Argun* is tough. He and his friend Carlos*, a businessman who moved to Russia to share Christ with Muslims, spend many nights at a martial arts club in Moscow.
And when they do, Argun doesn’t lose very often.
When he first met Carlos, Argun was very closed to the gospel, even hostile. He associated Christians with the Russian army, the ones who bombed his childhood home in Chechnya. But ever since Argun moved to Moscow, his friendship with Carlos has softened his heart. He’s reading the Bible, asking questions about Jesus, and trying to make sense of how real Christianity stacks up to the Muslim faith he grew up with. And that, Carlos says, is huge.
Where Argun is from, Islam is part of the fabric of life. Muslim groups are indigenous to the North Caucasus region of Russia, a mountainous area between the Black and Caspian Seas. Chechens live there, but also Circassians, Ingush, Dargin, Avar and Lezghi and 45 to 50 subsets of people, all with their own dialects. It’s a modern-day Babel – geographers once labeled the region “the mountain of languages.”
To say the people there are hard to reach would be an understatement.
A move of God
The plethora of languages and the lack of local believers have made Scripture translation very difficult. Many of the Caucasus people live and work in virtual isolation in their villages. It’s a lifestyle that has preserved the unique and varied cultures for centuries, but it has also kept them from hearing the name of Jesus.
But the tide is shifting – these days, many of them are moving into Russia’s megacities looking for work, reminding Russia of the historic presence of Islam within its borders. Moscow now has more Muslims than any other European city. Its newly reopened Grand Mosque can hold 10,000 worshippers.
It’s a miraculous move of God to shift them into the city and allow such unprecedented access, according to Elizabeth*, a Christian worker among Muslims in Moscow. “God says, ‘If you can’t go to them, I’ll bring them to you,’ ” she said. “There’s no better time to be in the former Soviet Union. God is moving Muslims right under our noses.”
And like Argun, many are open to friendships with Christians and, over time and through relationships, learning about Who Jesus really is. “I think he’s really questioning,” Carlos said of Argun. Those kinds of questions are what he, Elizabeth, and others serving in Russia hope and pray for daily.
- God to continue to draw Muslims in Russia to faith in Christ, and they would have dreams and visions of Jesus coupled with a desire to read the Bible.
- Christians to feel called to develop friendships with Muslims so that they would have the opportunity to share the gospel with them.
National goal: $160 million
2017 Week of Prayer for International Missions – December 3-10
2 Corinthians 5:14 (HCSB) – For Christ’s love compels us, since we have reached this conclusion: If One died for all, then all died.
Generous giving to the 2017 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering® makes a massive difference in the world. Men, women, children, and entire communities are transformed as a result of this offering. Your gifts enable thousands of missionaries to live among, serve, and share the gospel with people who have never heard it until now.
Every December since 1888, the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering has empowered Southern Baptist’s international missions work. At the beginning of this giving season, we start with a week of prayer dedicated to international missions, taking place December 3-10.
Through the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, you and your church:
• Support over 3,600 missionaries
• Enable disciples to be made and churches to be multiplied around the world
• Continue the SBC’s 172-year commitment to missions
Look for these stories and specific ways you can pray in this year’s Week of Prayer guide, as well as the accompanying videos.
• The Bagby family in Nepal hikes rough terrain to bring the gospel to unreached people and villages.
• For the Jones family in Japan, God is using the adoption of their son to open doors and hearts.
• The diverse backgrounds and skills of the Mexico City team help them serve unreached people in this global megacity.
• Often alone, the forgotten refugee needs to know he is loved by God. IMB missionaries have the opportunity to share the hope of the gospel.
• The world converges in the kitchen of the Mikeska family in London. There they encourage new believers and develop strategic friendships.
• Celebrate what God has done to draw people to Himself and continue praying for hearts open to Him.
• Boldness, clarity, joy, effectiveness, and more. This is what IMB missionaries need and why prayer matters.