Keenan Beere
SGA Bible Training Administrator

Keenan (left) and Vlad (right)

A key highlight in my recent teaching trip was the opportunity to spend time with Vlad, an SGA missionary pastor in Azerbaijan. He has suffered from cerebral palsy since birth. Because of his disability, he has a lot of difficulty walking and talking. He and his wife had once been in Ukraine’s Lugansk region, but they had to flee their home due to the war. It was quite a change for this couple, who had moved from a country that generally accepted Christians to a Muslim country where Christians can face great difficulties. Vlad regularly preaches at the main church in the Azeri capital of Baku, and often leads the service, though Ilya Zenchenko is the senior pastor of the church. Vlad conducts various Bible studies through the week with both believers and unbelievers. He is also discipling two young men who are ministering to university students in Baku. 

Vlad and his wife have suffered more than most of us. I asked them what motivates them to keep going, and Vlad quoted John 6:68 . . . Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. He added that they have seen the Lord’s faithfulness and that the Lord is giving them many more ministry opportunities in Baku than they ever had in Lugansk. Life is still difficult for them, but this brother was a true testimony to me of a perseverant faith.

Along with the “stan” nations of Central Asia, Azerbaijan has a dominant Muslim population.

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