Outreach News -
"Reach Russia Now"
& Aviation Ministries
In 2016 the Russian Parliament launched an Anti-Missionary Law, severely limiting the preaching of the Gospel. It marks the beginning of a new era of serious oppression of the churches that Christ has been building in Russia.
SGA was there to support underground believers during the Soviet era, and once again will do everything possible to reach Far East Russia with the Gospel – before it’s too late.
To this end, the SGA board has adopted an exciting new burst of evangelism - Reach Russia Now
This is a unique and unprecedented opportunity with a major threat hanging over it. It is imperative to do as much as possible in the time available before the door closes once again.
05 February 2018
"Unlikely Pioneers" of the Far East
Valery felt that after his wedding he should
take the Gospel to his place of origin - Yakutsk
It was 1983 in Communist Russia... young Valery, who originated from Yakutsk, asked Valentina to be his wife.
Ever since his conversion 3 years earlier, Valery had carried a burden – that he must take the light of truth to his own people. People that were in spiritual darkness; influenced by animism and atheism and without Biblical truth. So when Valery proposed to Valentina, she agreed that after the wedding, they would go wherever God would lead them.
Valery wanted to be sure that his plans to go to Yakutsk were really God’s will and not his own. So the two of them tore strips of paper, wrote the names of places they wanted to go on each strip, folded them up tight and tossed them in a can. Valery asked for God’s guidance, shook the can and pulled out a name – “Yakutsk!” he pronounced! Valentina was shocked, and said, “What! Let me try!” She put the name back in the can, did a better job of mixing up the papers and drew one out – “Yakutsk!”
Seeing their calling confirmed, they got married and moved to a small village on the outskirts of Yakutsk. It seemed like the middle of nowhere. Their efforts to evangelise were mostly unsuccessful as the people’s hearts were hard. By 1986, there was little fruit and they were discouraged. Yet they held on to their calling, remembering the little slips of paper.
Suddenly in 1991, the USSR collapsed and many Russians became spiritual seekers. By God’s grace, 5 women came to faith and were baptised that year! A new church was born! Valery and Valentina began to travel as far as 1,000km away, taking the Gospel from village to village.
Ludmilla, Vasily, Galina (L-R) and Stas (not pictured)
planted churches across Yakutia using
an old rundown car
It was 1993 when Galina and Stas came to faith through Valery and Valentina’s ministry. Galina had been in an abusive marriage and her husband had left her with three children. She became an alcoholic and her life was falling apart. Stas was a 15-year-old boy. Both of them became very zealous for the Lord after their conversion.
Galina started witnessing to her friend Ludmilla who was in a difficult marriage and on top of that, terribly sick. Her husband beat and neglected her so badly she literally despaired of life itself. In 1994 Ludmilla responded to Galina’s invitation to attend a Christian meeting - a hard decision, as Ludmilla had been brought up as a pro-communist atheist. But God moved in her heart that day and she was so overwhelmed she posted flyers all over her home town! Another new church was thus established, and who was the preacher every week? 16-year-old Stas!
In 1998 another new convert, Vasily, took over the role of pastor at Ludmilla’s church and Stas became the leader of a new church-planting ministry. Having bought an old bomb of a car, the team of four started travelling far and wide. Ludmilla, Vasily, Stas and Galina brought the message of Jesus Christ to dozens of villages across Yakutia. Every day they went to needy families with food and the Gospel.
Today, 24 churches that were planted by these ‘unlikely pioneers’ extend all the way to the transpolar regions where they still herd reindeer! Stas is now 40 and he leads the association of churches. With missions aviation now being available due to changes in airspace regulations, SGA established Reach Russia Now to help these churches complete the mission - for the task remains unfinished. Hundreds of villages and orphanages that were inaccessible by road can now be given the Good News of Jesus Christ through aviation.
However time is short. Anti-missionary laws were introduced in 2016 and are becoming more strictly enforced. Taking the Gospel to unreached villages is prohibited. But SGA, Kingdom Air Corps, local churches, missionaries and pilots continue to witness despite the ungodly legislation. They know it’s imperative to do what God requires of them before the window of evangelism closes again.
02 February 2018
New Planes for Far East Russia
Dwayne King (center) was thankful for
the Lord's provision of 5 planes
Missions aviation in Far East Russia has been highly successful in reaching out and ministering to the many different villages in the Khabarovsk region. Now that 3 planes are registered and ministry expanding into Siberia, Russian Baptist Churches are increasingly embracing the need and use of missions aviation in the spread of the Gospel.
In consultation with Kingdom Air Corps’ director, Dwayne King, Russian pastors recently identified 12 regions that would benefit by having missionary aviation bases. They have been praying that God will provide the aircraft and pilots to do this work, and praise God, planes have already been donated. “When 1 plane is donated, we get excited,” said Dwayne. “When 2 planes are donated, we really think that God is good. But what can one think when 5 planes are donated in 6 months? It is then that we know that God is at work for the good of His Kingdom, and the spread of the Gospel! God has more work to be done and there are more planes that need to go.”
The excitement for what missions aviation could accomplish in Far East Russia is tempered with the reality check of the religious climate in Russia. A law was passed in 2016 banning “proselytisation” or efforts at conversion outside of registered church buildings. In the face of fines and prison, these missionary-pilots are committed to seeing the work of evangelism continue, no matter the cost.
Please pray for these men who are faithfully serving God in the face of condemnation by authorities. Slavic Gospel Association (International) has offered to provide 12 missionary pilots with salaries as part of our Reach Russia Now evangelistic campaign. Financial contributions to support pilots can be directed to our Reach Russia Now fund.
16 January 2018
Avel & Olesya: Riches to Rags for the Gospel
Avel & Olesya Took Their Family to Khabarovsk
From Eric Mock, SGA Ministry Operations
One day, Avel and Olesya Dolohov received a call from Pastor Benjamin Levtsenuk. He needed a missionary couple to come out to a small city in the Khabarovsk region, revitalize the church, and use it as a home base to reach the surrounding villages. Pereyaslovka is a town of about 7,000 people, and a small evangelical church had been there. A church building was built in 1999, but problems arose and eventually, the church was left with no congregation and no pastor. Avel and Olesya had a nice home, a comfortable life, and a good ministry in Russia’s Ryazan region. Pastor Benjamin gave them no promise of income, nor assurance of a decent place to live.
But that didn’t matter. In obedience to what they saw as the call of God on their lives, they and their children packed what they could into a small sedan,
Avel and Olesya gave away everything else, and made their way driving across Siberia to the Far East. Arriving at the ramshackle church building in which they would now live, Avel picked up a job clearing trees from the land, and started his ministry. This would prove to be no easy assignment. As is common across rural Russia, many in this region see the Baptist church as a cult, and not from their traditions. Yet, with 10 adults and 12 children, and the even their children now reaching other children through their witness, the church is growing!
As a side note, missionary pastor Avel graduated in 2005 from SGA’s Strategic Bible Institute in Ryazan, and was proud to show me the diploma he earned and has treasured ever since! Please pray for Avel and Olesya, and for the faithful missionary pastors laboring for Christ in the Far East, remembering that they are serving in difficult and often pagan villages. Pray for the Gospel to go forth in this last Gospel frontier—the frontier of Far East Russia!
04 October 2017
Anti-Missionary-Law: One Year Later
This is an abridged version:
Full Article (617KB)
Since the Anti-Missionary-Laws (also known as the Yarovaya Package) were introduced a year ago, over 180 cases were brought before the courts, resulting in 138 convictions under the ‘Anti-Terrorism’ legislation. Formal charges began sporadically, but have been gathering pace.
It is clear upon review, that most of those targeted under ‘Anti-Terrorism’ legislation are little threat to public safety but rather threaten the traditions of the Russian Orthodox Church. Roman Lunkin of the Russian UECB (Union of Evangelical Churches - Baptists) points this out... “The criminalisation of religious life in Russia, takes place gradually as the Yarovaya Law is implemented to regulate missionary activities. The law is applied selectively to certain groups of believers who do not fall under the status of ‘traditional’, but at the same time, cannot be accurately termed as ‘extremists’”.
Now others are recognising this fact, including the Human Rights Council of Russia. Mr Lunkin explained, “[Even] the Human Rights Council of the Russian Federation identified Protestant Churches as the main victims of the Yarovaya Law - of all religious organisations.”
We ask you to pray earnestly for the situation in Russia. Pastors, missionaries and lay people all need your support as they feel the grip tightening around them. The time to share the Gospel in Russia is apparently closing. Now is the time to invest in the Kingdom work of bringing the message of salvation-by-faith to as many Russians as possible.
“For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.”Acts 13:47
05 August 2017
New Aviation Ministry Takes Off
This dear elderly missionary lady prayed for years
June 25th 2017... “SGA/USA, this is Yakutia in Far East Russia. The ‘Skylane’ has landed. I repeat, the ‘Skylane’ has landed!” This was indeed exciting news!
Back in 1992, a sister with an evangelistic heart began to share the Gospel in villages in Far East Russia, extending as far as Provyeda. She witnessed and distributed Bibles, but the distances to cover were overwhelmingly great. One night she dreamed of an air craft - one that would carry missionaries to these remote villages. Then she, along with the new believers began to earnestly pray......
Just a few years ago, a man named Dwayne King came to survey Far East Russia – looking for an area suitable to base planes for missionary aviation. While he was there, he visited various groups of believers, and they all told him how they had been praying for years for a plane to carry missionaries! Much planning, preparation and paperwork began to take place.
Finally in 2017, as this dear lady stood by with over 100 Sakha believers, her prayers were answered as Dwayne landed his newly restored ‘Cessna Skylane’ in a grassy field next to her! This plane is now stationed in Provyeda, and a young missionary-pilot will be transporting pastors, lay leaders, Bibles, Christian literature and supplies to many waiting villages. The Gospel is going forth! Join with us in praising God for this amazing day! Much prayer much power!
24 June 2017
Reach Russia Now Quick Update
Orphans Reborn ministries have been launched at seven orphanages and new missionary pastors have been engaged to work in nine locations. We are trying to raise their support.
08 August 2016
Shipment of Planes Arrives
The shipping container with the planes has arrived safely. Russian born Kostya Rudoy (left) has been instrumental in overseeing the delivery and registration of the planes
Far East Russia can be a very difficult place for ministry, with remote towns and villages only accessible by air. In June we shared the story of Michael Tsvirenko and his family as they head up the aviation ministry across Far-East Russia. We praise the Lord that the planes have arrived safely and will be used to take the Gospel into these remote regions.
Please continue to pray for the financial support needed for missionary pilot Michael, his wife Irina and their children so that they can be in Khabarovsk for the beginning of school in September. These faithful workers are needed to reach the people who have yet to hear of Christ’s love.
01 June 2016
Giving Wings to the Gospel
Michael and Irina Tsvirenko
are going to Far East Russia
Far East Russia is approximately two thirds the size of Australia. This vast territory has several larger cities, but there are hundreds of remote villages which are reachable only by small aircraft. Since the fall of the Soviet Union missionaries have come and a few churches have been planted in the cities. However, the area is gripped by Animism and Shamanism and many villages remain unreached with the Gospel.
Too many people remain in hopelessness - with no answers. There has been an effort to reach some villages, but the lack of roads has made this almost impossible. Frozen rivers are often used as roadways, but the unpredictable harsh weather makes this very slow and extremely dangerous. As a result, many villages still have not heard the Good News of our Lord and Saviour.
Since 2011, Russian airspace rules have changed so that small planes can now be used to reach the remote villages. Even before this was possible, God has been preparing workers for the harvest to take the Good News of Jesus to these regions, and He has prepared a young local brother, Kostya Rudoy, who is responsible for developing this aviation-based ministry.
God has supplied an aircraft through Kingdom Air Corps that is already being used, and much work has gone into reaching remote areas. But there is still much more that can be done! Missionaries must be trained and equipped for proclaiming the Gospel, and they must be trained to fly a small aircraft. This requires dedication and preparation.
Kingdom Air Corps is partnering with SGA
The Lord has led a young couple – Michael and Irina Tsvirenko into this exciting ministry. “The Lord has providentially allowed us to be born into a Russian-speaking family. He gave me an interest in aviation, which led to a career in aircraft maintenance and training as a pilot. In time, God drew me into ministry at a local church. I taught the Bible to high school students, then studied at The Master’s Seminary and graduated with a Master of Divinity degree.
"I have continued to develop my skills in aviation, and as I considered various needs and opportunities, God opened up a field of ministry where I could use my gift of Russian language, culture and skills as a pilot. We are now ready to come alongside the churches in Far East Russia and assist with reaching people in remote regions – flying the Gospel to the last unreached frontier of Russia!”
Michael, Irina and their daughters Jane and Elizabeth are moving to Russia. They plan to stay for as long as there is a need that they can meet in this unique way. “We desire to serve Him, but we need the prayers and partnership of God’s people for this ministry with SGA in Far East Russia.”
SGA is trying to get them to Khabarovsk before school starts on September 1st. We believe our Lord is going to raise up a Gospel Air Force led by Michael.Two more airplanes are packed to be shipped in a container and there are 20 more airplanes waiting in Alaska. Our partner in Alaska is bringing Russian brothers over and training them to be pilots. How exciting is this? Thousands of remote villages have waited too long to hear the Gospel. Their time is coming soon!