There is a new law in Russia that affects religious freedom. It is a very serious change and warrants much prayer. I know of at least one missionary who has already been brought up on charges. (The trial is currently pending.) There are still a lot of questions about the new law, and how it will be interpreted. We are working with a lawyer to make sure that we do everything according to the law. The following is a general overview of what we know about the law thus far. (A special thanks to Kevin for writing the following points.)
- Russian nationals can freely witness to whomever they want to about their personal faith, whether via social media or personal contact. (one on one basis)
- We as missionaries can freely witness to whomever we want to about our personal faith, whether via social media or personal contact. (one on one basis)
- Evangelistic outreach (passing out literature or holding meetings in public areas on behalf of a religious organization) is permitted IF you have a letter from that registered organization (church) stating that you are acting on its behalf. The violation fine is up to $800, and possible deportation for foreigners.
How does this new law effect us? One on one conversations about the Bible and faith are protected by the constitution. Therefore, such conversations can not be affected by this new law. What this new law does is make it imperative that we purchase a commercial space. We are currently looking into several possible properties that would meet those needs.
- Houses and apartments can no longer be used as venues for evangelistic outreach, but can be used for gatherings and Bible studies among believers.