Gospel update in the land of reindeer

By November 28, 2016

Russia (MNN) – The Slavic Gospel Association’s aviation ministry has taken flight with the Gospel in the land of reindeer, far east Russia.

Far East Russia

(Map courtesy SGA)

(Map courtesy SGA)

Yet, in this Russian region people are nearly completely cut-off from the outside world. These people live in temperatures severely below freezing. In fact, because of how secluded these people are, one of the only ways SGA can reach them is through aviation.

Thankfully, God is raising up Russian national missionaries with a heart for both sharing the Gospel and flying. SGA’s Eric Mock explains,

“We are really excited as through this program, not only will churches be planted in small cities among these villages, but there will be aircraft there who can then fly out from these small cities to reach villages, taking youth as well as missionaries, who will help reach these villages through day camps, through Bible studies, through one-on-one personal evangelism.”

Some of these villages where SGA is flying have actually never before heard the Gospel. In fact, in one village Mock visited earlier this year, out of the 600 families there, only one was Christian. Mock says SGA is trying to help reach villages like this and encourage the Christian families within them, as well as to see the Gospel go forth.

And for SGA, even if only one person hears the Gospel and comes to saving faith, it’s worth it to help nationalists reach out to far east Russia through aviation. Here’s the catch, though.

Villages in Need

“It is not necessarily that we need to send more Western missionaries, but we need to be involved in serving the churches that God has raised up in those regions,” Mock explains. “In cities such as Khabarovsk, national pastors, and churches there are trained up to preach and teach the Gospel. They have young missionaries who are ready to go out.”

SGA is trying to help send these same pastors and missionaries to their secluded country people. In some of these pagan villages, there is a head shaman who is essentially in charge of the community.

It is the belief that the head shaman can summon up the dead and talk to spirits for guidance. In fact, the entire village usually at some point has a mass honoring to the gods of nature, such as throwing shots of vodka in the river for the river gods.

On top of facing isolation from the world, these villages are rather poor and neglected. Mock has heard stories from a missionary aviation pilot about the despair some people feel in these villages. There have been numerous teenagers who have shared thoughts of self-harm including suicide, and also the hopelessness they feel at the potential of having no future in their villages.

(Photo courtesy Adam Reeder via Flicker) Aviation sunset.

(Photo courtesy Adam Reeder via Flicker) Aviation sunset.

Yet, it is these kinds of stories which emphasizes just how important it is for SGA to be helping national missionaries minister to their own countrymen. As part of this help, SGA is launching its new initiative, “Reach Russia Now.

Ways to help include supporting national missionaries, giving a gift to SGA’s general “Reach Russia Now,” prayer, and more! How? By utilizing the ministries SGA already has set up such as Immanuel’s Child or even its training ministries.

“So we’re bringing all aspects of SGA to bear in helping the churches advance the Gospel,” Mock shares. “The time is so short, and the window especially with the new Russian Anti-Missionary law, is closing. There are different challenges that are going on and we need to move quickly to get the Gospel to these people.”

Will You Pray?

So if you would, pray for open doors and open hearts in these remote villages where SGA is serving. Pray also for the people’s protection in this harsh climate and for the resources to support this ministry. Most of all, please pray for the Gospel’s work in all parts of Russia.

Want to support SGA’s church planting ministry? Click here!

Find out more about SGA’s aviation ministry for church planting here!

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