Germany (MNN) — As the G8 Summit began this week, many were concerned about Russian President Vladimir Putin's comments about the United States intentions of placing a missile defense system in Poland. Putin claimed Russia would be forced to point its missiles at Europe, which could restart the arms race. However, President Putin provided an alternative at the G8 Summit when the two leaders met yesterday.
This most recent saber rattling has concerned Christians in Russia because it comes on the heels of restrictions in religious freedom and democracy in that country. Vice President of Russian Ministries Sergey Rakhuba says many of the G8 leaders are concerned. "Everyone who is around the table will raise this issue with President Putin. And we still have lots of concerns about freedom for ministry and freedom for democracy in Russia."
Recent government controls on the media and changes in religion laws compound those concerns.
However, Rakhuba believes the only answer to the changing landscape in Russia is to train the Next Generation. They're doing that through their "Schools without Walls" program in training young Christian leaders. "I don't see any other alternative or any other answers to what's happening there. To train national leaders for the church of tomorrow, we have to reach the youth of today."
Rakhuba says they're training the best and the brightest — those who are already leaders in their communities. "Currently we have 'Schools without Walls' in 44 different locations. We have a little over 2,200 students, and then right after classes they go back to their churches and implement what they've just learned, helping the church to continue reaching out to their communities and continue to grow despite any political and economic developments."
According to Rakhuba, this isn't about training pastors. It's about being "effective Christians, or effective missionaries in their daily lives. They will become tomorrow's politicians, city leaders, and businessmen that also would represent the Christian community. But also at the same time, they will spread the Gospel."
Russian Ministries needs your help to expand "Schools without Walls" during this time of uncertainty. "It costs roughly $300 a year to train one young person, to provide them with needed materials, books and so on, and also to connect them with working programs."