Russian ministries launches outreach to frozen Siberian Arctic

( [email protected] ) Mar 17, 2004 03:19 AM EST

A team of local evangelical Christians traveled to a remote area of Siberia in January as part of the ministry's "Risen Indeed" outreach. Today the church has 60 members and about 15 other regular attendees.

The Yamal region of the Russian arctic is so remote that its translated name literally means, "the end of the earth." Sergey Rakhuba, vice president of Russian Ministries, together with Rakhuba's team ministered to the city of Salekhard that sits on the edge of the Arctic Circle. They were based at a newly planted church near the 65-year-old ruins of the local Gulag office where tens of thousands of Christians suffered during Stalin's reign.

The goal of the expedition is clear: to proclaim the gospel to people who had never before heard of Christ, and by God’s grace the team has there been much success. Newly planted churches in the area continue to grow and reach out to northern ethnic groups such as the nomadic Khanty and Nentsi tribes, despite financial struggles and the bitter cold.

Although natives in the area cling to pagan and animistic practices, as villagers hear the gospel for the first time, many openly give their lives to Christ. "Now they know that Jesus, the Son of God, paid their debts," Rakhuba said. "To be the first to tell these people about the only true God was a deep and wonderful privilege."