We both recently traveled to the Far East region of Chukotka, located in the extreme northeast right across the Bering Strait from Alaska. Chukotka is the second least populated region in Russia with a population barely over 50,000—and the climate is very harsh. When we arrived in the town of Pevek, we were met by a wonderful family of missionaries named Pavel and Nadia Rozhkov. As we listened to their story, we were filled with admiration for their commitment to God and their faithfulness.
While Pavel had moved to Chukotka from Moscow, Nadia came from California in the U.S. She met Pavel during a missionary trip to Chukotka, where they eventually married and committed their lives to Gospel ministry. They earned respect in their town by adopting two small Chukchi children, and their church—the only one in the region—has gained influence in the town. The town authorities even invite the church to participate in local concerts.
Thus far, the church has ten members, with up to 30 in attendance. Services are held in a three-room apartment and some even have to stand in the corridor. The town itself has about 4,000 residents, made up of Russians and Chukchi. Many are alcoholics, and 20 percent of the population have HIV. Pavel and Nadia make visits to reindeer farms to take the Gospel to the Chukchi. They travel 100-200 miles across tundra by car or by oversnow vehicles. The journey is difficult and dangerous, but the visits have borne fruit. Several have received the Gospel and have come to know the Lord. The headmen of the villages ask Pavel and Nadia to come because the people are drinking their lives away, and they see the God proclaimed by this missionary couple as the only way out.
We met a young Chukchi man named Sergei. He grew up out in the tundra and became a believer when he went to a larger town to get an education. He is preparing for baptism and he wants to grow in the faith so he can go back to the tundra and share the Gospel with his people. He thanks God for salvation and freedom!
Pray for Pavel, Nadia, and Sergei as they continue their labors. Pavel has been unanimously chosen by his church as a candidate for pastoral ministry with a probationary year. Thank you for your prayers and support of our ministries here in Russia’s Far East!