Ufa – Over 800,000 people reached!
Predominately Islamic by religion Ufa is located on the western slope of the Ural Mountains in Russia with a population of 1,2 million. There are 15 Evangelical Churches in the city with a combined membership of about 3,000 adherents. All churches in the city partnered in this historic undertaking.
1 million of the city’s residents were targeted with the simple message “God gives you the power to change!” All available media were harnessed to simultaeously proclaim this message over a one month period. Thousands called the campaign hotline for counselling. Many made a life changing decision for Christ.
Churches Unite Behind a Vision
The Ural Mountains serve as a continental divide separating European Russia from the Russian Far East. The legendary land of Siberia begins on the eastern slope of the Ural mountain range extending to the Pacific Ocean. The city of Ufa is situated on the western slope of the Urals in the heart of Russia.
Ufa is one of the least Christianized cities in all of Russia today. The first Christians came to Ufa approximately one hundred years ago.
Only fifteen years ago one Christian congregation with one hundred members was to be found in Ufa. Today there are fifteen congregations with only one church building in their possession.
As One Man, One Heart
When the strategy for the month-long media blitz presented to the pastors they rose to the challenge as one man with one heart. They were determined to reach their city for Jesus like never before. In an unprecedented move a joint pastoral committee was formed to supervise the execution of the outreach. A special executive task force was also elected to tackle each challenge with greater impact and efficiency. Praise God for this united effort!
Six task groups were formed to give the each of the selected media products a distinctively domestic flavor. The challenge is to reach 80% of the people in the area by “power evangelism”. Power evangelism means every person in Ufa will repeatedly see and hear the Gospel over a one month period in various ways simultaneously – TV, radio, print, billboards, other ads. The message: “ God gives the power to change”. It is for everyone to experience personally.
The most potent media for communicating the Gospel to a population of 1.1 million people in Ufa during the campaign is local television. For one month people will be able to watch and hear moving stories of how God’s power changed lives. As the programs air viewers will be able to call in to the TV studio and ask questions.
While planning for Mission Ufa it was assumed that not everybody would watch TV, listen to the radio or have an Internet connection. Therefore the message will be communicated through local newspapers, on giant billboards, in buses and other systems of public transport.
Mission Ufa will climax in a series of public meetings to which those who watched TV, listened to radio programs and read newspaper ads and articles will be invited.
A Multitude of Counselors
Hundreds of church members will be trained to disciple and pray with new believers to secure their newly found faith in God. Campus Crusade for Christ Canada will oversee discipleship training.
A large team of people will be needed to answer incoming calls from ads and television programs as well as to process names addresses, book orders, and manage the Mission Ufa website.
The outreach is the first of its kind on such a level in UFA. Nothing has come close to the intensity of this mission. The outreach requires funds – most of it must come from the west.
The “Power to Change” book is the main piece of literature that will be distributed during this campaign. It is designed so that every church member can hand it out to friends and neighbors. The book contains ten of the most dramatic testimonies of God’s grace in Ufa. At present 50,000 copies of the book need to be printed.
Unforgettable – Regina’s Testimony
Regina’s testimony was particularly touching. At the age of two her parents deserted her. She was transferred from one orphanage to another. Upon completing her studies she was given a room in communal housing that was home to one of Ufa’s worst gangs. For them sexual abuse, drugs, stealing were the norm.
Without a job, Regina ended up on the streets where she was recruited for the notorious Shakshinskaya Mafia. One day because of a minor offense she was beaten and was to be gang raped. In despair she cried out for help. Miraculously, a special anti-terror unit of the Ufa police called “OMON”, raided the apartment where she was held and saved her from the hands of her tormentors.
Soon afterwards, God led Olga, a believer into Regina’s life. Even though Olga had two of her own children and a husband she took Regina in to live with them. Olga talked to her about the Lord. Regina accepted Christ and her life was transformed. By God’s grace she had experienced the power to change. Please pray that many others would share Regina’s experience as a result of the upcoming campaign.