Merry Christmas, dear friends!
I was at a pre-Christmas celebration in Moscow, sitting next to Konstantin, one of the most active Christian leaders of Russia. “Have I ever told you,” he asked, “that my first exposure to Christianity was listening to FEBC broadcasts, when I was 16? I listened almost every night, and every night God spoke to me through radio.”
When Konstanin was 16, we received only about a dozen letters a year at FEBC. This year so far, we’ve received more than 200,000 responses. Only God knows how many of these people will become the Christian leaders of tomorrow in Russia and Ukraine.
When I was at the Red Square several days ago, we filmed this short video update for you:
Russia is becoming more restrictive every day. Immediately after we filmed this video, we were approached by the police, who asked us the purpose of our film. What is truly worrying, however, is that the government is visiting hundreds of Russian evangelical churches, insisting on inspections, imposing fines, and interrogating pastors.
As the situation becomes more untenable every day, it is a miracle that FEBC is able to continue our Christ-centered dialogue with millions of Russian people. Through the skillful use of social media, we have friended millions of listeners.
One of our broadcasters, Evgeny (Eugene) Sarapulov is successful in reaching hundreds of thousands of young people every month. I was recently at his home, helping to make a special Russian dish – pelmeni. Please take a moment to join us in Evgeny’s – well, actually, Svetlana’s kitchen.
I am privileged that we have such people as Evgeny on our team, who are passionate about sharing the Good News with millions of Russians.
In Ukraine, God is also opening new doors for us. FEBC now operates five radio stations. Our latest station started broadcasting in the Odessa region, in a little town called Nikolaevka. Find out more through this video:
FEBC’s radio waves now cover 20% of Ukraine’s territory. We hope to continue to grow this network of FM stations as God provides new opportunities.
In 2018 we plan to open at least two more stations in the eastern part of Ukraine, where people are suffering from death and destruction unseen since WWII. God is making it possible for us to speak to people who are hurting and desperate for hope and love. We share God’s love with them…and it’s making all the difference!
“When I listen to you, I feel like God is touching my heart, healing me from the inside,” wrote Anna, who lost her son in the current conflict. “I know that only God can do this; nothing else helps,” she said. We share the joy of Christmas with thousands of people like Anna.
Next year, we have ambitious plans to use new technologies in Ukraine as we did in Russia, so that we can reach millions of Ukrainians living in large cities like Kiev and Dnipro, where millions of people are desperate for the healing hand of God.
Friends, we are grateful for your love. It is because of your generosity that we are able to touch people’s hearts. Millions of them. As a “thank you,” here’s a Ukrainian Christmas song from our pre-Christmas celebration in Kiev – from our heart to yours:
Friends, we especially need your support for our building project in Kiev, Ukraine. Given the problems we face in Russia, Kiev is becoming our hub for ministering in both countries.
May the Lord continue to bless you during this wonderful Christmas season and throughout 2018!
Victor P. Akhterov
FEBC Russia and Ukraine