CUMMING — Andrew Ryzhkov grew up behind the Iron Curtain where his pastor father, Peter, and mother, Valentina, faced government persecution during the 1970s and 80s. In 1989 Andrew was admitted into the Music Conservatory despite his religious affiliation. Those who welcomed him into the Conservatory said, “You have to deny God and join the Communist Party; then, you will have a great future.”
Andrew responded, “God will provide an education for me and give me a great future.”
Because of Andrew’s faithfulness God permitted him to receive an education in architecture and construction. He donated three years of labor constructing a Baptist church in Bobrusk, Belarus. He also built a three-story missionary house, which he donated to the ministry.
In 1995 the Ryzhkovs came to Georgia where Andrew studied at Toccoa Falls Bible College, earning two degrees and subsequently started a Russian church in Snellville. He is currently planting a church in Alpharetta. In 2000 Andrew and Inna founded the Byeorussian Mission, Inc., which has helped hundreds of orphans find their homes and to start many new churches throughout Eastern Europe.
King commented, “Twelve years ago I was working in New York City. A prominent Russian translator (who happened to be a Baptist) walked into my office and handed me a copy of the Russian translation of Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God.”
Filling a great need
“The translation he handed to me had been prepared by someone with a license in Israel,” King added. “He began to explain to me the great need for a new translation. He described to me the significant deficiencies of the existing translation. I realized we needed a new translation. Since that time many people have told me the same thing.
“Last November, I met Andrew Ryzhkov, founder of the Byelorussian Mission. He began working with a group of translators to complete a new translation of Experiencing God in Russian. His desire has been to publish a new translation for pastors and churches in Belarus. Pastors and leaders have been thorough in their editing and evaluation of the translation and now it is ready to go to press.
“I am thrilled at the prospect of finally having an accurate and acceptable translation for Russian-speaking believers around the world. Here in the United States, Russian-born immigrants represent 2.9 million people (the second largest foreign-born ethnic people group in the U.S.
“Worldwide there are over 150 million people with Russian as their first language with another 110 million with Russian as a second language.”
The big picture
Ryzhkov urges an understanding of the mission’s overall scope for reaching Belarus and Israel. The Byelorussian Mission’s partnership with the Louisiana Baptist Convention strives to plant 50 churches in 50 cities with no evangelical church. This fall, another partnership with New Orleans Seminary will train pastors and church planters in seven regions of Belarus.
“Our close cooperation with the Baptist Union of Belarus will help us unite and ignite revival in unreached communities [encompassing] 10 million in population, set strategically between western Europe, Russia, and an unstable Ukraine,” he said.
Next year Belarus celebrates 500 years of the Bible, marking the start of the Reformation in 1517, Ryzhkov added. “There is a great hunger of young people to read Good and Evil, an illustrated Bible we’ve been distributing in public schools and universities.” He pointed out that 20,000 copies had been handed out, with another 100,000 copies needed for next year.
Ready to go to press
Phillip Davidson, who works with the Baptist churches in Belarus, stated, “In thinking of the new translation of Experiencing God, I’m glad that we will have a quality version to use here. I heard from others here that the older version wasn’t a good translation. We are thankful for you and how you desire to make an impact here through training and discipleship.”
King added, “The Lord has provided financial resources from many people to fund this translation and the required graphic design work. Now the Byelorussian Mission is ready to go to press so they will have copies to train pastors with this message in September. They are hoping to print 5,000 copies to keep the printing cost per copy as low as possible. Individuals and churches interested in investing in this ‘Experiencing God Project’ to touch Belarus with the Experiencing God message can make donations online at: www.byelorussianmission.org or by mailing checks to:
Byelorussian Mission, Inc.
7530 Campground Road
Cumming, GA 30040
Donations should include a notation for the “Experiencing God Project.”