Eurasia is a large territory covering 12 countries of the former Soviet Union. Having gained independence in 1991 after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, most of the countries are trying to find their national identity and many are struggling economically. Most Eurasians identify themselves as either Muslim (in Central Asia and Azerbaijan) or Orthodox.
IFES in Eurasia
- largest movement CCX-Ukraine – about 1,300 students in the country’s 5 regions
- smallest movement is in a country in Central Asia, a pioneering ministry of 5-15 students
Living as a Christian believer in the Eurasian context is very challenging as opposition can come from family, local authorities and the government. Where there is freedom student groups flourish; others struggle to exist under difficult circumstances. Generally there is no freedom to meet on campuses.
However, Eurasian movements are inching forward in growth and development, and are showing tenacity in the midst of very difficult and hostile contexts. Leadership of most movements has been turned over to nationals and the indigenous staff are owning the vision and carrying it forward in ways appropriate to each context.
View from the inside
Christy Jutare is the former Regional Secretary for the IFES Eurasia region. She says, ‘I believe this is a ministry God has called me to. I accepted Christ when I was in high school and know myself better because of my relationship with him. The way I looked at myself, others and the world changed, I found purpose in life. I am excited to see students also finding their worth in Christ, walking with him and inviting others to have a relationship with him.’
Among verses that have encouraged Christy in her challenging ministry is Psalm 139:2: ‘You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.’
- for God to continue to give perseverance to students when they face opposition from family, friends and authorities because of their faith in Christ;
- for grace and wisdom to live lives of obedience in the midst of such difficulties;
- for boldness to share Christ with other students and people in their context.