England (MNN) — It's been 20 years since the Berlin Wall came down. This event marked the beginning of the collapse of the oppressive Soviet Union. The fall of the Iron Curtain signaled the opening of religious freedom giving unprecedented opportunities for ministries to share the Gospel.
However, much has changed in 20 years. Religious freedom hangs in the balance in many of the former Soviet bloc countries. Many wonder how these changes will affect outreach for western missionaries who are called to this part of the world.
Vice President for Russian Ministries Sergey Rakhuba says that's why organizations need to begin talking about the future.
Rakhuba says, "There are lots of things to discuss. There are lots of things to analyze. And, there are still great opportunities in the future that we would like to emphasis and create synergy to continue spreading the Gospel in that part of the world."
Last year, Russian Ministries held a forum of national church leaders in the region. On October 29, Russian Ministries and Biblica Europe (formerly International Bible Society/Send the Light) will host the Forum on New Mission Paradigms In the Countries of the Former Soviet Union.
Rakhuba says this conference in London, England is a bit different. "This meeting is mostly for expatriate leaders of mission groups, NGO's, mission pastors so that people can come together and analyze their strategy and investment in terms of ministry to the former Soviet Union."
At the same time, they want to celebrate the progress they've made over those 20 years.
While many organizations flocked into the former Soviet Union 20 years ago, Rakhuba says that's not happening now. It's not because of lack of interest. "People simply do see the opportunity today, but the need is greater than ever before in Russia and the former Soviet Union simply because there is a new generation arising."
Rakhuba says the forum will be led by authorities on region including President of the Russian Baptist Uion Yuri Sipko, president o f the Baptist Union of Moldova Valery Giletsky, and others.
The forum will be held October 29-30, 2009 at the St. James Church in London. The cost is $320 (usd), 200 Pounds Sterling, which includes lunch and dinner, however it doesn't cover hotel expenses.
For information on the event call Jean Zatulovsky at (630) 462-1739 (usa), Graham Sopp at (+44) 0207-193-9470 (uk), or Rachel Schupack (+380) 93-983-7139 (fsu).