Sofia, at only 25 years old, knew she was a “nobody” – there was nothing special in her life, and the mundane daily commute to work was all that she lived for.
Can you imagine being one of 18 million people living in Moscow, the capital city of Russia?
It was easy for Sofia to lose her identity in work, alcohol and simply surviving the day-to-day oppression. Surrounded by never-ending concrete high-rises and factory fumes, her reality in Moscow was, in one word, depressing.
Moscow is home to millions of Muslims and is a metropolitan center. Job opportunities and labor-intensive work make up the entire DNA of the city. People leave their families and homelands in neighboring countries in hopes of finding a better life. Because of this, many individuals completely lack a community of family or even friends.
Without the accountability of a caring loved one, Sofia was left emotionally empty. She had no one to check on her well-being. She was left calloused and numb. And most importantly, she had no idea there was a God that loved her…
Until Sofia’s day-to-day life was interrupted by a church-planting team from New Testament Church of Moscow, our Assemblies of God partners in Russia.
Today, a team of young adult church planters is taking a bold approach to reach their community – they are going outside the four walls of the church.
They are meeting new people by hosting music nights, family-friendly events, art clubs and playing sports. These types of outreaches build life-giving friendships, which are hard to find in Moscow.
These church planters have given up their own jobs, living frugally, to spend all their time reaching the people of Moscow.
Sofia first encountered people that genuinely cared about her life when she attended a music night — or as the team calls it, a “JAM session.” She noticed that there was something different about this group. They didn’t use foul language or get drunk every night. She was surprised to see strangers take initiative to tear down the walls of isolation she had built. She thought, “Why would anyone care about me? Why would they check on me each week and befriend me?”
I am reminded of the story of Zacchaeus the Tax Collector. Zacchaeus was curious about who this “Jesus” was. But he did not go to the synagogue, the church building of that time, to find Him. Jesus was passing through Jericho, and He gave Zacchaeus attention — right in the middle of his daily life.
When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So, he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” – Luke 19:5-7
The New Testament church-planting team is taking this inside out approach – creating honorable and safe spaces for people to build community together. They do not hold the outreaches at the church building. Rather, they bring Jesus to ordinary places – where curious people search for more than a lonely existence.
The church planters showed Sofia the transformative love of Jesus Christ. She then accepted Jesus as her Savior – thank you, Lord!
Sofia’s new life in Christ completely changed the trajectory of her future. She comes to church each week and aspires to attend Bible college. She is no longer isolated and is sharing her story with others… She has even invited so many people to this new body of believers, her invitees now make up over half the gathering.
This rapid sowing and multiplication of the church is exactly what Eurasia is all about. And YOU are an integral part of this mission.
Our Big Dream is to realize a church-planting movement among every people group in Eurasia – and we are seeing the first fruits right now in Russia.
But with your partnership, we can reach more.
New Testament Church only has one church-planting team using this strategy in Moscow. Just one team among millions of people!
But this fall our partners at New Testament Church are creating a launchpad where 30 young believers will live in community to learn the foundations of church planting. Once trained, they will be equipped to reach others like Sofia in the grim areas of Moscow.
Without your faithful giving, the church-planting launchpad is not possible. Will you partner with us and these church planters in their God-given mission to transform Moscow — much faster than they could on their own?
These 30 young believers are giving all their time to be trained and do not have any means of income. They are leaving their homes with just the bare essentials, trusting God to provide for their needs.
Each new church planter will need to travel by public transportation around the city to build relationships and host outreaches. For just $1 a day, one person can go anywhere in Moscow.
New Testament Church will provide housing for the new trainees. They must purchase bunk beds and build a kitchen for the group of 30 to have places to sleep and cook together.
Again, this launchpad is brand new, but it will continually train and raise up leaders for years to come. We desperately need to equip believers in Moscow to share the Good News where the church does not exist.
There are millions of people, just like Sofia, who are still waiting to experience the all-encompassing love of Jesus. Will you be an agent of change by equipping our brothers and sisters in Moscow to sow the seed of the gospel?
P.S. We pray Jesus’ words to Zacchaeus to be true in this city,
“Today salvation has come to this house, because this man,
too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek
and to save the lost.” – Luke 19:9-10