Russia (MNN) — Open Doors reports that Beslan, Russia is mourning today on the anniversary of the school siege in 2004.
In 2004, armed Chechen separatists stormed a school and held hostages in the gym for three days. The incident ended with 331 hostages killed, 186 of them children.
Four of those children belonged to Pastor Taimuraz Totiev and two more to Totiev's brother Sergey, both pastors at Beslan Baptist Church.
In Beslan, almost everyone is related, making the emotional toll even greater. Nearly everyone was affected. An Open Doors co-worker said the Beslan people look "as if they've been crippled spiritually."
"The events in 2004 have alienated them from ordinary life. The parents of the children who died during the siege attend the cemetery at least once a week; some almost
seem to be living there."
While it is reported from a Christian leader in the area that people are ready and open to the Gospel, there are few Christian workers there. The leader is encouraging Christians from Central Asia to get involved in outreach, offering encouragement and the wisdom of the Gospel.
Open Doors is offering Scripture and other literature, as well as audio visual materials.
Tensions between ethnic groups are not completely gone. Some Christian leaders observe that when they ask for prayer, inter-ethnic tensions rise. They believe and fear that a conflict may have a disastrous outcome.