Russia (MNN) — Russia is blaming terrorists for an explosion that killed eight people and wounded more than 50 passengers on a bus in the southern city of Togliatti yesterday. According to reports, the bomb exploded as residents headed to work and school in the city known for its automobile industry.
Slavic Gospel Association's Joel Griffith says they have work all over Russia. He doesn't know of any direct impact on their ministry in the region. However, "It really provides the local churches there an opportunity to show the love and the reconciliation that can be found in Christ and presents tremendous opportunities for the Gospel."
Some officials believe the attacks may be tied to the crucial parliamentary elections that are about a month away. Similar violence has occurred prior other votes in the past. In 1999, just three months before national elections, several residential buildings in Moscow and other Russian towns exploded, killing hundreds. The government blamed militants from Chechnya, where two wars have been fought against separatist rebels.
Griffith says it's too early to tell who may be responsible. "There are between 130 and 150 different people groups, and you certainly have Muslims involved in that. The scourge of Islamic terrorism has gotten attention in Russia. It certainly doesn't help to calm tensions among these groups."
The bombing isn't expected to have any impact on SGA's Christmas ministries. The first is Immanual's Child outreach. "Churches here in North America help raise support to send over to churches in Russia to help them with their Christmas outreaches among needy children."
The second is Christmas for Orphans. "We basically raise funds to send over so church workers can go minister the love of Christ in local orphanages."
According to Griffith, funding is needed for both of these outreaches. He's also asking for prayer. "Just pray that the Lord would open many hearts and not just with children, but also their adult caregivers."