In uncertain times, the hope of Christ is overcoming pressure on Christian ministry.

By May 11, 2006

Belarus (MNN) — The government of Belarus continues to put pressure and issue restrictions on Christians and Christian ministries in that nation.

Working throughout the region, "Jim" with Greater Europe Mission says that since the elections, there have been changes in the government that have caused problems for believers. "The government in Belarus is not a democracy. It's actually considered to be one of the last communist countries. And there are many restrictions on the church there in Belarus. Groups can't meet in smaller than 20, so home Bible study cannot come together. Pastors have been arrested as well as other Christians have been arrested for their statement of faith or for their activity in the Christian faith."

Jim continues, "Throughout the east there's a few countries that are more proactive and more open to freedom of religion, but Russia, Belarus, Azerbaijan, are still countries that persecute Christians and are making it more and more difficult for Christian workers or national Christians to do ministry in their countries."

GEM's "one2one" ministry outreach is a ministry to Belarusian victims of Chernobyl, children who are suffering with cancer or other problems related to that disaster. "One2one" brings kids from Belarus to the Capernwray Bible School in Sweden, where teams from North America join with the Belarusian kids as part of renovation projects.

The children come with hopelessness in their eyes, and leave with the light of Christ filling their hearts. Jim says their goal is to get to know the kids and show them the love of Christ. Through that, "Barriers are broken down, their eyes start to light up, and each day we see new hope coming in to these kids. And as we're able to share Christ with them, their expressions just change and their attitudes change."

Often, during the projects, kids do come to know Christ as their personal Savior.Jim says, "Those that go home not accepting Christ have now had the seeds planted, and we have heard kids coming to know Christ after the project through our follow up in Belarus."

The new political situation in Belarus is not directly impacting the "one2one" ministry so far, because GEM works with a secular humanitarian organization. But Jim says the need is in follow-up and discipleship. "The kids when they return to their hometowns or villages, oftentimes they are the only Christians in that community and again it's our responsibility and our desire to find ways to get them involved in Christian activities near them, bring them to activities in the capital, Minsk, and do whatever we can to help develop them."

In the midst of uncertainty, GEM is a beacon of hope. Jim says, "It's an exciting time to be with the kids and see these kids that sometimes have never heard of Jesus Christ or never knew they could have a personal relationship with Christ light up and just explode with new life and new happiness."

Sponsors are needed to help send Belarusian children to the "one2one" renovation projects in Sweden. If you would like to help, contact Greater Europe Mission using their information listed below.

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