The Belarus government has established restrictions on freedom of speech and religion. Religious activities at educational institutions are considered to be illegal. Protestant Christians are experiencing the most pressure from the government. It is illegal in Belarus to read the bible in homes or dormitories, although you are allowed to in church buildings. The Belarus government also disapproves of partnerships between national and foreign organisations.
Belarusian students do not receive much support from local churches because the students have non-Christian friends, which is frowned upon. Moreover most pastors do not approve of interdenominational gatherings. So students experience pressure from both the government and the established churches.
The greatest strength of student groups is the discipleship relationships. One of the main challenges of working with students is the lack of a leadership structure. There is also the need for a clear vision for how to involve students to a greater degree so that they would own the ministry. Financial limitations prevent working with more students.
View from the inside
M is involved with student work. She says, ‘I think the most exciting thing is to be a part of God’s marvellous work of saving people and helping them to grow in their faith.’ One of the bible verses that has inspired her is John.15:5: ‘I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.’
Please pray with us:
- for the fruit of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of people involved in student work;
- for God to show church leaders the importance of supporting Christian students;
- for greater freedom for Belarusian Christians.