I just spent the day in Chechnya.
Less than two decades ago, this Russian republic in the southern region known as the Caucuses was completely decimated by war. In fact, the UN called Chechnya the worst war-time destruction in any territory since WWII. Even as the capital city of Grozny began to rebuild, skirmishes continued to plague the city until just a few years ago and the area remains a key recruiting area for militant Islamic groups.
Today, a few tall buildings are beginning to repopulate the skyline, a brand new state of the art mall is under construction, and the foundation has been poured for a 102 story, Dubai-inspired high-rise. We walked down a quaint, brick-paved pedestrian street lined with cafes and retail shops, ate in an authentic Chechen restaurant, and had a great Americano brewed from a mobile mini-van barista. It was not at all what I expected.
But while the physical Chechnya may be coming back to life, the spiritual Chechnya is still void of the Gospel.
At the center of the city’s redevelopment stands an ornate mosque that can hold up to 10,000 people. Few things move me more than hearing the Muslim call to prayer. It’s the sound of devout longing, the cry of a people who know no Savior other than a shot-in-the-dark hope in their own pious discipline.
These are the hard, resistant places we must take the hope of Jesus. Not because we are “right” and they are wrong, but because we are all completely hopeless apart from Him.
Whenever I travel to unreached areas of the world, I’m not sure what moves me more deeply — meeting people who have no access to the gospel, or meeting the people who give their lives and their families to go to these hard places. They’re my heroes.
So today, we walked the streets of Grozny and prayed with some of our new missionary friends. We prayed for the Spirit of God to move among these beautiful people. We prayed for Jesus to begin drawing Chechens to Himself. We prayed for God to raise up more workers who will go to unreached places like these so that everyone can have access to the Gospel.
Let’s not forget to pray for those who have never heard the message of Jesus and for the missionaries who give everything to make sure they do.
You don’t have to be a theologian to be a missionary. We need teachers, and entrepreneurs, and businesspeople. We need give-a-years, and short-term specialists, as well as full-time appointments. If you feel God tugging on your heart, we can help you connect the dots.
“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” —Romans 10:15