East-West Church & Ministry Report
Vol. 4, No. 1, Winter 1996, Covering the Former Soviet Union and East Central Europe

Letters to the Editors

I want to comment on one aspect of "A Call for New Strategies and Structures," EWCM & Report 3 (Summer 1995), 1-2. The author, Sergei Sannikov, concluded with an appeal for Western funds to construct "church, university, and educational buildings" in order to assure the future of the Russian Baptist Church. I think this is, instead, a recipe for the eventual destruction of the Baptists. All that it will assure is that the present generation has some buildings to hopefully soon grow out of. What will they do then? A missionary strategy which makes the church in Russia continue to be dependent on Western financial support dooms that church to eventual failure as a missionary community. Together we must use our resources to find ways for the Russian church to become self-sufficient. That will prepare it for the long term.

John McNeill,
Youth With a Mission

Concerning language study before departure vs. on the field, (EWC&M Report 3 (Fall 1995) 4-6), now that I have seen both, I think starting before departure is best, as long as it is through a conversationally oriented program like Russian Language Ministries (RLM).  The main reason is to develop a grammatical understanding for the language.  This provides a framework, like the steel girders of a building, that a new missionary can build upon once on the field.  While at RLM, another missionary couple, back after two years on the field, said to me, "You don't know how fortunate you are to get this foundation first."  While in Irkutsk, several missionaries with no prior training said, "We can really see how your time at RLM helped."  That being said, for more advanced study, there is no substitute for being on the field.  My conversation skills and comprehension did not develop nearly as quickly stateside as they did in Irkutsk.

Steve Godfrey
Church Resource Ministries
Milwaukee, WI  / Irkutsk, Siberia 

Letters to the Editors. East-West Church & Ministry Report, 4 (Winter 1996), 11-12.

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1996 Institute for East-West Christian Studies
ISSN 1069-5664

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