Russia (MNN) — In an article by ABC News, Russia is being proclaimed as one of the biggest threats to the United State’s cyber security. So it’s hard to believe that in a country like Russia, with the power to hack others’ private information, there are still people who have never heard the Word of God.
Working through Slavic Gospel Association, God is revealing Himself to those who’ve never heard His name. Eric Mock with SGA recently traveled to Yakutsk, Russia, as part of a new program taking root.
“Yakutsk is a city that is known as the coldest city on the planet. Temperatures, I have heard: as low as 70 below zero. But very often 40-50 degrees below zero in the winter,” Mock exclaims.
In fact, in this area, people are still herding reindeer. The area is very rugged and remote. It’s not hard to see why with those temperatures.”
Missionary work in this area is hard. Not simply because of the cold, but also because the only way to get into the area is by passing over snowy roads and frozen rivers during its harshest season. Why not travel in the spring or summer, you ask? Simple. Mud. It’s more difficult passing through the mud than it is over snow and ice.
But what isn’t so well known about this Russian land is it’s growing church population. While growing churches don’t seem like a big deal in the West, it is when the first church in the area was planted in 1994.
Seems great, except here’s the catch: no one leading these churches had previously received Bible training. Essentially, they’ve been on their own, trusting God to lead them–at least until recently, when these churches connected with SGA to begin Bible training.
“They appealed to us to begin Bible training up there. And a few weeks ago, by God’s grace, we were able to begin this training. The really exciting part is that it was actually being taught in two languages. It was taught in the Russian language and then in the native language,” Mock explains.
Classes taught include homiletics, that art of preaching and writing sermons, and hermeneutics, which deals with interpreting the Bible. When the men leading the local churches came for class, their faces lit up at the chance to learn how to “unpack the Word of God.”
Now, SGA and the churches in this area are gearing up for a 6-year Bible program featuring a minimum of 16 courses. The classes will train people from the art of preaching to systematic theology, all the way to Biblical counseling.
“The purpose of going up there into that region was to begin training that will occur twice a year, to equip the churches there to do the work of ministry. It’s really important that we understand that God’s purpose is in setting apart the Church, the local body of believers, to be His witnesses, to not only proclaim the Word of God, but to make disciples, that we may Glorify God,” Mock explains.
And it keeps getting better. While training is taking place in Yakutsk, there are still thousands of villages waiting to hear Jesus’ name proclaimed. Just like Yakutsk, these villages are difficult to reach because of weather and location. Still, this isn’t stopping plans to share the good news of the Gospel.
“SGA has been working with another organization who is involved in training pilots. In the days ahead, you’re going to hear us talking about how we’re going to partner together in training pilots, and missionaries, and Bible teachers to fly to these remote villages and plant churches where there has not been one single Christian present,” explains Mock.
Just imagine the beauty when a plane lands for the first time and the Gospel is proclaimed to a group of people who’ve never heard about God, Jesus, or the beautiful gift of the cross.
In the months ahead, keep an eye on SGA to learn more about what God is doing through them. In the meantime, please pray for God to continue to turn hearts towards Him, raise up churches, and enable SGA to continue to be a part of His great work.
For more questions, feel free to contact SGA through a Facebook message or by a phone call at 815-282-8900 or toll free: 800-BIBLE-50 (800-242-5350).
To learn more about SGA training, click here.
To donate to SGA, click here.