State funeral for Russian leader; outreach marks changes.

By April 25, 2007

Russia
(MNN) — An elaborate state funeral today marks the end of an era of the
flamboyant former Russian President Boris Yeltsin. Yeltsin died Monday of a heart attack at age
76. 

He will be buried at Moscow's
historic Novodevichy cemetery following a memorial service in the golden-domed
Christ the Saviour Cathedral. A Kremlin
spokesperson says a national day of mourning follows, and President Vladimir
Putin has postponed his annual State of the Nation speech until Thursday.

State honors aside, Yeltsin was most noted for his role in
the fall of Communism and the dissolution of the former Soviet
Union. His main drive
during his time in office was toward democracy and capitalism. 

Yet, Russian Ministries' Anita Deyneka says under his
hand-picked successor, Vladimir Putin, many of those hard-fought liberties are
falling away. Yeltsin's surprise
handover of power in 1999 to Putin set that stage.

Putin, an ex-KGB officer, restored national pride but has
restricted political freedoms. "I think the direction is concerning. This is not the Communist situation of
repression and persecution, but we're talking about a trend, and I think also
about the great importance of national leadership of the church."  

The critical need for evangelistic growth is answered in the
labor force. "Pray that there will
be young national leaders, next generation leaders. This is the time for the
rise of the next generation of Christian leaders so critical for the future of
the country and the church."

Sergey Rakhuba, vice-president of ministries for Russian
Ministries, notes, "Many of our national workers enjoy good
relationships with local city officials as they see our 'School Without Walls'
and other programs as great sources of help to their communities. Our work with
orphans and other needy children, especially through our summer camp ministry,
has been well-received in cities and villages throughout the former Soviet Union."

Pray that national Christians will be winsome in their
witness for Christ. 

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