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A Mission in Russia Partnering with GRN for Audio Evangelism
In January of 1990, "Northern Ossetia Mission of Christian Charity" (COMXM/NOMCC), Religious Charitable Organization, was registered in the Ministry of Justice. The goal of the Organization is ministry to the peoples of Kavkaz. After murderous ethnic conflicts in Southern and Northern Ossetia and antiterrorist operations in Chechnya, the humanitarian aid sent by fraternal Dutch, USA, German, Czech and Finland missions started flowing in through COMXM. Through the Humanitarian Aid Department of the Mission the refugees have received more than 2.5 tons of clothing, footwear and food.
Northern Ossetia Mission of Christian Charity started its work with publishing. In the 1930s, the famous Ossetian linguist Gappo Baev worked with Christian mission "Light in the East" (Licht im Osten) in Germany and translated New Testament into Ossetian Language. The text of New Testament translated by Gappo Baev was published in 1993 jointly with Stockholm Institute of Bible Translation, 4000 copies were printed.
Fraternal relations with the German mission "Light from East" helped to translate and publish Christian literature into many languages of the Caucasian nations. 18 books with the general edition of 250,000 copies were published and translated into Ossetian language alone.
Northern Ossetia Mission of Christian Charity has not only been translating and distributing literature in the languages of the local peoples. Starting from 1994, it has recorded and distributed more than 10,000 audio tapes with Christian psalms, Gospel messages and the radio play called "Sacrifice." The recording was done in the studio of COMXM in Ossetian, Balkar, Cabardian, Lezgin, Kumyk, Tabasarian, Avar, Adygean and other languages. All these nations live at the south of Russia and their populations mostly practice Islam. All the audio production was performed on the professional level, actors from local Drama and Music Theatres were invited for the recording. The Studio of the Mission has prepared many radio programs, which have been broadcast on the short wave from Saipen Island since 1993.
In 1995 the Dutch Christian Mission "Dorcas" became the largest supplier of humanitarian aid for the Northern Kavkaz. More than 100 truckloads were received by Humanitarian Dept. of COMXM. Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) sent five forty-ton containers with food products, school sets, clothing and items of personal hygiene. Those people who had experienced the atrocities of war received great help from the German mission "Light at the East" and the Finnish mission "Patmos" from "Nehemiah" (Czechia and Germany), "Euroevangelism" (Britain), Southern Baptists (USA), and from many Russian churches. All the humanitarian aid was distributed among refugees, the poor and families having many children, as well as among the people who suffered from natural calamities not only at the Northern Kavkaz but also in other regions of Russia.
When Northern Ossetia Mission of Christian Charity started to give out the humanitarian aid to the refugees and forced migrants, the news about pay-free distribution of clothing, food, medical equipment spread among different groups of population in Northern Ossetia, Chechnya, Ingushetia. The poor and invalids started coming for help to the mission. Of course, nobody was turned down. The poor received instant milk, preserved meat, powder potato, preserved vegetables, sugar, rice, noodles, tea and other food. For the poor invalids and patients with serious diseases, more than 200 wheelchairs were brought from Germany and Netherlands. Orthopedic beds were provided for almost all hospitals of Vladicavcaz.
During both Chechen wars our missioners, sometimes risking their lives were bringing humanitarian aid to the tent camps "Bart" and "Alina," helped to the children who were left destitute.
At the present time the activity of Northern Ossetia Mission of Christian Charity is very diverse. From year 2000 we have round the clock broadcasting at the 104.9 radio wave. Radio MCC - is not anentertaining and advertising station; it is radio for people seeking for God.
20,000 subscribers receive the magazines " Faith and Life" and "Tropinka" distributed by the mail department of COMXM. The magazines are delivered from the German mission "Light in the East" six times a year by transportation of Northern Ossetia Mission of Christian Charity.
At the present time the mission is in the process of negotiation with the local TV Company "Visavi" on providing TV time for Christian programs.
The children's choir "Tropinka" has become widely recognized. The choir consists of children from the Sunday School of "Nadezhda" Church. The church was organized in 1993 by the missionary department of Northern Ossetia Mission of Christian Charity. Now more than 250 people come to service. "Elmira Borzova, graduate of Vladicavcaz Art College, is in charge of "Tropinka" choir. The choir has 14 children from 8 to 14 years old. There were 5 audio albums and two CDs of their songs recorded at the studio of the mission. "Tropinka" has visited many countries of former Soviet Union and abroad: Germany, Netherlands, Czehia, Poland, Armenia, Georgia, Ukraine, where people with joy and gratitude were listening to the songs about God's love. In 2002 the choir spent a month in USA, giving concerts in California, Oregon, and Washington. But the main ministry of the choir is in the Northern Kavkaz. Almost every week children give concerts for refugees, families having many children, elderly people and just for people who need attention.
Northern Ossetia Mission of Christian Charity has a department for ministry in prisons and jails. Missioners of this department give a hand of help to the people who lost their way. Once a week we have service in Jail #1 in Vladikavcaz. At the mountainous settlement Balta is a rehabilitation center called "Pirko House" works. The center was purchased by Ya.N. Peisty to work with people who had repented in prisons. Rehabilitation program helps former inmates to start a new life and re-establish relationships with their families. "Dorcas", the Dutch mission, has presented four incubators for the mission, that will allow the people, undergoing the rehabilitation course, to work physically. In August of this year COMXM had organized the meeting of former prisoners in Vladikavcaz. The event was attended by about fifty people from different regions of the country. The decision was made to organize coordination council for ministry in prisons at the South of Russia, the council will function as a part of COMXM Department of Ministry in Prisons.
Ministry in Chechnya, particularly in Grozniy, is one of the most important activities of the Missionary Department of Northern Ossetia Mission of Christian Charity. The first priority of the department is to help, morally and financially, the people who suffered from war. Service in the church of Grozny is performed every week. On the regular basis the missionaries help our brothers and sisters left in Chechnya with food and medical supplies. Grozny is ninety percent ruined and, unfortunately, the flood and rain in summer of this year made their damage to the city, too. Some of the reconstructed houses were washed out by overflowed Sunzha River. The money that was sent to the mission were used for purchase of construction materials for Russian and Chechen people who suffered from war or natural calamity.
During six years the missionary department has been working with the military personnel of 58th Army, dislocated at the North Kavkaz. Military-Christian Union "Shield of Faith" provides magazines that are very popular among officers and solders. Head of "Kavkaz" block-post invited youth of "Nadezhda" Church to arrange a Christian concert. In spite of danger, the group of fifteen people was singing Christians psalms and while preaching has invited people to repent. Immediately after service at "Kavkaz" block-post the group was invited by the Head of Rayon of the Chechen settlement Urus-Martan to hold an evangelical meeting. During two and a half years of staying at this settlement these people have not seen anybody but controlling officials.
Deputy Head of Rayon said, "We do not hear any radio stations here at this rayon, except of MCC Radio. We listen to your programs when we are not on duty." And he asked right away, "Is Peter Lunichkin, pastor of Nadezhda Church here? For a year we have been waking up to his preaching."
Evangelical trips often are accompanied by armored troop-carrier or KAMAZ truck with antiaircraft gun, because solders do not understand how it is possible to travel in Chechnya without serious arms. But missionaries of Northern Ossetia Mission of Christian Charity understand that only God is able to protect and guard from danger.
In the end of July 2002, in mountainous tourist base "Kachtisar", that is situated near settlement Dargavs, Northern Ossetia, the Children Department of COMXM has organized Children Christian Camp "Nadezhda." The camp has become already a tradition. This year the camp hosted 120 children of 14 nationalities. The masters were the members of Children Department of Northern Ossetia Mission of Christian Charity and members of "Nadezhda" Church. From 1 to 15 of August, 2002, at the same tourist base "Kachtisar", in Northern Ossetia, it was noisy and merry; it was time of the second term of Children Christian Camp. "Christian" is not quite correct word, because among 50 children - 31 did not have any idea about Jesus Christ or the idea was very vague or incorrect. Most of them were from Chechnya -- orphans or children who lost one of their parents. They were children of war. From 22 to 31 of August, Children Department of Northern Ossetia Mission of Christian Charity had a third term of the camp. This term the youth from "Nadezhda" spent in tent camp with their non-Christian friends.
Children Department of Northern Ossetia Mission of Christian Charity pays a lot of attention to children from Chechnya. By request of the Republican Ministry of Social Protection, the members of Children Department in September of 2002 have visited tourist bases "Kachtisar", "Rostselmash", "Dzinaga", "KomArt". Thanks to organization "Dorkas" from Netherlands, Northern Ossetia Mission of Christian Charity has the required warm cloth, footwear and colored children Bibles. "MCC"- central Mennonite committee (from USA) sent a container with school sets and hygienic sets. "Light at the East" from Germany regularly sends us literature for evangelical work. 650 children, who suffered from war, were told about saving sacrifice of Jesus Christ, were given a children Bible, children magazine "Tropinka" and learned the song, "This is the day that the Lord has made".
Now Northern Ossetia Mission of Christian Charity plans to organize several visits to orphanages in different regions of Chechnya. Unfortunately, the war has left a terrifying trace. More than two thousand children live in this orphanages and most of them are invalids.