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ICC NOTE: Pastor Donald Ossewaarde, an American pastor facing legal troubles in Russia for evangelizing, continues his appeals process as his second day in court was completed Friday September 30. He has also been gaining traction among media outlets in the United States, raising the profile of not only his case but also the overarching threat Russia’s anti-terror law has on believers and average Russian citizens. 

10/3/2016 Russia (Fox News) – An American missionary’s bid to spread the Gospel in Russia is facing end times after authorities accused him of violating an anti-religion law that was sneaked into recently passed anti-terror legislation.

Christian pastor Donald Ossewaarde, 55, is the first American citizen to be charged under Russia’s new “Yarovaya” anti-terror laws that contain a provision that increases regulation on evangelism. Included is a full ban on any missionary activities in non-religious settings, meaning anyone who preaches outside of a church or designated religious center, faces stiff penalties.

Ossewaarde is due in court in the town of Oryol, 224 miles south of Moscow, after he held religious services in his home and posted advertisements for the service on bulletin boards in nearby housing blocks. The pastor was fined the equivalent of $630 for violating what is also known as the “anti-sharing beliefs amendment.”

“The Yarovaya laws have sent Russia careening back toward the days of the Soviet Union in terms of religious freedom,” Jeff King, president of  International Christian Concern, told “Donald’s case is likely just the tip of the iceberg; these laws affect everyone in Russia, not just foreign missionaries.”

Ossewaarde, an Independent Baptist from Illinois who first began evangelizing in Russia during a 1994 visit there after the collapse of the Soviet Union, moved to Ukraine in 1999 and Oryol, Russia, three years later.

His wife, Ruth, has returned to Illinois, where their home congregation Faith (Independent) Baptist Church is located in Bourbonnais.

“I didn’t feel that she was safe [here],” Ossewaarde told the Baptist Press. “After I had a thinly veiled threat against myself and my wife so I just figured it was time for her to go home.”

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