Atheism left over from the cold war and a rise in Islam are no match for Jesus. Children are hearing the Good News in the Former Soviet Union—and winning their parents to the Lord, too.
The Former Soviet Union includes Russia and countries such as Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Armenia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, and Mongolia. Last year, David C Cook equipped Russian Ministries with 2 million copies of the Story of Jesus (SOJ), an evangelistic tool used in 67 nations and 41 languages. Another 2 million copies are in production for the Former Soviet Union, set to reach an additional 14 countries in this region.
This summer Russian ministries trained students from local indigenous churches to run 110 summer camps for children in 70 locations. Thousands of children were impacted. Here are three of their stories.
Azerbaijan: A 9 year-old Muslim girl playing in the park noticed a friend’s colorful Story of Jesus, and asked where she received it. She wanted one, too. So her friend ran home and brought one back and the two sat side by side in the park and read their booklets. Then the Christian girl shared why she believed in Jesus – and her Muslim friend was amazed and believed in Him too.
Every day for a week the 9 year old told her uncle that God loved him. He became irritable and tried to belittle her. She was persistent, though. He suggested she read the Koran. She said that if he finds in the Koran that Allah loves her then she will read it. The uncle began to read the Koran but didn’t find a passage about Allah loving him. She gave him the SOJ and her uncle believed in Jesus, and found a community of local Christians. They gave him a Injil (New Testament) to read more about God.
Crimea of Ukraine: Timor’s family are proud Muslims of the Tatar-Crimean people. Timor knew better than to talk about Jesus at home, so he hid the SOJ he received at a neighborhood club under his mattress. He tried to ask his father questions about the prophet Isa (Jesus) but was shrugged off. He asked his Christian friends to pray for his father, who was a devout Muslim. They prayed for three days. On the fourth day Timor asked his father if he could pray at the dinner table. The father was surprised. He looked at his wife and agreed. Timor began to thank the Creator for blessings bestowed upon his family, including for food, and his parents’ health. Then he closed in “Jesus name, Amen!”
There was silence for a while. Then his father asked Timor what he knew about the prophet Jesus. Timor brought his copy of the SOJ to the dinner table and began reading, and showing pictures to his parents. There was no protest, no yelling, just curiosity. The father announced to the family that for three days he would ask questions about Isa (Jesus), and no one knew as much as Timor. Timor rejoiced inside that God had answered his prayer. Timor’s father asked him to find more stories about Isa. He brought him the Injil (New Testament). Timor asks we pray for his father’s salvation.
And here’s an account in a young teen’s words:
Uzbekistan: My name is Baglan, which means ‘as gentle as a lamb.’ My father is a Muslim and my mother obeys all the Uzbek festivals and traditions. Life isn’t easy for our family and my father works hard to support us. On my 13th birthday I invited my neighbor to my party and she came with a gift. Inside the gift I found a booklet, Story of Jesus, which intrigued me. In the quietness of my room I read it, and read it again and again. I wanted to know more, so I asked my friend questions about Jesus and she invited me to a club where at a home they sing, learn new songs, and learn to pray and read the Holy Scriptures. I was fascinated and came another time. When I came home later than usual, my father questioned me and I told him everything. He was angry, he asked for all the Christian literature I had and tore the SOJ apart and threw it in the trash. I was shocked. He prohibited me from attending any house meetings because I would bring disgrace upon the family.
“At the park I told my Christian friend what happened and she assured me that Isa (Jesus) will help me. She assured me there are more SOJs and that I can have another one. That evening my father came home furious. He threatened to send me away to the country but my mother intervened. My father thinks I disgraced the family by meeting with Christians in their home. He told me that Christians worship many gods and bring dishonor to Uzbekistan. My mother defends me. Pray that the heart of my father softens and I will be able to attend the house meeting to sing, pray and read the Holy Scriptures.”
Hearts are being transformed in the Former Soviet Union. Please pray for this incredible work – and for the outreach through Christian summer camps throughout the world. Consider contributing to the Story of Jesus project. Your funds are channeled directly into projects equipping local churches for evangelism.