With the largest sporting event in the world set to take place in Russia, a ministry is ready to win souls for Jesus Christ –despite a crackdown on open evangelism in the former Soviet Union.
The World Cup gets underway in just a couple of weeks, and Russian soccer fans are excited to have matches in their country, but one Christian group is even more excited for the opportunity to share the Word of God during the sporting events.
Mission Eurasia President Sergey Rakhuba shared that the games provide a wonderful opportunity for Christians to share their faith in Russia, but a law approved two years ago as part of anti-terrorist legislation restricts missionary activity and evangelism outside of churches.
However, this ban does not take effect inside churches, so Rakhuba’s ministry and two partnering organizations are producing specially designed New Testaments that will be handed to fans who come to Russian churches that will be transformed into community centers to watch live, big-screen broadcasts of the World Cup.
With many matches nearly sold out already, the missionary leader says that the impending shortage of tickets available at the soccer stadiums means that the game-watching events in churches are likely to attract considerable crowds.
"I think it's a very creative, strategic plan when [the] door is still remaining open in Russia to equip the Church with this wonderful opportunity to bring the Gospel – to bring transformation power into their community through using this unprecedented, [once] in the lifetime opportunity of this World Soccer Cup outreach that will take place in Russia," Rakhuba shared.
Mission Eurasia is currently trying to raise enough money for Russian evangelical churches to distribute 100,000 Russian-language New Testaments.