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MNN (01/10/06) – As the Russian government continues to curb religious freedom in Russia , a Christian seminary in Moscow is asking people to pray. The Moscow Evangelical Christian Seminary is supported by OMS International. To date, they have seen 100 students graduate.

The seminary’s Associate Provost is Sasha Tsutserov. Tsutserov is pleased with the progress. “95-percent of all of our graduates are in ministry, which is a great number. They go and plant churches, they join a mission group, they go to the places where neither you or I (for that matter) would be able to go because Russian alone is 11 times zones. It’s a huge land.”

The former President of OMS, JB Crouse, is concerned. He says Russia has started cutting back on foreign missionary visa requests. “We’ve already had two missionary couples whose visas (that) have been denied, (they) were not renewed and they’ve gone on to Ukraine to work.”

However, there’s a possibility that the situation could get even worse than that, says Crouse. “There’s been a lot of talk about — “there can be no more money sent in to sponsor students” and that type of thing. (With) the economy in Russia , (it’s) difficult for students to get a theological education. So, we’re concerned about that and we’re not just sure how that will play out.”

If that source of funding goes away, it would make theological education almost impossible for Russians. Tsutserov says the time is now to contribute to the OMS scholarship fund. “Russians are very poor. They can’t really pay for their education. In fact, the number of students that we have is (largely) defined by the number of scholarships that we have. The average income in Russia (in certain provinces) is about $2,000 a year and on that money you just don’t go to school.”

It costs about $4,000 a year to support a student’s three or four year education. Pray that many would respond to this need before it’s too late.