Eight young girls in a small war-torn town in Abkhazia are gathering weekly to hear about God’s love. During a youth camp in the same area, a group of 20 Muslim teenagers were in tears after learning the story of creation, sin, and redemption through Jesus. Through Discovery Bible studies in North Caucasus, a region of more than five million people who have never heard about Jesus, many people are reading the Bible for the first time. The many ethnic groups in this part of Russia are predominantly Muslim. There are very few churches.
“To become a Christian is seen as a betrayal to Islam, and to their family and people group,” explained the team leader of OM in the region, “yet it is amazing to see the openings God is giving.”
OM is sending fifty new workers to start small groups and house churches, provide practical help and encourage new believers in the North-Caucasus to grow in their relationship with God. Many come as professionals who share the gospel in their workplace. Some start a small business such as cleaning or car repairs, while others apply for existing jobs, for instance as teachers, medical personnel or IT specialists.
OM’s intensive mission training prepares workers to creatively share the love of God with people from other beliefs and backgrounds, and how to start and run a small business to help sustain themselves. Many continue long term. “The churches and groups who receive the workers really appreciate their help,” said the team leader.
However, it is a constant financial struggle for those who run their own business. “Financial success is never guaranteed,” shared the OM leader, “but working with your own business provides a lot of freedom to share about God.”