Russia (MNN) — Today marks the final day of celebrations for Eastern Orthodox Christmas. MNN has reported that many believers in Russia and other Slavic countries use this time for evangelism.
In fact, several Slavic Gospel Association partners have been reaching people in the Russian Far East with the news of Jesus. Eric Mock says, “We had a prayer alert for a team that was heading out to an orphanage. Their car slid off the road and got stuck. And it was 40 degrees below zero outside. Some local believers had to come and bring them to their home.”
Wooly mammoths once roamed this land, and as the permafrost gradually thaws, many have been found with meals still in their stomachs. In fact, many people have begun harvesting the tusks of these long-dead creatures. Read more here.
But extreme cold isn’t the only obstacle in these regions. Mock says many inhabitants live in very remote areas. “Far East Russia, landmass wise, is about the size of the United States with only about 5% of the population. So there are these vast geographic areas, and to the North is a landmass the size of India, which is known as Yakutia. So when we are up there teaching and training, we’re talking to the ethnic people, the Sakha people. There are five or six different groups of them.”
In these frozen, remote areas, many people still practice very ancient pagan religious practices. Mock says, “It’s this idea of worshipping the trees and the fish and the water and the stars. Often, the matriarch of the village is the head shaman and they will have a necromancer. They will call up the dead, they will call up the demons to get council for direction in these villages. And now you’ve got the Gospel going in through Christ over COVID.”
SGA’s Christ over COVID program allows them to help local churches get food and other necessary items to people in need during the pandemic. Click here to learn more.
These villages suffer from a lack of education as well. Thankfully, as digital technology improves, this part of the country has grown more connected to other areas. Mock says, “Putin, as I understand it, has run fiber optic lines all the way out to Far East Russia, so the capacity is growing to reach them. But a lot of these peoples live in very close-knit tribal communities, and some are poorly educated. The suicide rate and the alcoholism rate is so much higher.”
As Christians minister to these impoverished communities, ask God to strengthen them. Pray the Gospel will break the chains of these pagan religions that have enslaved people for so long.
The header photo shows a traditional Sakha dance. (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons, Public Domain)