Asia Mission Report: Iraq and Russia

Jan 07, 2003 12:38 PM EST

Iraq -- The threat of war has sparked rallying cries in neighboring Islamic countries, and raised the specter of continued anti-US terrorism. Voice of the Martyrs' Todd Nettleton says the connection is dangerous for missionaries because: "Saddam Hussein has already tried to paint this as a war of Christians attacking Muslims. I think if war does come, you will hear that theme repeatedly, 'this is the Christians attacking the Muslims', and really, a call to arms among the Muslim world to fight back, to defend Islam."

Nettleton says even as the threat of war escalates, believers see it as a time for reaching out with the hope of the Gospel. "When times are uncertain, when there is a battle raging, people are thinking about things of eternity, they are thinking about things of a spiritual nature. That can be a time of great ministry and a time of great outreach for Christians."

Russia -- Reaching lost students in Siberia is turning an evangelistic corner. Mission Network News' Greg Yoder is there. "Peter, Eric and Kara Coe have served Campus Crusade For Christ in Irkutsk for the better part of five years. Coe says the Jesus Film Project has played a key part in their evangelistic outreach.

"Here in Siberia, there are over 50 unreached people groups that still live within the borders of Russia. We also have Mongolians. We have Turkish students. We have Chinese students. To be able to share with them the Gospel in their own language, they can see and hear the words of Christ."

Coe says former students are now joining the team in Irkutsk, which will make evangelism more successful. "Having Russians has made a world of difference in our ministry. It's given us examples as foreigners of things that will work and things that won't work. And, has really let us know much better what our target audience needs to hear in order to fully understand the Gospel." Greg Yoder, Mission Network News, Irkutsk, Russia."

The Bridge International looks to this New Year to continue their goal of linking God's people to reach the unreached with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. One challenge for this next year is to make an impact in the Kurilskaya Islands, which are located in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Russia and North east of Japan. One island bears a sign that reads, "Here is the end of the world". The Bridge plans to introduce the Gospel to as many of the 62 islands that they can.

By Albert H. Lee