At the beginning of the road
Russia is a land of snow and ice. In winter it blankets their world with sparkling white. When the sun shines from a clear blue sky, nothing can compare with its beauty. People respect its wonder, as it provides a time of exhilarating winter sports and friendships. But by the end of their long winters, they look forward to sunshine and long summer days.
But Russia is also a country that is finding its way from years of isolation to a new self-understanding in a world that is increasingly open to its people. And this same world is flooding the Russian Federation with new ideas. Ideas that are both good―and bad.
What about the churches?
Since the collapse of Communism and the USSR, the Christian churches have been actively re-establishing Church life and worship, and planting churches where the Gospel has never been heard. In 1996, a leading churchman said, "We are at the beginning of the road to rebuilding our congregations, and we need help and guidance. We want to understand the problems that have been faced in the west, to learn what has been helpful and what hasn't been."
An important part of rebuilding has been the widespread emphasis on the theological training of their pastors and Christian workers. Bible training and theological education are being conducted at several levels throughout the Russian Federation.
While seminaries and institutes now offer theological degrees, they are short of qualified academic staff. Most of the library books are in English, and this makes it very difficult for students to understand the material. This lack of material in their own language severely limits the knowledge that is available to them.
How is CDA helping?
CDA writes and publishing books based on major biblical themes that are critical to an understanding of the Bible.
CDA then translates these into the Russian language, publishes them, and distributes them at nominal cost to churches and teaching institutions. Some of our publications are use in Distance Education. To assist students, we have produced on CD, professionally recorded lectures that complement the books. We sell the CDs and the listening guide at nominal cost.
Pastors and Christian workers like these above, need study material and resources that they can take with them, to help them teach more effectively and to train others. Preparing material such as this is our main emphasis. The opportunities to help in such a vast country are enormous, but it needs a lot of wisdom and experience, and help from Christians who are willing to assist in this vital ministry.
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During regular visits to Russia, we conduct seminars in local churches, and fill lecturing positions at theological institutes (Ewald is centre below). Many pastors-in-training come from isolated areas, and work under difficult circumstances while trying to upgrade their theological education.
A land of contrasts
The Russian Federation has a population of nearly 144 million people, and stretches across 11 time zones. It includes regions, republics, autonomous districts (ethnic), and one autonomous region.
Its climate varies from the frozen arctic north, to the steppes and arid deserts of Kazakhstan.
Only 8% of its land is arable, and 5% suited for grazing and pastures. Its far north is rich in a wide variety of minerals, and oil.
Peoples of the Russian Federat-ion are made up from many ethnic groups who speak distinctive languages, as well as the Slavic peoples who form the majority. Russian is still the first language in most areas.
Pastors have gone―at great cost―to plant churches among some of the peoples who live in difficult climates where foodstuffs are expensive, fresh food is difficult to obtain, and the climate inhospitable. E.g. those who live in the polar regions must endure the long polar night that lasts for one month.
Churches have been planted among many Russian speaking workers who have settled in the far north. Church teams also work among polar ethnic groups such as the Nenets in the picture above shown sharing hospitality.