Evangelistic bike expedition under way

By May 18, 2007

Russia (MNN/SGA) — Bicyclists from evangelical churches
across Russia set out on an historic 9,000-mile evangelistic journey Sunday,
May 13. The transcontinental Gospel
Expedition
began in the northeast coastal city of Varel and will
eventually cross Europe and go through Russia to the Pacific coast
city of Vladivostok.


Slavic Gospel Association
will be assisting the expedition.
SGA's Joel Griffith says, "SGA's role is going to be assisting the
Expedition by providing Bibles, books, and Russian-language evangelistic
literature to be handed out over the course of the outreach. SGA will
also be helping with rental of venues for evangelistic events when
necessary."

According to Griffith, the four touring teams have a long
schedule ahead of them. "The UECB bicycling evangelical teams are planning
on passing through 89 towns. They'll be holding 117 evangelistic-planned events in
places ranging from town squares to concert grounds, community centers, and
churches."

Covering the great distance will be four sequential teams
involving musicians, evangelists, counselors, journalists, and Sunday School
workers.

One of the four teams will be led by prominent Russian
champion bicyclist Vladimir Skovpen, who won the Soviet National Championship
in 1980 only to give up competition for the sake of the Gospel.

The teams plan to bicycle from the Atlantic to the Pacific,
where water taken from the Atlantic Ocean will be poured into the Pacific to
symbolize the union of East and West. Rev. Kartavenko says there will be a huge
variety of outreaches taking place.

There will be preaching by evangelists from all over Russia,
with concerts by choirs and musical groups. Educational and other cultural activities
will be held in big regional centers when possible. Public figures and
sportsmen will be invited to take part as the cyclists show their skills and
testify of the healthy way of life in God. As this is the official "Year of the
Child" in Russia, this expedition can have a vast impact on young
people as they see other youth participating and joyfully sharing their faith
in Christ.

Such expeditions have been a popular missionary program with
evangelical churches, especially because of their appeal to youth. Past smaller-scale bicycle expeditions have helped draw attention to the Gospel. They have
also resulted in changed attitudes toward Russian Baptist churches and more open
doors for dialogue with Russian authorities. SGA president Dr. Robert Provost
says he is thankful for this opportunity to serve Bible-preaching churches as
they reach their people for Christ.

While many believe large evangelistic events don't work
anymore, Griffith says, "Russia is a vast country with a huge amount of
towns, cities, and villages that have never had evangelism in that sort of scale. It's going to be quite a new thing to a lot of these cities, towns, and
villages to have something like this passing through town. I really think
the potential here is untapped."

Follow their progress by clicking on the link above.

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