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Predvestnik: The Russian Language Forerunner

Global Vision for Predvestnik

By Sergei Zavgorodny
Published June 1, 1994

English translation by Roman Medvid

The Global Vision for Predvestnik, The Russian language Forerunner

To build a distribution network that will blanket all of the former USSR; to reach China with the printed word; and to penetrate the Muslim world with the Gospel.

Predvestnik’s Current Distribution Network

Predvestnik has been distributed in every former Soviet republic with the exception of Turkmenistan and Tadjikistan. We have been limited in Tadjikistan by the war between the radical Muslims and the existing government; and in Turkmenistan by the restrictive religious situation.

Future Plans for Expanding Distribution

Our goal is to enter into the state subscription service. It is the most prospective way of increasing distribution. We will take this opportunity so that individuals in all of Ukraine, Russia and Belorus may subscribe to Predvestnik. Each country uses a similar service. The state system works this way: Anyone may go to their post office and order a subscription from a list of publications. Predvestnik would be listed as a Christian publication. Any person in any town or small village will be able to subscribe to Predvestnik.

We are going to expand our contacts with Kazakhstan. We have very good contacts with the missions and churches there. We are looking to expand this influence further than Kazakhstan down to the south to the unreached territories.

We also have distributors in Russia in the region of the Black Sea. We want to use these contacts to help us to distribute newspapers to the south to Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan.

A future goal for distributing Predvestnik is to reach more remote areas. Major cities already have large ministries and the people have begun to grow less open to the Gospel. However, in rural areas there are many people who have never heard the name of Jesus Christ. There is a great openness and a hunger for spiritual truth in remote regions. Our priority is to expand into these regions. The state subscription service can help us to achieve this goals.

Ethnic Languages

Russian is still the primary language spoken in the former USSR. The official national languages in 14 republics have changed, but this has not had a great effect. One good thing that the Soviet Union did was to teach Russian to all the people groups and to standardize the language. Before the Russian Revolution, there were even peculiar alphabets using letters in Old Slavonic. Many ethnic peoples were illiterate before the time of the Soviet Union. More people speak Russian than ever before and the native languages use the Cyrillic alphabet.

We discussed the possibility to do ethnic language newspapers, such as in Ukrainian, Byelorussian, Tatar or Kazakhi. There is no sense to do a version in Ukrainian or Byelorussian. Most of these people still speak Russian as a primary language. Russian is understood by all people who speak Ukrainian and Byelorussian. As to the languages that are utterly different than Russian, this proposal makes some sense. It would take some time and effort to develop these newspapers.

We want to print a Chinese newspaper, The Mandate, and train a Chinese staff. We will also produce special editions for Muslims in Russian with the idea of eventually producing ethnic language newspapers with trained staffs. The Muslim edition could easily be translated into ethnic languages as an evangelistic tool to reach Muslims throughout Russia, central Asia and the Middle East.

Global Vision and the 10/40 Window

The 10/40 window is a region that is almost completely unreached with the Gospel. The nations situated between the 10th and 40th parallel are oppressed by poverty, dictatorial governments and false religions. This is the most difficult area of the world to penetrate. Today, we see that Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan are at the heart of the 10/40 window. These nations have been the focus of continual international crises.

The most strategic opening in the 10/40 window is from the north. The nations of ancient Turkestan (Kazakhstan, Kirghistan, Uzbekistan, Tadjikistan and Uzbekistan) lie directly above modern day Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. We will see these nations open up to the Gospel in our day as result of the spiritual awakening in the former Soviet Union. Predvestnik can have a part in opening the 10/40 window by producing Christian literature aimed at Muslims in Central Asia. We will cooperate with indigenous missions in this area such as Agapé and Grace ministries in Kazakhstan. We plan to send a representative to visit these areas soon and have our first special edition aimed at Muslims by the end of 1994.

Kiev as a Missions Center

The purpose of Predvestnik is to publish information on the true history of the church; to answer questions the common people have about the Bible, Christianity and the church; to print articles dealing with the simple Gospel message of salvation; and to be a source of relevant information from a sound biblical viewpoint. Our goal for the next three years is to print and distribute one million copies of Predvestnik; and to translate and print short paperback books and tracts.

In doing so, we will develop a network of people who will read Christian publications in years to come. These people will be able to support the work of publishing in their own countries when their economies improve. Then they will be able to support missionary efforts to surrounding nations such as the Muslim and Chinese blocs. But the time of spiritual openness is short, we need to act in a progressive manner to evangelize and disciple the people of the former Soviet Union through the printed word.

Within the next three years, our purpose is to become both more stable and widespread while beginning new works within the former USSR; to distribute Christian literature to unreached nations and people groups; to expand into the furthest reaches of the former USSR, China and central Asia.


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