(Note: the following article is from one of our newsletters in 2007. Things have changed some, but not a lot. Much prayer still needed.)
After the fall of Communism and the breakup of the Soviet Union, most Americans have lost track of what is happening in Russia. Before starting our mission work in Russia, our image of Russia was: big, strong, powerful, progressive.
Although some of the wealthiest people in the world live in Russia and Moscow has the highest cost of living for any city in the world, today’s Russia is an ailing country.
Consider these facts and observations about today’s Russia:
• Russia is rapidly losing population (700,000 people each year since 1991). Why? Because of one of the world’s fastest-growing AIDS epidemics; tuberculosis; rampant heart disease; alcohol and drug abuse; suicide; and air pollution.
• The average Russian man can expect to live about 59 years, 16 years less than an American man.
• Abortions outpaced births last year by more than 100,000.
• Tens of millions of Russians live in poverty; one fifth of all Russians live on less than $38 per month.
• Estimates of the number of orphans and children at risk range from 700,000 to over 3 million. The number of orphans continues to grow.
• Corruption in business and in government is rampant.
• Many cities with 50,000 or more people have only one church.
• Churches do not have buildings to meet in; they rent public facilities or meet in homes.
• Roads and highways outside the major cities are full of potholes and in bad need of repair.
• Many apartment buildings (most Russians live in apartment buildings constructed during the days of Communism) have not been maintained and are in bad need of repair.
• Most day-to-day economic transactions are conducted using cash. There is no personal checking system as we know it in the U.S. (For example, government pensions are paid once per month, in cash, at the Post Office. And, we in America complain when we have to stand in a line!)
• Many Russians have given up hope and drown their days in a bottle of vodka (or homemade alcohol).
We sometimes say that the iron curtain has been replaced by a slow dark tsunami.
Our Christian friends in Russia are people of deep faith. They are the light and the salt in a very dark land. Boldly and courageously they lift high the banner of God. Please pray fervently and frequently for more Light and Love to sweep through Russia and set the captives free!
|Orphan children in Russia enjoy summer church camp|