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November 15, 2022
by Lucas O.

“New Russian Law Bans Evangelism!” I may have rolled my eyes slightly as I read the headline from a clickbait Christian news site.

Well, it’s partially true. The law passed several years ago made certain forms of evangelism a finable offense, but it was focused on street evangelism that invited people to become members of a particular cult or church. Talking about your personal faith was still protected under the constitution. So, despite the headlines, little has changed in our mode of evangelism over the 14 years we have been in Russia.

The setting we most often find ourselves in when talking about the Good News is a kitchen table with a cup of tea. In Russia it’s traditional to serve tea to guests, so over tea and snacks is how we get to know people, and that includes sharing our faith. When we speak with Tuvan people, we also must recognize that one of the barriers for them is the ingrained thought that the God of the Bible is for Russians and not them. Tuvans traditionally practiced shamanism and were later converted to Buddhism, and those two belief systems are considered an integral part of their identity. To accept Christ is seen as rejecting their roots, which would anger the spirits.

With that in mind, when we talk about Christ, we focus on the fact that His life, teaching, death, and resurrection were for ALL people. Heaven will be filled with people “from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages . . . (Rev 7:9). As often as we can, we try and connect nonbelievers with believing Tuvans. Through those relationships they can witness that believers are still fully Tuvan and yet they possess a hope, peace, and joy that cannot be obtained through the rituals of the shaman or the prayers to idols, but only through a relationship with the Savior, Jesus Christ.

Lucas, and his wife, have been serving as missionaries in Russia since 2008, focusing on discipleship among the Tuvan people. With their four kids, they enjoy traveling on the trans-Siberian railroad to visit other regions of Siberia and taking on the many adventures that God brings to their life in Russia.