Senior Adult Conversions on the Rise?

Published on January 27, 2018

When evangelist Phil Waldrep agreed to preach a revival at a nursing home, he didn’t expect a huge response. After all, he reasoned, aren’t most older people already Christians?

But of the 40-60 nursing home residents who attended the services, 21 made a profession of faith in Christ as their Lord and Savior, and about 10 were later baptized at a local church.
That experience two decades ago helped spur Waldrep to add senior adult events to his schedule. Today, he and fellow Southern Baptist evangelists say they are seeing a steady — and in some cases increasing — stream of people over 55 coming to know Christ.

“I am convinced now more than ever,” Waldrep told Baptist Press, that senior adults are “an unreached group we have that Southern Baptist churches need to focus on intentionally to share the Gospel with them.”

‘Never been a greater need’

Waldrep’s Celebrators Conferences for “mature believers,” as his website puts it, draw 6,000-9,000 older adults per event and have opened doors for him to preach for senior adult gatherings at First Baptist Church in Dallas, First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla., and First Baptist Church in Orlando, Fla., among other congregations.

At those events and in regular church services, Waldrep said, “we have senior adults who, for the first time, come to know Christ.”

“Many of them are married to someone who is very active in church,” Waldrep said. “… Many of them tell us, ‘Everybody just assumed I was a Christian’” and “no one ever had an [evangelistic] conversation with me.”

Evangelist Eric Ramsey, a missions strategist who served eight years with the North American Mission Board, told BP “there has never been a greater need in world history for evangelism to senior adults. Right now in America, we have the largest population of senior adults in U.S. history. Globally, there’s the largest population of people over the age of 65 of any time in world history.”

In addition to the need for Gospel witness among the World War II Builder Generation, Baby Boomers are retiring, facing health challenges and looking for spiritual answers, said Ramsey, president of Arkansas-based Tom Cox World Ministries.

Baby Boomers present a unique evangelistic challenge, he noted, because unlike previous generations, many of them reject Judeo-Christian morality and don’t think of themselves as senior adults. Consequently, they may not be open to attend senior adult events at churches.

Still, Waldrep said many Boomers are open to the Gospel because they gained “a taste of materialism” in the post-World War II economic boom. And they now “realize materialism is not the answer” and are asking questions about spiritual matters.

Why has no one ever told us?

Kay Cox, who has ministered through traveling evangelism 40 years with her husband Tom, sees such spiritual openness in older senior adults too. She has noted a “quickening” of 85- to 95-year-olds being saved over the past seven or eight years, with salvations occurring on her mission trips to India, Peru, Russia and Uganda among other nations.
Cox, who continues international evangelism despite battling stage 4 cancer, told BP about leading a widower to Christ in Cuba in December and seeing many older adults come to Jesus through crusades and medical clinics abroad.

“One of the statements I’ve heard over and over and over again — and a lot of times from the senior adults — is ‘why has no one ever come to tell us this’” good news about Jesus, Cox said.

Before Tom Cox had to stop traveling for health reasons in 2014, he and Kay spent two years leading senior adult meetings in churches across America. The meetings equipped believers to share their faith and presented the Gospel to non-believers.

Other Southern Baptist evangelists who hold meetings and revival services specifically for older adults include Alabama-based preacher Bob Pitman, music evangelist Bob Smith and humorist Dennis Swanberg.

‘How old are you?’

Evangelism among senior adults has its challenges too.

Junior Hill, who has been a vocational evangelist 50 years, estimated less than 5 percent of first-time faith professions at meetings he leads are made by people 75 and older. He suggested two reasons more senior adults don’t confess Christ as their Lord and Savior.
“The most obvious reason is that they have resisted the Gospel so long and so often” that “their hearts become hardened,” Hill told BP.

Second, he said, “a lot of people who are that old probably have some feeling in their heart that it would be a little embarrassing at that age to acknowledge that they’ve never been saved.”

But Hill, like many of his evangelist colleagues, has seen God move among older adults.

At a 2016 worship service in Snellville, Ga., Hill was tempted not to preach an evangelistic sermon because everyone present appeared to be a church member. Yet he resisted the temptation and preached “like they were all lost.”

When Hill issued a public invitation to trust Christ, an older woman in the back of the church walked forward to the altar, stated she wanted to be saved and requested baptism.

As the pastor presented her to the congregation, he asked, “Ma’am, if you don’t mind, would you tell us, how old are you?” Hill recounted. “And she said, ‘98 years old’ … I think in all the years I’ve been preaching, that’s the oldest person I’ve seen make a commitment to the Lord.”

Let us know how God is blessing you! To share your comments, just click on the comments below.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. - A Preacher of the Gospel

Published on January 14, 2018

Martin Luther King, Jr., (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) was an American pastor, activist, humanitarian, and leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. He is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using nonviolent civil disobedience based on his Christian beliefs.

Dr. King became pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, when he was twenty-five years old, in 1954. As a Christian minister, his main influence was Jesus Christ and the Gospel, which he would almost always quote in his meetings and speeches in public places. King’s faith was strongly based in Jesus’ commandment of loving your neighbor as yourself, loving God above all, and loving your enemies, praying for them and blessing them.

His non-violent thought was also based his Christian belief to turn the other cheek in the Sermon on the Mount, and Jesus’ teaching of putting the sword back into its place (Matthew 26:52). In his famous Letter from Birmingham Jail, King urged action consistent with what he describes as Jesus’ “extremist” love, and also quoted numerous other Christian pacifist authors, which was very usual for him. In another sermon, he stated:

“Before I was a civil rights leader, I was a preacher of the Gospel. This was my first calling and it still remains my greatest commitment. You know, actually all that I do in civil rights I do because I consider it a part of my ministry. I have no other ambitions in life but to achieve excellence in the Christian ministry. I don’t plan to run for any political office. I don’t plan to do anything but remain a preacher. And what I’m doing in this struggle, along with many others, grows out of my feeling that the preacher must be concerned about the whole man.”

In his speech “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop”, he stated that he just wanted to do God’s will.

I just want to do God’s will. And he’s allowed me to go to the mountain. And I’ve looked over, and I’ve seen the promised land! I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promised land.”

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Let us know how God is blessing you! To share your comments, just click on the comments below.

The Christian New Year Begins on January First According to the Gregorian Calendar

Published on December 31, 2017

On the old Roman calendar, March 15 was the day which began the new year. The March date had basically been considered the beginning of spring, a logical time to begin a new year. But for political and military reasons, January 1, 153 B.C. became the day to observe the beginning of the new year. From then on, the Roman year began on January first, and has continued until this day.


The Roman calendar, also called the Julian calendar, was widely used throughout western Europe, until it was revised by Aloysius Lilius, an Italian doctor, astronomer, philosopher and chronologist. The use of this reformed calendar was commanded by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582 and named after him, called the Gregorian calendar, the most widely used calendar in the world today. It wasn’t always so.


“Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to the children of Israel, saying: In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a sabbath-rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work on it; and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord.’” (Leviticus 23:23-25)


The month of Tishri, which falls during the months of September and October on the Gregorian calendar, is also the first month on the Jewish civil calendar. Summer was over, the harvest had been gathered and the fall season had begun. This first day of Tishri was Israel’s New Year celebration, “a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation.” Today it is called Rosh Hashanah.


Jewish tradition states that this is the birthday of Adam. Many Biblical scholars agree that this was also the actual birthday of Jesus Christ, the “last Adam.” One of the symbolic references to this day corresponds with the fact that when a king begins to reign he is announced with trumpets. On this day, Tishri 1, trumpets are blown all day long. It may have been so in Jerusalem many years ago, that on the first day of Tishri, trumpets were sounded to announce the New Year, but little did anyone know, except a few humble shepherds, that not far away in Bethlehem, the true King of kings was born.


Today, this custom of celebrating the end of one year and the beginning of the next is still called Gregorian New Year or Christian New Year. Obviously, several countries and people with other religions have their own celebrations and observances. Some have suggested that for Christians, this celebration should begin with what is called Advent.


Advent in the Christian church is the period immediately before Christmas. It is the beginning of the Western Christian year, and begins on the fourth Sunday before December 25, and ends on Christmas Eve. The word advent comes from the Latin, adventus, a translation from the Greek parousia, translated into the English words coming or presence, referring most often to the Second Coming of Christ. Today, the season of Advent serves as a reminder of both Old Testament Judeans waiting for the coming Messiah, and Christians waiting for the returning Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Traditionally, it is a season with a prayer emphasis: prayers of commitment, prayers of rededication, prayers of supplication, and intercessory prayers for salvations and deliverance.


“Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I hope in Him! The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.” (Lamentations 3:22-26)

Let us know how God is blessing you! To share your comments, just click on the comments below.

Salvation Army Red Kettles

Published on December 3, 2017

Perhaps no other sound says Christmas more than the ring of a Salvation Army bell.

The red kettle has been an American icon for over 125 years. From Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve, the ubiquitous buckets can be found outside thousands of storefronts in small towns and big cities across the country. They can even be found on your TV, appearing in dozens of movies.

Red kettles raise millions for Salvation Army programs that provide food, shelter, rehabilitation, disaster relief, and much more for people and families in crisis.

Indeed, red kettles are a Christmas force. But have you ever wondered who started the red kettle tradition, where, and why?

In December of 1891, Captain Joseph McFee of The Salvation Army in San Francisco, Calif., was stumped. He wanted to provide a Christmas dinner for 1,000 poor people, but had no way to pay for it.

Then, an idea. He thought back to when he was as a sailor in Liverpool, England, where on the docks of the city’s waterfront he remembered seeing a large pot into which charitable donations could be thrown.

The next day, McFee secured permission to place a brass urn at the Oakland ferry landing. Beside the pot, he placed a sign that read, “Keep the Pot Boiling.” Soon, he had all the money he needed to fund the Christmas dinner.

Two years later, McFee’s fundraising idea had expanded to 30 kettle locations on the West Coast. He’d grown the program with help from two young Salvation Army officers named William A. McIntyre and N.J. Lewis.

Soon after Christmas 1895, McIntyre and Lewis were transferred to the East Coast. They took with them the idea of a Christmas kettle.

McIntyre was stationed in Boston. During the 1897 Christmas season, he, his wife and sister set up three kettles in the heart of the city. Their effort, combined with others on the West Coast and elsewhere, resulted in 150,000 Christmas dinners for the poor, nationwide.

Red kettles spread to the Big Apple, where the New York World newspaper hailed them as “the newest and most novel device for collecting money.” The newspaper also observed, “There is a man in charge to see that contributions are not stolen.”

In 1901, kettle donations in New York City funded a massive sit-down Christmas dinner at Madison Square Garden. The meal became a tradition for many years.

The rest, as they say, is history. Captain McFee’s idea launched a tradition that has spread not only throughout the United States, but across the world. Although red kettles are not found in all of the 126 countries The Salvation Army serves in, they can still be found in such distant lands as Korea, Japan, Chile, and many European countries.

Let us know how God is blessing you! To share your comments, just click on the comments below.

Study: Faith-Based Groups Doing Most of the ‘Heavy Lifting’ to Fight Homelessness

Published on November 5, 2017

Sixty percent of all emergency shelter beds, considered the “safety net of all safety nets,” in 11 cities are provided through faith-based organizations. And that is but one remarkable statistic, according to new social science research report released.

Before a crowd of over 100 people at the National Press Club, professor Byron Johnson, director of the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University, together with co-author William Wubbenhorst, unveiled Assessing the Faith-based Response to Homelessness in America: Findings from Eleven Cities, which showcases the socio-economic impact of Christian and other faith-based groups in combating the nation’s homeless epidemic.

The study’s findings reveal that faith-based organizations lead the way in addressing key causes of homelessness and are pioneering creative, long-term solutions because they are most effective as they address the “whole” person. The scholars calculated that for every one dollar in government spending, taxpayers saved $9.42, a total of $119 million in the 11 cities surveyed, as a result of the vital work faith-based groups do.

Tonier Cain, who was featured in a panel discussion, believes “it’s almost impossible to even think that somebody can get healed and do better in their life without faith.”

Cain, who lives in Annapolis, Maryland, shared parts of her harrowing story of having lived on the streets for nearly 20 years. During that time, she was arrested 83 times, convicted 66 times, and is a survivor of sexual abuse. She now leads two nonprofit groups, including a global nonprofit organization that provides services for trauma survivors.

“I’ve been in over 30 programs. Traditional, secular programs. They didn’t help. It wasn’t until I was really able to embrace faith, my relationship with Jesus, that everything changed in my life,” she said.

Cain is the subject of the award-winning film “Healing Neen.”

The 11 cities that were surveyed included Atlanta, Baltimore, Denver, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville (Florida), Omaha, Phoenix, Portland, (Oregon), San Diego and Seattle.

Byron said that the study was done in order to bring attention “where it is not getting focus” and to “start a discussion.”

“This is a very preliminary study and we would like to do something that drills down much deeper in a lot of cities, do some systematic evaluation,” he said. “Why is it that the faith-based response is better in some cities than others and how can we improve it?”

During the panel discussion, rescue mission leaders who are on the front lines serving the most vulnerable frequently discussed the tension that sometimes occurs between government agencies willing to offer financial assistance to faith-based social service providers in exchange for the groups’ removal of all things faith-based, like Bibles. Put simply, the panelists concluded, faith-based organizations are without question the backbone of poverty relief and services to the homeless but are not willing to make such compromises.

Byron was asked why the government seems to view faith as something detrimental such that it insists that in order to receive financial backing, groups must essentially strip away the religious dimension from their operations.

“Things have changed in the country. I think most people would acknowledge that we have seen a lot of changes in the last 20 years. There’s plenty of people in the community who think their freedoms are under attack today and so there’s a sense in which people are even afraid to make a pro-family statement for fear that they might be called a bigot,” Byron explained.

But it is also a matter of to whom one speaks, he added.

“If you go to Houston and you talk to people who work in government and you ask them ‘Who is doing the heavy lifting?’ They’ll tell you ‘it’s the faith-based groups’ and they refer people [to them]. Why? Because they’ve been there for 60 years and they trust them. They’ve built these relationships but that doesn’t mean that there still isn’t tension.”

“And I think there are these misconceptions about the faith community, that they don’t play well with other groups. And I think our preliminary study shows that’s a myth. They are ready, but they are not going to give up their faith.”

Cain reiterated the short-sightedness of the idea that by spending more money on poverty programs, such problems will be solved.

“If you had given me money and given me a place without my faith, I would have used the money but it would have been for all the wrong things,” Cain stated.

But with faith in Jesus, she contended, “your mindset, your thinking changes.”

“And you start to want to do better, you strive to do better. Because now you have a purpose, you don’t just exist,” she said.

Let us know how God is blessing you! To share your comments, just click on the comments below.

500th Anniversary of the Reformation - Martin Luther

Published on October 14, 2017

Martin Luther (November 10, 1483 to February 18, 1546) was a German monk who began the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, becoming one of the most influential and controversial figures in Christian history. Luther called into question some of the basic tenets of Roman church, and his followers soon split to begin the Protestant tradition. His actions set in motion reform within the church. A prominent theologian, Luther’s desire for people to feel closer to God led him to translate the Bible into the language of the people, radically changing the relationship between church leaders and their followers.

On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther, angry with Pope Leo X’s new round of indulgences to help build St. Peter’s Basilica, nailed a sheet of paper with his 95 Theses on the University of Wittenberg’s chapel door. Though Luther intended these to be discussion points, the 95 Theses laid out a devastating critique of the indulgences, good works (which sometimes involved monetary donations) that popes could grant to the people to cancel out penance for sins, as corrupting people’s faith. Luther also sent a copy to Archbishop Albert Albrecht of Mainz, calling on him to end the sale of indulgences. Aided by the printing press, copies of the 95 Theses spread throughout Germany within two weeks and throughout Europe within two months.

The Church eventually moved to stop the act of defiance. In March 1521, Luther was summoned before the Diet of Worms, a general assembly of secular authorities. Luther refused to recant his statements, demanding he be shown any scripture that would refute his position. Luther said in his defense:

“Unless I am refuted and convicted by testimonies of the Scriptures or by clear arguments (since I believe neither the Pope nor the Councils alone; it being evident that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am conquered by the Holy Scriptures quoted by me, and my conscience is bound in the word of God: I can not and will not recant any thing, since it is unsafe and dangerous to do any thing against the conscience.”

There was none. On May 8, 1521, the council released the Edict of Worms, banning Luther’s writings and declaring him a “convicted heretic.” This made him a condemned and wanted man. Friends helped him hide out at the Wartburg Castle. While in seclusion, he translated the New Testament into the German language, to give ordinary people the opportunity to read God’s word.

Martin Luther died on February 18, 1546 at the age of 62 during a trip to his hometown of Eisleben.

His last words found in a note he had written, simply said: “We are beggars: this is true.”

Let us know how God is blessing you! To share your comments, just click on the comments below.

Hundreds in Town Turn Out to Pray for Public School Bible Club

Published on September 16, 2017

In what some call the post-Christian era in America, it’s likely many kids will never darken the door of a church.  But they will go to school every day.  And that’s what’s great about student Bible clubs.  They’re right there ministering the Word of God in the place everyone’s going to anyway.

For the last dozen years, that’s what’s been happening every year for hundreds of students at the Redbank Valley High School in New Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

The town is so supportive of the student Bible club, more adults than students showed up for a recent gathering outside the school to pray for the Bible club and kids as the new school year begins.

You may think separation of church and state means you can’t start a Bible club in your school. Not so, says the Redbank Bible club president.

“To start one, it’s easy because they can’t tell you ‘no’ in a public school. It’s completely constitutional,” Peyton Kirkpatrick argued. “The people who are afraid will say ‘no’ until you prove them the facts, and show them that it is constitutional. They can’t tell you ‘no’ as a public school student.”

“Any school is able to have Bible club,” said Ethan Reichard, the club’s vice president. “And I think that it’s a good thing to be able to preach God’s Word to other students, because they may not have the ability to learn about God on their own.”

The club’s public relations officer, Colin Sheffer agreed, saying, “It is absolutely legal to have a Bible club in a public school.  First Amendment rights.”

The Redbank Bible club presents God’s eternal truths, but wraps them up in ways that are fun and fresh – so even those with little or no faith still have a blast at the meetings.

“Every school should have one,” Kirkpatrick advocated. “I mean, in a hurting dark world, the light: it shines brightly.”

This night when the young and old of New Bethlehem came to pray for their school and Bible club, a large contingent of kids and adults from the nearby Brookville School District was on hand.  They came to pray, but also get advice as they attempt to make their own informal Bible group into an official school club. Redbank’s success has touched them.

Claire Haines of the Brookville Area High School Bible Club, said of Redbank, “I actually came to one of their meetings once, and I was so moved by just one meeting, that it really, really boosted my want to have a Bible club.”

Leaders of the two clubs met around a couple of picnic tables by Redbank’s football field.

“I’m very excited to have this opportunity to kind of expand not only the public Bible club influence from here, but to a neighboring district,” Redbank’s Sheffer remarked. “I think it’s exciting for all of us to get to share expertise and knowledge, and really spread the ministry.”

The main message from these students is take a leap of faith and bless your own school with a Bible club.

“I think that not only would it be a good outlet for Christians and people of all religions, but I feel like it would promote more kindness in the school because of the Christian values,” Haines suggested. “So definitely. I feel that schools would definitely benefit.”

Reichard added, “If you are truly committed to God and you want to get His Word out there and you feel like called to that, then I think it’s a really good thing to do and pass it on to other students.”

These Bible club leaders pointed out starting up and running a student Bible club ironically makes you more than just a student. You become an active disciple of Christ.  And it’s perfectly legal right inside a public school.

Let us know how God is blessing you! To share your comments, just click on the comments below.

9/11 Remembrance - Returning to God

Published on September 10, 2017

Immediately following the attacks of September 11, 2001, prayer for our nation was heard everywhere. People from different faiths gathered in Yankee Stadium for the “Prayer for America” event. Members of Congress gathered on the steps of the Capitol singing an impromptu “God Bless America.” Prayer gatherings were held in the Pentagon. On September 14, 2001, many religious leaders, including Billy Graham, were all invited to the National Cathedral to address our leaders and nation on a day set aside, called a “National Day of Prayer & Remembrance.”

In Dr. Graham’s remarks, he said: “We come together today to affirm our conviction that God cares for us, whatever our ethnic, religious or political background may be. The Bible says that He is ‘the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles.’”

Today, those times of prayer have almost totally faded into obscurity. Religious freedoms are coming under attack.

Franklin Graham described our nation this way:

“The Bible tells us that Christians should expect persecution. I don’t know if believers in our own country will ever experience the degree of persecution that is occurring in places such as Iran, but I do know that our religious freedoms are being seriously eroded. Christians are becoming the victims of our country’s growing intolerance and misguided zeal for pluralism. However, Christians who live boldly for Christ, even in the face of opposition, are a strong witness to a morally bankrupt society.”

Although the attacks of 911 were tremendous tragedies inflicted upon our nation — the Bible warns that a people that turns away from God carries more serious consequences (Isaiah 1:15-20).

May it be that we would be a nation that adheres to its declaration, “In God We Trust,” clinging to His promises of 2 Chronicles 7:14:

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Let us know how God is blessing you! To share your comments, just click on the comments below.

Labor Day

Published on September 2, 2017

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

Labor Day in the United States is generally a day known for taking a break from work. For most Americans, it means family BBQs, swim time, beach time, shopping time or camping time.

Labor Day traditionally marks the end of summer (unless you live in a hot climate where it will be hot for a few more months). It also typically means back to school and back to football season.

Before we know it, Christmas will be here and 2017 will be history. How has your year measured up so far? How has your “work” for the Lord come along?

Now is as good of time as any to examine how each one of us is doing – how much are we listening to God by reading His Word? How many times have we shared the Gospel message? How are the things we do and the choices we make reflecting God’s glory and brining Him honor? Here are a few passages from Scripture that might be an encouragement to you as you move forward the last few months of the year:

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. 1 Corinthians 15:58

Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him. John 6:27

I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. John 9:4

And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. Colossians 3:17

And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men… Colossians 3:23

So, as you labor, may you find some time to simply rest in the comfort of God’s Word. It is refreshing and will satisfy each and every one who’s labor and rest is in the Lord.

Let us know how God is blessing you! To share your comments, just click on the comments below.

Russians Share Jesus Christ in Remote Parts of Mongolia

Published on August 27, 2017

46 Christians from neighboring Russia headed to four remote Mongolian provinces where few have heard the message of Christ’s love. Russian pastor and missionary Pavel Barsokov led the mission.

“The heart of my Lord Jesus Christ is for the lost and hurting,” Barsokov said. “I want to have the same heart.”

Barsokov has made dozens of trips to Mongolia.

“From my home in Krasnoyarsk, Russia to Ulaangom, Mongolia is about 900 miles,” Barsokov said. “It takes almost two days driving by road and it is not a easy journey.”

“We have experienced numerous challenges, many hardships as we try to bring God’s love to the remote areas of Mongolia,” he added.

Each time he comes to Mongolia, he brings with him young Russian Christians trained and equipped to serve as possible missionaries and evangelists.

“What I am attempting to do is raise a new generation of Russian believers who will have an understanding of Christ’s love for the world and the role they must play in bringing that Good News to the un-reached.”

17-year-old Alena Barsokov said she got the call to missions at a young age. This is her third visit to Mongolia.

“When I was 9-years-old I read a book about a missionary in a foreign country and since then I have had this burning desire to share God’s love with people who have never heard it before,” Alena said.

Accompanying her on the journey was Natasha Gorodnuk. This is her first trip to the Asian country. She wants to serve as a missionary to Nepal.

“Every time I think about it, my heart breaks because I know the calling on my life and I know what I’m supposed to do,” Natasha said.

For several weeks, Natasha, Alena and four-dozen other Russians partnered with Mongolian Christians to hold evangelistic camps for young people in remote regions of the country.

“We started working together with our Russian brothers and sisters several years ago to reach my people with God’s love,” said Anhaa Zaya, a Mongolian pastor. “What we are doing in partnership is vital for changing hearts and minds.”

In between playing games and enjoying other outdoor activities, camp organizers like Natasha Greschenko introduced Mongolians to Christianity. This is her tenth visit.

“These kids are the future of Mongolia,” exclaimed Greschenko as she taught the kids Bible lessons inside a ger, a traditional Mongolian dwelling place.

“They are future pastors, future church planters, and possibly future leaders of this country,” she added.

“God willing, they will carry the gospel in their hearts and impact their nation for Christ.”

To better appreciate the significance of these evangelistic camps, you have to understand the history of Christianity in Mongolia.

Shortly after the fall of communism, there were only ten believers in the entire country.  Today, 26 years later, some 60,000 believers are spread across this vast nation.

“We are in a remote western part of Mongolia and it is still one of the most un-reached places in the world,” said Michael Cherenkov.

Cherenkov is with Mission Eurasia, a group that focuses on raising the next generation of Christian leaders in countries of the former soviet union and surrounding nations. Mission Eurasia is a major co-sponsor of the evangelistic camps.

“Sometimes we think that people around the world know about Jesus, but there are places like this that haven’t been touched by the gospel and that’s why we are here, changing one life at a time,” said Cherenkov.

Lives like that of 22-year-old Buyanaa Davaasambuu. She accepted Christ while attending camp here as a little girl. Davaasambuu graduated from Bible college in May and is preparing to go on the mission field.

“This camp was foundational to knowing God’s love and preparing my heart to be a missionary,” said Davaasambuu, a Mongolian missionary.

“I try to come back every year to share my experiences of how I encountered Christ.”

For others like 16-year-old Mashbat Bassan, a Buddhist, this was the first time learning about Christianity.

“Before coming to this camp, I never heard about God,” said Baasan.

“I learned in the Bible study today that this God created the heavens and the earth, the animals and creatures of the sea. I never knew of these stories before.”

This is also Khalium Myagmardorj’s first camp experience.

“Many Mongolians don’t believe in Jesus, and before I came to the camp, I also thought I didn’t need to know anything about Him,” said Myagmardorj.

“But now my heart has changed and I’ve learned so much more about Christianity.”

In all, some one thousand young Mongolians heard the gospel, many of them for the first time.

“Millions of people around the world are going to hell because they don’t know Jesus Christ. I’m not interested in politics,” Pastor Barsokov said.

He added, “I’m interested about telling people about Jesus. Lives are in the balance and we are commanded to go and tell others about Christ’s love. This is what we are doing here in Mongolia.”

Report by CBN News

Let us know how God is blessing you! To share your comments, just click on the comments below.