Violence in Russian hits near missionary family

By September 2, 2004

Russia (MNN) — Chechen rebels are responsible for the latest string of violence in Russia where and it’s hitting close to missionary families. Last week they claimed responsibility for the downing of two passenger planes leaving Moscow. Tuesday, a suicide bomber blew herself up outside a Moscow subway station, killing 10 people. And, yesterday, More than a dozen attackers carrying guns and reportedly wrapped in suicide-bomb belts seize an elementary taking hundreds of people hostage near Chechnya.

HCJB World Radio’s Mark Irwin lives just two subway stations away from the explosion in northern Moscow. “Most of the terror acts in Moscow in the last two years have occurred in the general vicinity of where we have lived. So, yeah, this is a concern. I fly out of the airport where the two airplanes fell recently, so that’s also a big concern to us.”

Irwin says as this kind of violence spreads through Russia, many are looking for spiritual things and that’s why HCJB World Radio is looking to expand Christian radio in the region. “We’re doing everything we can to develop the local Christian broadcasting infrastructure. That includes training people. It includes developing studios so that people will have the equipment with which to make their own radio programs.” They’re also helping to develop and sustain a satellite network that distributes Christian programming throughout Russia. The end goal is to establish more local Christian radio stations, which number less than 15.

The Russian people know troubling times well and Irwin believes Russians are open to hearing the Gospel. “This is an opportunity for us in Christian radio to deal with to deal with life’s real issues. I mean, when things come down to things such as terrorism, I think people look for answers to life’s real questions, but we’re trusting in the Lord and even more reason why we need to develop Christian radio in this country so that people will know the hope that’s only be found in Jesus.”

The needs are great — volunteers to help train radio broadcasters, funding for studios and equipment and prayer warriors to keep the ministry before the Lord.

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