Former Soviet Union (MNN) ― Continuing with Part 3 of our series about the youth of the former Soviet Union, it may seem easy to despair and lose hope in light of the many odds stacked against these youth.
However, Eric Mock of Slavic Gospel Association said God's love is shining through these darkened countries: "Time and time again God uses youth in the former Soviet Union, right where He has raised them up, to be used in powerful ways. I think a lot of times we get in the habit of ministering to youth, bringing them into a youth group, and keeping them out of trouble."
Instead, SGA and older believers throughout the former Soviet Union are coming alongside these youth and empowering them to go out and share Christ today.
"So, God has worked in these youth in a tremendous way to open their hearts up to the Gospel, to equip them with the Word of God through faithful believers discipling them and being used in service, even through things like the Orphans Reborn program (read yesterday's story on this SGA ministry)," Mock said.
Similarly, youth across the U.S. are growing up in a post-Christian society, where they no longer know the "Sunday School" stories about Jesus; society and cultural pressures often crowd out a desire to live for Christ.
"So we have these youth now looking for truth from someone who truly lives the truth in their lives and cares for them--the same circumstances that we see in the youth of the former Soviet Union. There's a common hardship that these youth are going through, and we need to desperately reach out to them with God's Word through authentic people who want to see them advance the Gospel," said Mock.
Through this commonality, SGA is crossing cultural and language barriers to bringing youth together in ministry. These ministries include vacation bible school, summer camps, and holiday ministries.
Thankfully, many American, Russian and Ukrainian youth are not waiting until they get older to involve themselves in these ministries. Instead, they are following 1 Timothy 4:12: "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity."
Thus, Mock said, "These youth become a new generation of those ready to be used of God today--not tomorrow, but today. And we need to see these youth equipped for action. Our heart at SGA is that by connecting the youth in Russia [and] the youth in Ukrain with the youth in America, that we will also empower American youth to have a greater commitment to evangelize those in their elementary schools, high schools, middle schools, and to reach their community and be passionate to see the Gospel go forth."
The way to equip youth is by believers from the older generation discipling and mentoring them and believing in their ability to expand Christ's kingdom today.
Are you young and interested in making a difference for Christ right now? Mock said your first step is prayer. Then, develop a strong Christian worldview, actively serve, and talk to your youth pastor about what you can do next.
For the rest of you, it is never too late to start serving or begin mentoring youth who need your wisdom.
We conclude this four part series on Monday with stories from Ari Arfaras of The Mission Society and her outreach to Russian orphans. You can also read Part 1 and Part 2 of this series if you missed them earlier.