DALLAS — For 10 years, United Methodists committed to the church’s Russia Initiative have endured the infamous Russian bureaucracy. They have struggled with language barriers, travelled long and hard in territory that covers 11 time zones and weathered stinging blizzards.
But almost 300 United Methodists who gathered in Dallas for the 10th Russia Initiative Consultation from Nov 7-9, 2002 affirmed that the struggle of making disciples, in a bastion of atheism, has been worth the financial and spiritual costs. .
The Rev Bruce Weaver, Executive Director of the Russia Initiative, recalled that one of the first things America’s United Methodists did after the fall of communism was to connect with the humanitarian-oriented Soviet Peace Foundation — now the non-profit Russia Peace Foundation, which still works faithfully with United Methodists — to send food and medicine to Russia during a food crisis..
Since then, the mission work in Russia has only become more difficult, he said, noting that “there are more bureaucratic hoops to jump through, more fees to pay”..
The upside of the story is that the Russia Initiative — whose goal from the start has been to support the Russia United Methodist Church until it can become self-sufficient — “is moving beyond conflicts and problems”, he said. — United Methodist News Service.