-torn Caucasus region are urging calm and prayers for peace. Slavic Gospel Association’s Joel Griffith says that there has been reaction from around the world regarding Basayev’s death. “When you look at the comments from political leaders there, (they) had expressed a lot of thankfulness because this man was responsible for some of Russia’s most notorious terrorist incidents, including the attack on the Beslan school, that took place in September of 2004.”

While the pain and loss of the Beslan attack hit many believers directly, today, they do not hold a spirit of revenge. Instead, the churches have been ministering to others impacted by this tragedy, says Griffith. “They brought their grief to the Lord, and they take the Scripture that says, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord,’ very seriously. And they’re focusing and have been focusing since that terrorist attack of 2004, they’ve been focusing on preaching the peace and reconciliation of the Gospel. And they’ve had quite an impact there.”

Griffith says that the Caucasus region has been torn by war for a long time, and believers have been faithfully display Christ to those around them. “The Chechen conflict has raged since 1994. And just in their own quiet, humble way, the churches there are showing the love of Christ, and people notice. The families notice that these people are different and they want to know what’s causing that difference, what’s making that difference. And it’s quite a ministry opportunity for them.”

Basayev’s death does not guarantee an end to the conflict, says Griffith, “But it certainly will energize the efforts of the churches to plant new congregations and just evangelize in general as the Lord grants them the opportunity. But I think you’ll probably see a renewed effort to really, really focus on getting the Gospel into some of these hard to reach areas, although they would certainly do that, I think, discreetly and try not to call a whole lot of attention to it.”

Around the world where there’s unrest and terrorism or whenever there’s any sort of a major catastrophe, Griffith says that Christians are making a difference. “We get word from various places that Christians are on the ground there, largely unheralded by the news media, but they’re just reaching one life at a time, one person at a time, having quite an impact just because of the love of Christ that they’re showing in these regions. And I think certainly that applies to Russia as well.”

Continue to pray for believers in the Caucasus seeking to spread the message of the peace of Christ.

Leave a Reply