In July of 2016, Russian president Vladimir Putin approved a package of anti-terrorism laws that usher in tighter restrictions on missionary activity and evangelism in Russia. But despite these new laws, teams of young people are actively sharing the Good News and planting churches. In partnership with the Russian Church of Christians of Evangelical Faith, OneHope is reaching families all throughout Russia with God’s Word through the Hosanna Plan. This church-planting initiative was created to share God’s Word with each of the approximately 100,000 cities, towns, and villages that have not yet received the Good News and do not have a church. Since the Hosanna Plan ﬁrst started in 2010, more than 20 million children and youth have received the Book of Hope, many in previously unreached areas of Russia.
When a Hosanna Plan team ﬁrst came to Lynette’s small Russian town, she didn’t want to hear anything about God or his love. A mother of two, she was content with the way her life was going; she didn’t need God. However, everything changed after the team started a home church, and Lynette’s neighbors started attending. Soon, her friends were bringing up stories of Jesus Christ into their everyday conversations. Before long, Lynette and her whole family joined this small yet growing church. When the team returned to the town to visit the church and provide support, Lynette’s entire family was overjoyed to meet with them and talk about their newfound faith over a homecooked meal and tea. Lynette’s husband Ali shared that he wanted to publicly declare his commitment to God through baptism!
In 2016, in conjunction with the Hosanna Plan, we launched the GameLife program, a 3-day camp for children teaching biblical principles and leadership. Each day includes three components: the Game Zone (focusing on biblical truth), the Discovery Zone (exploring God’s Word verse-by-verse), and the Life Zone (application of the truth). Ultimately, GameLife is a church planting tool training children to act as missionaries to their families.
We also began distributing the Russian Youth Book of Hope. This book presents the hope of Jesus through a harmony of the four gospels, sharing Scripture along with articles that relate to everyday issues such as forgiveness and failure. “Did You Know?” statements throughout the book present facts about the authenticity and historicity of the Bible. This version of the Book of the Hope helps teens recognize that the Bible is historically accurate and that a personal relationship with God is possible through Jesus.
Other resources used in Hosanna Plan efforts include The GodMan ﬁlm, the Early Elementary Edition Modiﬁed Book of Hope, and the Bible App for Kids.