CUMMING, Ga. — Andrew Ryzhkov and his wife, Inna, planted a Russian-speaking church in Snellville and are currently serving Calvary Russian Church, a thriving congregation they started from a humble beginning in Alpharetta over 20 years ago.
Ryzhkov explained, “The church is doing great. The members are mostly young families under 40; and we have over 100 children. The church building is completely full for our worship services. We have three pastors and five deacons. We are having a family outreach camp on Labor Day weekend and plan to baptize another six young people. We also have many Ukraine refugees attending the church and some of them are hearing the Gospel for the first time.”
The Ryzhkovs are from Belarus, a landlocked country in Eastern Europe. Belarus is bordered by Russia to the east and northeast and Ukraine to the south. While Belarus has supported the Russian invasion of Ukraine, more than 20,000 refugees from the war-torn country have sought sanctuary in Belarus.
Despite the tension and volatility present in Eastern Europe, Ryzhkov continues to minister to the people of his native land. In 2000, the Ryzhkovs also founded the Byelorussian Mission, Inc. which has helped hundreds of orphans to find their homes and start many new churches throughout Eastern Europe.
Ryzkhov declared, “Belarus young people are experiencing a great revival due to over 13 years of a strong emphasis on our illustrated Bible distribution in the public schools, universities, and daycare communities in almost 50 cities.
“During the 12 weeks of this summer alone we held 84 camps where 15,800 students were exposed to the Gospel. There were approximately 4,200 decisions for Christ. By the end of the year, we will be able to distribute 40,000 Bibles and other discipleship materials throughout the country.
“We are now in the process of constructing seven churches and camps through Belarus. We have rescued 585 children from orphanages and placed them into loving Christian homes where they will be connected with local churches and taught how to live for Christ. Our ministry produces 40,000 Bibles and helpful Christian literature each year. We also lead volunteer mission teams on trips to Poland, Belarus and Israel for training conferences and ministry endeavors.”
Ryzkov continuously expresses gratitude that even though the political climate in Eastern Europe is unstable and unpredictable, that his ministry has continued to have an open door to distribute Christian literature, build churches and worship the Lord.
He explained, “We are very careful about expressing our political views and refrain from being engaged in any political activity. With that being the case, the government officials see that our Byelorussian Mission Ministry has a positive influence on the country’s citizens and the local communities we serve.
If Georgia Baptist churches want to participate in the work Andrew and Inna Ryzhkov are doing in Eastern Europe there are ways to help. The influx of Ukrainian refugees moving into and through Belarus need food, transportation, clothing, documents restoration and Bibles. One of the special appeals is for the resources to print 700,000 Bibles for Belarus, Ukraine, Russian and the thousands of refugees moving through Eastern Europe.
For additional information about the scope of the Byelorussian Mission Ministry go to: byelorussianmission.org
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