Rich in beauty, history and culture, Russia is the biggest country in the world, stretching across 11 time zones and many changes in culture and climate. As OMers, we count it a huge privilege to live and work in this great country alongside many Russian teammates.
The horrors of World War II and seventy years of communism have left an indelible impression on the older generation, while social problems such as alcoholism, drug abuse, a rapidly increasing HIV rate, divorce and a growing contrast between the super-rich and desperately poor are deeply affecting the daily life of Russians today.
How to make the gospel real and Christianity relevant in the middle of all these challenges? This is a big question facing the Russian church and OM today. As OM, we partner with Russian churches in their lives, projects and outreaches, supporting them in many varied ways. Nearly half our team is made up of Russians; their fluency in both language and culture is a hugely positive influence on OM’s ministry and effectiveness.
We are now working to reach 4 different areas in the Siberia region as well as a Muslim area of Russia. This part of Siberia has many different people groups, and many religions such as Shamanism, Buddhism, Animism and some Muslims as well. The Muslim area can be divided in many “nations”, and it is probably one of the hardest parts of Russia to reach, for religious, historical and political reasons.
Ministries include evangelism and church planting among Central Asian migrants, sending Russians into missions, hosting Christian camp to reach the young generations (including disabled kids), providing a safe place for kids and teenagers at risk, drug and HIV/AIDS prevention and prison ministry.