A new adventure in Central Asia!
Through an exciting partnership, we are embarking on a project working powerfully among the unreached peoples of Central Asia. Our partners are a wonderful Christian university based in the former Soviet Republic of Moldova. Their name is Universitatea Divitia Gratiae (UDG) – The University of the Riches of Grace (Eph 2:7).
You may wonder how it is that a university based in Chisinau, the capital of Moldova, could be an ideal launchpad for ministry in Central Asia – after all, Moldova is in Europe! But in God’s amazing providence, Moldova’s Soviet history has provided the opening for this missionary opportunity.
In the late Soviet period, a young man named Mihai Malancea was due to be posted for compulsory military service. The recruiting officer discovered he was from a despised minority Christian group – the Baptists – and vindictively sent him about as far from his native Moldova as possible, to icy Siberia. But it was in that far–flung freezing land that Mihai met peoples he had never encountered before.
He met Uzbeks, Tajiks, Kazakhs and others, all of whom were utter strangers to the riches of divine grace in Christ which he heartily embraced. God used that Soviet officer, whose intentions were far from noble, for good. What’s more, he also planted a seed In Mihai that was to flower and produce much fruit in years to come as he became one of the founders of UDG in the 1990’s.
All these Central Asian republics, along with Mihai’s native Moldova, were held together by the Russian language. Even to this day, Kazakhs, Tajiks, Turkmen, Uzbeks, Moldovans and Kyrgyz can all freely communicate in this common tongue. And so UDG has been welcoming students from these countries to learn, to be equipped and to serve Christ as they return to their homelands.
The vision of UDG is to develop the next generation of Christian leaders for the Turkic countries of Central Asia, including pastors, evangelists, missionaries, Sunday school teachers and more. But the vision goes beyond our narrow definitions of church work, with departments also covering business and social work, helping Christians serve and share Christ by serving their neighbour. This is highly important in the context of mission in Central Asia. These are not countries where Christians can openly be missionaries, nor are the churches typically able to support full–time ministers. Just as the apostle Paul was a tentmaker, so today a new generation are being equipped to be successful in their own spheres of work as they build relationships inside and outside the church to disciple the faithful and spread the gospel.
Students receive rigorous, internationally accredited academic training in a Christian environment. They also receive ample opportunity to practice what they are learning through practical works of service in local churches and on mission trips.
The university has developed as the years have gone on. Although its origins as a theological college go back to 1993, its focus on Central Asia began in 1998. And it was not until 2013 that its remit was broadened to become a university as it is today.
In keeping with these changes, the facilities have also improved. From a single building in its infancy, the university today boasts high–quality facilities, a well–educated faculty and an international network of partner churches and businesses who lend expertise to their teaching. Guest lecturers spend short periods at UDG, sharing their expertise with the students to supplement the excellent work of the local teaching staff.
UDG’s vision to reach the unreached people of Central Asia aligns seamlessly with our own goal of making Christ known across the continent, and we are delighted to begin this new adventure together.
HOW TO PRAY
• Please lift this new partnership up to the Lord, asking for guidance and grace as we begin working together for His glory.
• Pray too for many precious souls in Central Asia to be rescued for eternity, that neither we nor UDG would labour in vain!
Support the work of UDG today by clicking below.