Ministry and Martial Arts in Russia’s Vast Krasnoyarsk Region
SGA Missionary Pastor Coordinator for Russia
While traveling through Russia’s vast Krasnoyarsk region recently, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet many SGA-sponsored missionary pastors. I would like to share the story of one special brother who uses martial arts as part of his unique church-planting and evangelism labors.
Alexander’s ministry encompasses a large area known as the Tuva Republic. This region was officially joined to the Soviet Union sometime after World War II. Local religions and beliefs include Shamanism and Buddhism. The Tuvinians have their own culture and language, but Russian is commonly used.
Alexander is Russian, but he was born in the Tuva region and has lived there most of his life. In his youth he excelled in karate. At one point when karate was forbidden in the Soviet Union, he was given the choice of being arrested for his participation in martial arts, or to work in the Soviet police. He accepted the police offer and spent seven years in this field, at the end becoming a captain. Through his career, Alexander continued to grow and eventually earned a black belt and second dan (high level of mastery). In the mid 1990s, Alexander came to Christ through his relatives. He rapidly grew in his faith, and in time he became a pastor in his local church.
Today, in addition to his church and evangelistic ministry, Alexander continues in karate and serves as president of the Tuvinian Federation of Karate. He coaches and uses this as an opportunity to share the Gospel. After every training session, he does a 5-7 minute mini sermon. Thus far, some 30 people have come to his church after being introduced to the things of the Lord through Alexander’s lessons. There are many others who have become believers while studying karate under Alexander’s tutelage. SGA partners have supported his ministry for about 15 years, and Alexander sends his love from a thankful heart. For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God (2 Corinthians 9:12).