Russia (MNN) — When you think of countries that need missionaries, is your first thought Russia? For many in the west, Russia is far from the focal point of Christian missions.
Many ministries, however, continue to recognize the extreme need for the Gospel that exists in Russia just like everywhere else in the world.
SEND International is one organization that has a ministry focused on Russia. And now, they’re telling you how you can get involved.
John Wicker of SEND Russia spoke with us on the background of their ministry there, as well as a new video project they have recently finished. He says, “SEND International has been working in Russia for over 20 years now–working with the churches there, helping them to reach the people across Russia.”
These years of ministry have continued to open their eyes to the needs of the country. God has been working in and through the SEND team in Russia. Wicker explains their most recent project: “We just felt a real burden to do a more concerted effort reaching out to those unreached people groups and those different cultures. As a part of letting people know about that, we asked the media team from SEND International to come with us and just capture on video some of what is happening there, trying to raise people’s awareness.”
For those less informed about Russia, the country is often misunderstood to be a land of little diversity. However, these videos called “Reaching Russia Together” are brief yet intriguing, and they attempt to correct that view.
“Although communism made a lot of things the same across Russia–the buildings, the way cities are set up, there are many different diverse ethnic groups across Russia, and most people are not aware of that.”
The series of videos share a bit of the richness to be found in the country, as well as information the work being done. “In the videos, we tried to capture glimpses of the different cultures across Russia, and to show just a glimpse of what some of our ministries are doing to reach out to those different people groups.”
As the 2014 Winter Olympics approach, the world is focused on Russia. SEND is one of many groups that is hoping to utilize this opportunity to raise awareness. “We’re hoping to make use of the fact that people’s eyes are on Russia at this time. That wasn’t the main reason that we released them at this time,” Wicker says, “but we’re certainly hoping to ride any wave that is happening.”
Wicker clarifies that the work they do in Russia is not led by them–at least not long-term. He says, “Our main goal has been to come alongside the church that exists in Russia and help them as they reach out. Sometimes it’s coming alongside with ideas, brainstorming with them of ways to reach out.”
Their ministry is about support and equipping, and fostering a native leadership.
One of the videos focuses on a facility that has been under construction for years. SEND hopes to finish that project in the next couple of years so that the building can act as a place to hold camps that will share the Gospel. Instead of limiting this opportunity to summer, the completion of the building will allow for a longer camp season. This is just one area where SEND needs help to continue their ministry of support in Russia. They are in need of resources.
Wicker reports that in places like these camps, native leadership is growing, which has been their goal from the beginning.
There are many simple steps you can take to help out SEND as they teach the world about the depth of culture in Russia, as well as for the great need for the Gospel.
First of all, watch the videos. If you are inspired by them, share them on your social media pages. Ask your church if they can be shown to the congregation or in Sunday schools. The goal of these videos is to get people thinking and praying about Russia.
That is the next thing you can help with. Pray that SEND’s ministry would continue to flourish, and that they will eventually reach every people group of Russia with the Gospel.
For those that enjoy missions trips, Wicker says, “We are looking for people…. We’re forming teams to reach out to more unreached people groups, so if people feel called to come to Russia to work alongside us, they’ll find on our website how to get started on that journey.”
If you would like to support with financial gifts, click here for more information.
The plans for Russia are big, but with God, they are attainable to carry out.
“We’re just really excited about what God is doing. We’re looking forward to seeing more and more of the unreached people groups in Russia come to hear the Gospel and to see a church established in those unreached people groups.”