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Persecuted Russian ChristiansThe Bible was translated into the modern Russian language only in 1876.  Just as it was beginning to gain wide distribution, the Communists came to power in 1917 and unleashed a period of severe and sustained persecution against Christians in the country.  Baptist Christians who did not compromise with the Soviet authorities had to go underground and had to pay a heavy price in persecution.

For much of the 20th century, Christians in Russia experienced one of the most severe religious persecution in modern history.  From the turn of the century, tens of thousands of believers were martyred.  In the last quarter of the century alone, the total number of years spent by Baptist Christians in prisons equaled to more than 5,000 years.  Hundreds of pastors and lay people were held in prisons away from their families and churches.  The persecuted church in the Soviet Union paid a high price for keeping the candle of the Christian witness burning in the darkness of Soviet atheism.

As the Soviet Union disintegrated, the door for the preaching of the Gospel became open.  The victory was won, but so little was done to uphold those, who had suffered the most, to win their fellow countrymen for the Lord.  This is what Russian Evangelistic Ministries has been attempting to do since 1993.  What we have witnessed over this period has been truly unprecedented: we have seen conversions and the planting of new churches among ethnic groups that until now were entirely unrepresented in the church.  

At the same time, this work faces new challenges.  Most recently, new barriers to the Gospel have arisen in the form of (1) foreign support from countries like Saudi Arabia for the spread of Islam, (2) collaborations on the part of the Russian Orthodox Church and the government to put restrictions on evangelistic activities, and (3) the revival of animist practices.  Today, the newly planted churches among ethnic minorities are just beginning to take shape, and there is a great need for further discipleship and training.  Numerous other ethnic groups are yet to be reached with the Gospel.  Please pray for these people groups and support the native missionaries who are ministering among them!