NRB Strategic Partnership Prayer Newsletter
The joy of meeting and hearing the heart of Christian broadcasters from across Russia and other former Soviet countries makes this trip even more exciting. More on that in a moment.
We have heard from Russia that the climate for evangelical Christians is changing. Some say the window of opportunity for proclaiming the Gospel of Christ is beginning to close. That’s part of what we wanted to find out as NRB President Dr. Frank Wright and I travelled to Moscow in September. What is the evangelical church sensing? Are they seeing…feeling these changes? Or is it just the enigmatic Russia being Russia?
Not quite a generation has passed since the wall came down, the Soviet Union collapsed, and doors began to open. You don’t have to hunt for those who experienced the harshoppression of the Soviet state and its impact on the church. Many of the dedicated believers can tell you of churches being torn down or taken away, and the believers intimidated to worship secretly in homes or even in the woods.
It would be hard to imagine that things could revert back to that in Russia. However, some say a plan is underway to diminish the work of evangelical ministries, if not stop the work altogether. Churches, Christian-based ministries, Christian broadcasting, all feeling the pressure.
At the meeting of the Association of Christian Broadcasters, where NRB President Dr. Frank Wright and I spoke, several talked about what they sensed…what they were experiencing. One young man told me his father was a pastor, and that in the Communist years he had been arrested for preaching the Gospel. This young man looked at me and said solemnly, “We are ready to take our church underground if we have to.”
Some organizations operating in Russia have had to withdraw due to pressure and funding. But I sensed a resolve among the broadcasters I met from Russia and the Baltic countries. I didn’t hear discussions about what to do if they are stopped from airing the Gospel. I heard strategies on how to acquire licenses…how to program effectively…and broadcasters prodding others to a higher standard of excellence.
In the midst of the meeting I was to deliver a message. And for the past few weeks God had focused my mind on one verse. I was uncomfortable with the message because it directly challenged a group of Christian broadcasters who were already challenged. And it would be delivered by one who, in a few days would get on a plane and fly home, away from the growing pressure these broadcasters would be facing. However, it was the message God gave, and I needed to be faithful.
In the face of intimidation and persecution for proclaiming the Gospel, what should we do as servants of Christ? Do we waiver? Do we turn away? Do we shrink back? God clearly says we are to walk in faith.
As I talked to the Russian Christian broadcasters, sharing this verse, I was able to tell them of others like them in critical places around the world, who are not “shrinking back”. Whether the pressure comes from religious groups like Muslims, or Orthodox, or whether it is from the government or the culture in general, faithful servants are walking in faith for the salvation of souls.
Since delivering that message I have had to examine my own life and testimony. Do I shrink back? At the Moscow conference Dr. Wright spoke of self-censorship that occurs when we think we may offend someone with the Gospel. There are pastors who avoid certain parts of the Bible because it might cause a ripple. Shrinking back. There are Christians who fail to share with others the hope we have in Christ because we are afraid of what others might think of us. Shrinking back.
I am grateful for these Christians in Russia and Baltic countries. No one knows what the coming months and years ahead may hold. No one knows what kinds of challenges they will face. No one knows if churches will be shut down and Christian broadcasters silenced. But I get a sense that there are those who will not shrink back, but will walk in faith, following God’s direction, proclaiming His Truth, bringing life and light to the darkness. We are not of those who shrink back…but of those who have faith in a faithful God.
Prayer Requests and Praise Reports
Here are some specific prayer needs:
• Pray for the instructors as they prepare their seminars and workshops, that God would direct them to speak to just what is needed by the Christian media workers in attendance.
• The funds needed to purchase equipment and get the station on the air in the next few months. About $75,000 is needed.
It amazes me how God supplies just what we need when we need it. While I would like to see large donations come into the ministry so we could quickly dispense the funds to various ministries as the need arises, it hasn’t happened that way. Yet, like with ELION Media, God is meeting needs according to His plan through His people.
If you are moved by some of the ministry needs we mention in these newsletters, we can work with you on any financial support you would like to supply. Monthly gifts or one-time donations can be made to National Religious Broadcasters and marked for a specific ministry or country. Or, general gifts can be given for the administrative costs of our NRB Partnership ministry, or to be applied wherever the need is greatest. NRB is a 501 (c) 3 organization, and can supply you with the appropriate receipts for tax purposes. You may send contributions to:
God is at work…and we are not of those who shrink back, but of those who walk in faith for the salvation of souls.
Ronald L. Harris, DD