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CJF Ministries has a long history of Russian ministry. In the 1960s, during the height of the Cold War, we sponsored a Russian-language broadcast that was beamed into the Soviet Union over Trans World Radio. In 1991, with Cold War barriers torn down, CJF Ministries was already busy laying the groundwork for new missionary work in that part of the world. Up to that time, we had been limited mainly to broadcasting over the airwaves; but now we could actually have missionaries on the ground in the former Soviet Union!
Since that time, CJFM has built a lean but very effective work in the former Soviet Union. Our staff has had many opportunities to share the Gospel with people while helping them with relief via our Redemption 2000 program. In fact, every time we help someone with needs such as food, clothing, medicine, medical treatment (like surgeries they couldn’t ordinarily afford), we ensure that person hears a clear presentation of the simple plan of salvation. Our workers like to say that they “go to needy people with a Bible in one hand and a loaf of bread in the other.” Several of the Jewish believers who now attend our fellowship in Minsk originally heard the Gospel (and responded to it) through Redemption 2000.
It’s interesting that in the West (particularly in the US and Canada), messianic congregations and fellowships tend to be comprised mostly of non-Jewish believers (typically, 90 percent non-Jewish and 10 percent Jewish). In the former Soviet Union, however, the demographics are reversed (that is, 75 percent Jewish and 25 percent non-Jewish). Also, Russian-speaking Jews tend to be well educated, curious, and open minded. Many of them are leaders in their chosen fields. They are university professors, scientists, engineers, physicians, and musicians, for instance. They don’t want the rabbis to tell them what they must believe or what they can read. If they are told not to read the New Testament, it just makes them want to read it all the more. They want to examine the evidence and decide for themselves. We are committed to making the information available to them so they can make an educated and informed decision about Jesus the Messiah—who He is, and the role He wants to play in their lives.
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