Kids camp for unreached - in Russia

Russia | OM International

There are still many places where people have not heard about Jesus and continue to practise paganism, shamanism and other cults. One such place is Tuva Republic, which is a part of Russia. Situated in the geographical center of Asia, it combines traditional Asian religion of Buddhism with shamanism. Shamanism reflects Tuva’s ancient culture, philosophy and mentality. A huge number of different sacred places and totem poles are situated across the republic. You can see many ribbons on the trees and people worshiping nature. Shamans are very important and respected people in that area, and many Tuvans and visitors to Tuva request their help.  

Although Buddhism came to Tuva later than traditional beliefs, it plays a significant role in the life and culture of Tuva. Numerous Buddhist temples and sacred places attract not only local people, but also tourists.

Jesus Christ is considered to be a “Russian god” in Tuva.

In face of such a concentrated spiritual atmosphere, there are Christian churches who 'stand in the gap' for their nation. “Tuvans practice witchcraft, worship Buddha and other different spiritual beings. They do not know what they are doing. Our main goal is to tell them about Jesus, open their eyes to the fact that there is no other God except Jesus Christ”, says Edgar, a youth leader of one of the Christian churches in Kyzyl, the capital city of Tuva republic. “We are constantly praying to God and asking Him for great revival in Tuva. I believe that our republic has a great future”, continues Edgar.

Last year they started a children’s Bible club in a small village, where two years ago, there was a church. Unfortunately, it disintegrated and now there is only one believer. This village is much influenced by the shaman, to whom people trust and come for advice.

The believers from the church in Kyzyl decided to re-establish the church, and began to gather people for services. At the start, about 6 people came, but they stopped coming shortly afterwards. However, children started to come in. “About 40 kids came to our meetings. We saw thirst and hunger in them. We saw how they are interested. Their mentality and values are being formed during childhood. And it is perfect time to invest in children”, says Shenne, who serves the kids.

Each week they gather with kids, worship God, pray, and have Bible lessons. The kids` parents are not against this; just the opposite, they approve such meetings. Usually, summer is holiday time, so Shenne had the desire to use this time for ministry with kids: “I asked the youth in my church to fast for this time and for ideas”.

At this exact time an OM team member contacted the pastor of the church and offered to help in organizing a kids day camp. “I saw God’s answer in it and we agreed to cooperate and held a kid’s day camp together”, Shenne continues.

The camp was held in July in cooperation with OM and the local church. Each day about 25 kids from large and low-income families came to the program. It was a real holiday for them, to which they ran with great interest. They listened attentively to the Bible stories, played games, sang songs, and did crafts. Many children did not understand Russian very well, so almost all parts of the program were translated into Tuvan.

“On the second day, after the Bible lessons, the children began to ask different questions: “When will Jesus come?” “Is it true that Jesus is God” and so on" shares one of the team members. “We answered their questions and asked if they wanted to accept Jesus in their hearts. They decisively answered “Yes”, and prayed in Tuvan, asking forgiveness for their sins and giving their lives to Jesus Christ”,another team member continues. This was an amazing miracle; the team believes that God will continue working with these kids and it will bring great fruits for His Glory.

The kids liked the camp very much and enjoyed every second being there. “On the last day one boy prayed to the Lord, giving thanks to Him for bringing our team into his village”, a team member shares.

It was a time full of God’s miracles.  At the same time, a great need was revealed. “We saw here how the Harvest is ready, but the workers are few. There's a huge need here and it's really evident. And I hope and pray that God would send people here to tell people about Jesus and that this place wouldn't be a place of shamanism or Buddhism, but of Christianity and God’s name would be praised here”, hopes another team member.

These kids, as well as the whole Tuva area, need prayers and workers to come. Please pray for great revival in Tuva and fruit in the lives of the kids.

Credit: OM International
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