There Is Hope in Russia
November 1, 2003 - Twenty years ago the Soviet Union struck fear in American hearts. Now we have an unprecedented opportunity to spread the Gospel in Russian hearts.
by Franklin Graham
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has launched a national evangelistic program in Russia on a scale that only God could make happen. We are working to reach all of Russia (89 administrative districts spread across 11 time zones) through Christian messages we have designed especially for TV, radio, movies, kids' videos, newspapers, literature and the Internet. We have trained hundreds of Christian workers to teach and inspire churches and individuals to share their faith and hope with neighbors.
We call the program "There Is Hope." Modeled after our "My Hope" program in Latin America, it starts with the media but is driven by one-to-one evangelism and grassroots ministry. The evangelical community in Russia is small but vibrant, and the program is an excellent opportunity for Christians to be involved in a strategic campaign for the hearts of their country.
We have been prayerfully anticipating an opportunity for such widespread evangelism since 1959, when my father first preached in Moscow, and since 1984, when I accompanied him on my first trip behind the Iron Curtain. God is opening doors in Russia. My father's approach has been to work behind the scenes, to focus on the Gospel rather than on communism and to trust God's timing and the work of the Holy Spirit. Sooner than any of us could have dreamed, the time has come.
The most important work is still being done behind the scenes, this time in the privacy of Russian homes where the Gospel messages are being watched. We expect Christian families to invite neighbors, children to witness to grandparents and friends to reach out to co-workers. Russian Christians are counting on our prayers as they sow seeds and reap the harvest.
The perseverance of Christians and the influence of the Gospel were significant factors in bringing freedom to Eastern Europe. Political freedom and religious freedom were crucial steps. But true freedom is found only in Christ. Now that we can see answered prayers in Russia, we should pray even more fervently for the evangelism being done there today.
Because of what we see God doing in Russia, we can also pray with renewed hope that soon we might see victory against the latest enemies to freedom. The Iron Curtain isn't the first one that God has rent in two. Nor will it be the last.