Andrey Kravtsev in Russia

Dear Friends,

Thank you for praying with us this week for Dr. Andrey Kravtsev in Russia.

Over one-eighth of our planet’s inhabited land mass belongs to Russia, the world’s largest country by area. Spanning Eastern Europe and Northern Asia, Russia has an estimated population of 144 million people. Slavic and Byzantine influenced have shaped Russia for over a millennium, since the adoption of Orthodox Christianity in 988 CE. Today, approximately 73% of Russians are Christians (71% Eastern Orthodox), 15% are religiously unaffiliated, and 10% are Muslims. In recent years, state encroachments on religious freedom have especially alarmed Russian Evangelicals, a marginalized group representing less than 1% of the population.

Originally from Ukraine, Andrey came to Christ in 1991, during the tumultuous last days of the Soviet Union. He later moved to Russia, where he taught and served as Rector of the North Caucasus Bible Institute for over a decade. ScholarLeaders supported Andrey for his PhD in Intercultural Studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (USA).    
Andrey currently serves as Professor of Missiology at Moscow Theological Seminary and North Caucasus Bible Institute. In addition, he works with the Superintendent of the Russian Baptist Union to train missionaries for the North Caucasus region. Andrey is also President of Intercultural Connections, an NGO that mobilizes new Gospel workers for the least reached areas of Russia. Andrey and his wife Albina have three children: Illiya, Nickolay, and Anna.   
Andrey shares the following message:

Greetings from Russia.
Just like the rest of the world, our country is going through challenging times. The COVID situation has not yet reached its peak, but we don’t really know its scale because the government typically doesn’t tell us the truth. As a result, many Russians feed on rumors or simply ignore the threat as some sort of world conspiracy. 
The government announced a month of paid vacation for most jobs. This puts small businesses in a very difficult situation, since they must pay salaries while making no profit. It is estimated that about 40% of small businesses won’t be able to survive the crisis and will have to close over the next several months. 
The economic situation is exacerbated by decreasing oil prices, since Russia mostly depends on income from raw oil and natural gas exports. It is said that in Moscow alone, about one million people may lose their jobs in the near future.
The good news is that many churches and individual believers these days have become actively involved in volunteer organizations that provide care for the lonely, sick, and elderly. We see that the pandemic is making many people more open to the gospel, as they are groping for hope in this time of uncertainty. This gives the Church fresh opportunities to share its message in both word and deed. 
Please pray for the Church in Russia: 
1. To retain sound, biblical understanding of their situation, rejecting extreme world-denying or self-absorbed “signs of the end times” interpretations of current events.
2. To use opportunities to serve their neighbors and side with positive efforts by authorities to overcome the crisis.
3. To share both their financial resources and the word of the gospel with those in need.
4. To be protected from social ostracism and violence. Recently, two Evangelical churches experienced arson attempts after the state TV announced that Baptists are responsible for spreading coronavirus in the Bryansk region of the country. 
5. To learn afresh the depth of personal relationships with the Lord and the value of small fellowships in a time when traditional, large church worship services are not available.
It has become a common thing to say the world is not going to be the same after the pandemic. Let us pray that the Church will come out of the crisis with fresh vision and strength to fulfill its mission in whatever circumstance we may find ourselves tomorrow. 
Andrey Kravtsev 

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