Christian camping comes of age in Eastern Europe
As the Soviet Union fell, Christians rushed into the nations…
After Christians in the Eastern European nation of Belarus protested in the wake of a controversial election, they said that government authorities threatened to take away their children.
“Unfortunately, now this can become a reality and not just intimidation,” one Christian said in a message from the capital, Minsk. “Please pray that the Lord will protect our family.” That church member asked that his name be withheld for security reasons.
Several Christians were arrested — along with hundreds of others who demonstrated against President Alexander Lukashenko — and spent several days in jail, the Belarusian Christian said.
“We do not want to be silent about the lawlessness that the authorities are doing now,” he added. “But we don’t want to lose our children either. Your support is very necessary!”
Lukashenko has served as president of Belarus, a former Soviet republic of about 9.5 million people, since the office was established in 1994.
In early August he was elected to a sixth term in a landslide victory over opponent Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, though poll workers reported widespread irregularities, the Associated Press reported. Tsikhanouskaya, ran in place of her husband, Sergei, an opposition blogger who was jailed before the election.
Thousands took to the streets, and the government responded by detaining and allegedly beating protesters, The Washington Post reported. Groups of Christians staged peaceful demonstrations, some holding Russian-language Bibles produced by Eastern European Mission, a nonprofit supported by Churches of Christ.
“Please be praying for them,” said Bart Rybinski, EEM’s vice president for European Operations, of the Belarusian Christians. “It’s challenging that, with all that is happening in the world, the situation in Belarus is getting so little attention.”
EEM, founded 58 years ago, used to smuggle pocket-size Bibles into Soviet-controlled nations, including Belarus.
Now, workers supply Bibles and faith-based literature in 20 languages to 30 countries. The ministry’s Million Dollar Sunday campaign seeks $3.2 million to continue the work.
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