Why? After seven decades as a republic of the USSR, Belarus attained its independence in 1991. It has retained closer political and economic ties to Russia than have any of the other former Soviet republics. Belarus and Russia signed a treaty on a two-state union on December 8, 1999 envisioning greater political and economic integration.
Just a few years ago, all foreign missionaries and Christian workers were deported. A Christian leadership vacuum took place within a few days. Resilient believers took charge and began to rise up in positions of leadership within the body of Christ to fill the voids left by these new ministry vacancies.
Growing stronger each year, the Belarusian church has learned to be agile, nimble, and creative in their ministry outreach.
What is the need for Global Advance? Even though there have been great steps forward, there is another leadership chasm that is taking place. Two pressing issues are facing the Belarusian church straight in the eyes:
1. There is a great generation gap between the father (senior) leaders and the emerging leaders.
2. Because of the persecution/harassment from the government, many Belarusian pastors have taken the opportunity to apply for refugee status within the USA and other nations. Some leaders felt that the deportations were a precursor for more intense pressure to be coming in the days and years ahead.
Global Advance loves to embrace God-given opportunities that require critical response in the right time.
Global Advance team members felt that this was a critical time to go, encourage, equip, and minister to the existing leaders. While in Belarus, the team was able to minister and train more than 140 leaders in three cities. It is their hope that the ongoing relationship with the leaders in Belarus will continue to provide clear opportunities not only to bear fruit, but also to insure that the existing fruit remains.
Despite the political tension in this region of the world, God continues to work and open doors for training leaders for the Great Commission.
Pray for the churches and leaders that they will stand strong in the face of opposition. Pray that Global Advance will continue to make an impact for the gospel.