Story number 1 for 7 Dec 1999

By December 7, 1999

We begin today in Russia where the military has issued an ultimatum telling all Chechens to leave Grozny within five days or face an artillery bombardment. The Russian government guarantees safety to those who evacuate by December 11th. Open Doors’ Mike Yoder says since the border was sealed, they’ve heard nothing from the Christians who were trapped in Chechnya. “With five days, and no possibility of outsiders being allowed in this area, [we] have no way to help those few Christians that are left behind inside Grozny, inside Chechnya-one of the best things we can do is pray for them, that God will sustain them, and that they can join this exodus of terrified refugees and get over the border to safety.” Yoder says the church’s testimony is borne out in years of oppression: “An increasing time of persecution, or pressure, even the intensity of an operation that causes the church to be totally scattered, often is something that God will use to basically spread the Kingdom. God has not given up on Chechnya, and it’s not impossible that somehow they can return and it could be an unprecedented opportunity for the church.”

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