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22 Aug 2009
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The videos provide a variety of information concerning the people, their
environment, and their culture as well as how you can become involved in
reaching the peoples of Bashkortostan, Russia for Christ. A brief summary
of each of the chapters is provided below.
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The Bashkirs: Yesterday,
Today, HOPE for Tomorrow
Filmed September 2007
Russia, a republic about the size
of Arkansas, USA, is strategically located on the Eastern edge of the
Ural mountains and only 700 miles from Moscow. Ufa is the
capital city. There are more than 120 nationalities
represented in the approximately 4 million people living in
Bashkortostan. Two-thirds of the people live in urban areas
and only one-third in rural areas.
for the Peoples of Bashkortostan
Rich in natural resources, the Republic of Bashkortostan has
reason to celebrate and to hope for a good economic future. A wide
range of economic activity provides sufficient opportunity for the
ethnic and religious groups who live side by side in this
The Friendship Alliance
established some 450 years ago signaled hope for a peaceful and
prosperous future for the peoples of this land. October 11, 2007,
the 450th Anniversary of this alliance was celebrated
and attended by Bashkort President Murtaza Rachimov
and Russian President Vladimir Putin along with other
foreign heads of state and diplomats.
The Russian – Bashkir Friendship Alliance
made in the distant past was indeed a momentous event. Yet, it is
nothing when compared with the cross of Calvary and the salvation
offered by Jesus Christ. He alone is the source of true hope.
News for Krivlye 6:57 (
The main street in this small village of
Krivlya is only about a mile from the beginning of the village to
its end. The pathway for the 700 or so people living here is
shared with an old tractor and its grain wagon, the horse and
cart, herds of sheep and milk cows and perhaps a motorcycle or
car. The public school is along this street - the largest building
in Krivlya. About two blocks away is a grain processing and
storage facility. The wood frame homes, most of which are old,
line both sides of the street. There are a few recently
constructed masonry buildings.
No church building is in this village. On the
east end of Main Street, however, is a place where evangelical
believers meet. There is no sign pointing the way but all in the
village know about those who meet in the pastor’s home.
Lonely Place 10:12
All-alone an old man shuffles his way up to a memorial that
commemorates a horrendous time for Russia.
Seldom alone, crowds of people in the cities
are following a familiar path. There may be a few who have chosen
a different path - a lonely path. These few are believers in Jesus
Less than .1% of those living
here are evangelical believers. Several small churches have
been started often meeting in homes or in rented office
space. Most congregations are small and their pastor is
bi-vocational and has limited time to devote to the outreach
work. Half of the churches in Bashkortostan do not have their own
building because it is difficult to find a place to rent and very
expensive if found.
There are four million
people living in Bashkortostan but merely four thousand
evangelical Christians and only 24 Baptist churches. The
responsibility to take the Gospel to this entire Republic is
great. Your help is needed. Your prayers are essential. Your
support can make a difference. You can be part of reaching
Bashkortostan for Christ.
“The Morning Comes and
Also the Night”
“During the 1860’s,
it was very dark in the religious world of the Russian people, but the
morning had really begun to dawn. This was when the last books of the
Bible were translated from the old Slavic language into Russian.” *
"The Word of
God had a great influence upon the religious condition of the
people. It was like the first rays of the rising sun in the
early morning. Simple workmen and peasants began to read the
Bible and the New Testament. Blessed truths gripped their
hearts and transformed their lives. They began to preach the
Gospel to their neighbors. Thus it was that the Gospel was
let loose and the Evangelical Movement began in Russia.”*
The Orthodox Church has
been the dominant religious organization in Russia for a thousand
years. For most of this time, it was the State Church and enjoyed
the political power and the financial backing of the government as
well as the control of religious activities in Russia.
Significant changes were underway in the latter part of the 1800’s
as the Evangelical Christian Movement began. As it grew, the
persecution also grew. By 1905, there were over 20,000 Russian
Baptists and by 1928, over 600,000 Baptist Believers as well as
thousands of Believers of other denominations.
this movement as a threat to his power. He enacted a law that
effectively halted all evangelical church planting. A systematic
annihilation of all religious organizations began including
evangelicals. By the time the Soviet Union fell in 1991, the
number of evangelical Believers was reduced to less than 10% of
that during the 1920’s. The oppression has not destroyed the
church. The Believers have become stronger in the Word and
*I. S. Prokhanoff, In the Cauldron of
Russia (1869-1933), Autobiography of I. S. Prokhanoff,
Founder and Honorary President of the All-Russian Evangelical Christian
Union; (New York, 1933 All-Russian Evangelical Christian Union) page 25.
Remaking of Bashkortostan, Russia
Bashkortostan is beautiful in many ways,
but life all across this Republic is changing. The tree lined
hills and valleys, rustic rail fences and green pastures make
picturesque scenes for the traveler and the resident alike. Small
villages next to fast flowing mountain streams or nestled among
the trees are homes to many but, in reality, they are relics of
the past; slowly decaying into history as the younger generation
move to the cities to find employment.
This is the Republic of Bashkortostan
miles from Moscow and on the western edge of the Ural Mountains.
All across this land, from the rural villages to the large
cities, from the political power of the churches and the mosques
to freedom of religion for all, from a state controlled economy
to free market enterprises, changes are under way.
Then and Now 12:31
A long time ago in the land of the Bashkirs several families sought
protection from tribal conflict as they built their homes next to a
small fort established by the Russian military. This garrison, with
its watchtowers, provided security for those living along the banks of
the White River. The settlement grew and, in a few years, the village
known as “Ufa” was founded. This was in the year 1574.
Logs cut from the
surrounding forest were used to construct homes for the ever-increasing
population. Eventually, some of the muddy roads were paved with
cobblestone to make it easier to travel from place to place. Houses of
worship were also built … some for the Russian Orthodox believers and
others for the Tatars and Bashkirs who were Muslim. By 1802, the
protection of the fort was no longer needed. Ufa was designated the
capital of the region that later became known as Bashkortostan … the
land of the Bashkirs.
do We go from Here? 6:42
These decaying buildings were part of the Communist farm collective system
of the former Soviet Union. It was the centerpiece of an
aggressive farm policy where all were to work together in
fulfilling the government dictated quota of products. However,
this policy resulted in a significant decline in production
causing famine and starvation among the farm families of Russia.
Today, these buildings and rusty machinery are little more than
grave markers for a failed system.
The farms of Bashkortostan are now based on a
free market economy. They are very productive but no longer
labor-intensive enterprises. Huge tractors, pulling
five-bottom ploughs till the rich black soil. With a roar
and a cloud of dust, new combines quickly harvest vast amounts of
Sweet Gift 4:08
mp4-LW; Script ) Mmm … mmm sweet Lipa
nowhere else in the world. The flavor of this delicious honey is
so distinctive that the Bashkortostan honeybee has been
awarded gold and silver medals in Russia. The honey produced has
received international gold medals.
Beehives are everywhere - from the large business to the small
backyard family enterprise. In Bashkortostan, it is the
honey, beebread and beeswax that provide the economic venue,
whereas in the United States the pollinating of fruit and
vegetables is the primary purpose of commercial bee operations.
flavor of Bashkirian Honey owes its unique character to a
large tree known as the Lipa or Linden Tree. This tree
blooms during June and July with small white flowers.
Along this main street there are no sidewalks. There is no need
since most everyone walks down the middle of the street. There
are a few cars and trucks along with horse-drawn wagons.
Occasionally, a fast moving sidecar motorcycle passes by.
The only traffic jams are those that occur early in the
morning and the late afternoon when the flocks of sheep and herds
of cows make their way to and from the daytime pasture. The cows
are pinned up at night where they are milked in the evening and
morning. Many of the residents have one or two cows that
are milked by hand.
We are making a return visit to the village
of Krivlya, population of 700. It seems as if nothing has
changed in the 4 years since our last visit. The mayor of
Krivlya invited us to visit the school and we gladly accepted.
The school and kindergarten is the place for the future of this
village of Krivlya. Yet, across the road, there is a horse
and wagon with a driver who is also a part of this village. Will
the children of Krivlya remain here continuing the simple but
difficult lifestyle of their grandparents or will they follow
other young people who have left the village for the larger
American visitors, SPASÍBO, … thank you … to
the residents of the quiet, friendly and peaceful village of
the Future 9:39 (HD-720;
Their future before them, their parents beside them and carrying bright
bouquets of flowers for their teachers, these students are ready for
classes to begin on this first day of September 2007.
The bright sunshine of
this early morning event is accentuated with the smartly dressed
girls and boys eager to begin the new year of building their
future place in the life of Bashkortostan, Russia.
Talking among themselves as the P.A. system broadcasts the latest
musical beat, the focus quickly changes as the Russian
national anthem is played followed by the Bashkortostan
A Church Without the
Script ) A century ago Russian Orthodox Churches
dominated the skyline of nearly every city, town and village of
Russia. There were gleaming gold-plated domes and ornate towers in
the big cities such as Moscow and Saint Petersburg. Following a
similar theme, were other cities, from Minsk in Western Russia to
Ufa in the East near the Ural Mountains. In the towns and
villages, large gleaming white masonry structures appeared out of
place among the small wooden houses. Throughout the country, these
churches seemed to be an opulent display of religious power with
little regard for the welfare of the populace.
The Orthodox Church services are conducted amidst the glamorous
splendor of gold and silver, but there is no religious teaching.
The people do not know the Word of God and are captive to a life
of fear and hopelessness ... no salvation, ... no eternity. They
do not have the source of joy and life. It is A Church Without the
Submission" 5:30 (HD-720;
mp4-L; Script ) It
is the year 1574. Islam has been here for over 500 years and is
now the dominant religion among the tribes living in the land we
call Bashkortostan. The word “Islam”, when translated,
means “peace and submission” but this new religion did
not stop the wars, the killing and the plundering among the
peoples of this area.
It was a
desperate situation for the tribal elders. Needing help, they
chose to make the difficult 700-mile journey to Moscow to meet
with Ivan the Terrible, Tsar of Russia. They requested, and
received, support from Ivan’s army. A friendship alliance was
put into place between Moscow and the tribal elders of
Bashkortostan. It was Orthodox Christians and Muslims working
together for peace. This opened the door for
significant migration of the Russians to the tribal area. By the late 1700’s, a
large portion of the land was controlled by the Russian immigrants. The
Muslim Bashkirs had now become peasants working for the Orthodox Russian
Today, the descendents of the
Russian immigrants makeup about one-third of the population and
are Russian Orthodox. Over one-half
of the population follows Sunni Islam most of whom are
descendants of the indigenous population. There are several
mosques in the country. The Tulip Mosque in Ufa, so called because
of its tulip shaped minarets, is the largest.
of Hope 12:08
Out of the Ural Mountains the waters
came turbulent, fast moving ... but the river was following a
well worn path. It is here in the rich farmland of central
Bashkortostan that it found tranquility, peace and solitude.
In the cities and towns, - day in, day out -
the people travel on the same road; tired, discouraged. But
only 30 miles from Ufa and near the Sym River - there is a
path that few travel. Those who find this path discover hope, truth and salvation. In this tranquil, forested area is a
group of buildings - a camp. The entrance sign says “Summer
Children's Christian Camp, SAIL OF HOPE”. Camp Paros Nadhzde is a place where boys and girls, men and women can escape
crowded city life and spend a few days of fun, adventure, meeting
new friends and, most important, hearing the Word of God.
was purchased in the year 2007 by the Baptist Union in
Bashkortostan. For 15 years prior to this time, the camp had
not been used. Consequently, a significant amount of work was
required to prepare for the upcoming summer camp.
The Forgotten Ones
mp4-L; Script ) It
is the first day of school and children are all dressed up and
carrying beautiful bouquets of flowers for their teachers.
Parents and grandparents proudly join in trying to capture the
excitement. Most of these families make their home in a high-rise
apartment complex in Ufa - some are new - others are old. A wide
variety of single-family homes are clustered along the White River
and away from the high-rise apartments. A number of of these
houses are large enough to include the extended family.
However, there are those for whom life is much
different. There is no caring family; no place to feel safe.
They might find a place to sleep down the alleyways, behind the
graffiti walls, next to the discarded alcohol bottles or, perhaps, in the decaying wood frame buildings scattered
throughout the city. It is in these neglected and out of the way
places that The Forgotten Ones live a precarious life.
Most are teenagers without a family who cares. Furthermore, they
are faced with scorn and persecution by government officials.
These are the street kids of Ufa.
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