By Jay Rogers
Published August 1, 1991
In July of this year, a student newspaper was established in the Soviet Union. This publication will go forth on the university campuses as a voice to the youth of our generation; it will be a bright and shining light in a dark place. Exactly one day after the coup, this newspaper was printed in Moscow. We thank God for His miraculous timing!
Choosing a Name
The name Forerunner translates several different ways in the Russian language. We wanted our subscribers and supporters in the United States to immediately identify this newspaper as the Russian language Forerunner, so initially the name Predtecha was chosen. Predtecha means literally, “one who runs before.” However, we discovered that this is an archaic name associated with Russia’s past. The word Predtecha appears in the Russian Bible, but it is not generally used or understood.
So another name – Predvestnik – was chosen. Predvestnik means literally “Foreteller.” It has the same meaning as a “herald,” or a “prophet.” This is the meaning we want to convey. This newspaper will go forth in the spirit and power of Elijah to preach the gospel in all the Soviet Union.
There is an unprecedented opportunity in the Soviet Union today to saturate this society with Christian literature. The average Soviet citizen has been raised in total atheism – in a world where the name of Jesus Christ was rarely mentioned. To counter this famine for the Word of God, New Testaments and Bibles in the Russian language are being delivered by the ton to the existing churches and ministries. Speaking with Christian students, I discovered that most Christians in the Soviet Union now have Bibles. There is now an even greater need for other types of Christian literature.
This is where Predvestnik comes in. I will be a “new, sharp threshing sledge with double edges.” It will openly challenge the principles of Marxist-Leninism, while presenting a fresh, exciting gospel message to the youth. There are now no nationally distributed Christian youth newspapers of this type in the Soviet Union. From time to time, local editions of Christian newspapers will spring up in the western cities, but many perish due to a lack of financial support, equipment, trained staff and supplies.
Due to this lack, the potential for Predvestnik is very great. There is a great demand for Christian literature caused by a virtual spiritual desert. The vision for Predvestnik is to be a vast lake full of God’s Word at the center of this desert.
There is in reality an almost unlimited demand for Christian literature in the Soviet Union. Our first printing, 100,000 copies, is only a drop in the bucket compared to the vastness of what God desires to supply. With an exchange rate of above 30 rubles to the dollar, we were able to supply the formation of this newspaper at a low cost. For example, $2000 was able to cover all the expenses for myself and a staff of four people living and travelling in the Soviet Union for one month as well as printing 100,000 copies of the first edition.
Now is the best time for the beginning of such a publication. We are beginning this great work with virtually perfect timing. We have the opportunity to become the first nationally distributed Christian publication of this type in the Soviet Union.
This project is being funded by friends and subscribers of The Forerunner. We wish to thank every person who has contributed thus far. The support of this newspaper is one of the most fruitful investments in missionary work that you can make. Consider that the average salary in the Soviet Union is 260 rubles per month. At the current exchange rate (30 rubles to the dollar), a gift of 100 dollars could pay for the support of one staff member for an entire year!
We hired several Christian journalists, photographers and artists in Kiev as full time staff. Each comes with a recommendation from a pastor of a thriving church in Kiev. Alexey Salapatov, the managing editor, is a computer science student at an institute in Kiev most of the year. He and Roman Medvid, another computer programmer, are currently responsible for the editorial work of Predvestnik. They will continue to provide oversight and leadership of the newspaper and later in the year staff members will be added.
An apartment in Kiev will be leased as the main office for Predvestnik. We also want to provide a photocopier and a $2000 professional quality post-script laser printer (currently we have an ink jet printer) and provide supplies which are impossible to obtain in the Soviet Union.
There are many road blocks when working within the socialist system. The recent upheaval in the Soviet government is one such hindrance. Therefore, all of these plans are tentative and subject to change. However, in the formative stages of this newspaper, God has moved miraculously to remove many roadblocks. The providence of God has been evident from the very beginning and I believe that He will continue to provide the finances necessary to complete foundation laying of this newspaper. I believe that the current obstacles will be taken out of the way.
We are building for the long term, but there is a sense of urgency to act now to make this publication solid and capable of supporting itself if the need arises.
Would you consider supporting this project at this time? Now is the time for the harvest in the Soviet Union! Your financial giving is greatly needed and appreciated.
- Jay Rogers
Managing Editor, The Forerunner
Editorial Consultant, Predvestnik
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Watch a clip from Martin Luther.
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