MINSK – Belarus is a land-locked country in Eastern Europe, formerly a part of the now-defunct Soviet Union. Nine and a half million people live in the heavily-forested country of only 80,000 square miles. Belarus is about the size of Kansas, but with three times as many people.
Although the majority of the population self-professes as Christian, even a cursory examination of the evidence tells a different story. It is a story of unchanged lives – lives spent not glorifying God or reflecting the spiritual values of Scripture.
In addition, the citizens of Belarus are subject to a “counterterrorism law” that bans evangelism outside of church buildings. Consider also that the country has been labeled as “not free” by Freedom House, “repressed” by the Index of Economic Freedom, and as “by far” the worst country in Europe of freedom of the press.
It is in this atmosphere that the Lord has raised up a group of Christians committed to publishing Bell, a print newspaper (remember those) dedicated to “objectively cover events in the Christian world, to disseminated reliable, truthful information about various churches and currents in Christianity” for the people of Belarus.
According to our sources at the Bell, “The purpose of our publications is to bring a person to God, to the Church, to help the fallen person to recover, to become stronger spiritually.”
From an American perspective, publishing a newspaper may seem a bit out of touch. In America, where fewer and fewer people read newspapers, that perception holds water. Belarus is a different place and a different story altogether.
There are many villages in Belarus where there is no contact with Christians. In addition, many people do not have access to basic necessities of life and certainly not to the internet.
By publishing a Christ-centered newspaper, the staff of Bell is able to deliver the news and the Gospel message without circumventing the anti-evangelism laws. People are hungry for factual news and ever more so, for the Good News of the love of Jesus.
The newspaper is not only delivered to homes but also at hospitals, nursing homes, hospitals, and prisons where thousands who need to hear the Gospel have time to read and think.
Evangelical churches distribute copies of the news as part of their personal evangelism programs, festivals, and events.
To broaden the effective reach of Bell, the staff regularly distributes fee subscriptions to “some of the most influential people in every city” including politicians, educators, and corporate leaders.” They get the news and the Christian content that is always in every issue of the Bell.
The Bell always supports the local church as it addresses its main task of serving “Christians and people who are looking for God: to respond to their spiritual needs, to help in following the Lord, to support, inspire, encourage, equip, serve people with an actual word from God. The newspaper also serves those who (have) stumbled and departed from the Lord. Materials that are published in the Bell help people find the strength to return to God, to become part of the Church.”
Join us as we pray for this vital ministry of the Bell in Belarus.
- Evangelical Focus, Spreading God’s Word in Belarus
- Christian Newspaper “Bell”, About the newspaper
- Wikipedia, Belarus
- Alpha Stock Images, Creative Commons 3 – CC BY-SA 3.0