The director of a Russian drug-rehabilitation ministry assisted by Christian Aid was kidnapped nine days ago and has not been heard from since.
According to Yuri Degtyar, director of Works of Faith, a missionary named "Dema" had just returned home in a car driven by another driver July 24 when six masked gunmen in two cars pulled in beside them. They took Dema and drove off in all three cars. Dema's car was found July 29 abandoned in a ravine.
Dema ran a drug rehabilitation center on the outskirts of Ishevsk as part of the ministry of Works of Faith. Ishevsk is about 200 miles (350 km.) from Perm, a city in the state of Udmurtia near the Ural Mountains in Central Russia. The drug rehabilitation program was successfully rehabilitating drug addicts and currently had 60 enrolled, with another 1,000 waiting to get in.
Works of Faith is effectively evangelizing the area. Beginning in 1992, it had planted 125 churches by 1999. In the next 18 months it started 25 more. Also, an outdoor crusade conducted by Works of Faith two weeks ago led to 1,000 professions of faith.
According to Yuri Degtyar, Udmurtia is a region known for its association with Satanism. Udmurtia in the Tatar language literally means "married to death." It also is where the Kalashnikov machine gun was invented.
Believers are urged to pray for the successful return of Dema alive. His wife, in her early 30s, is expecting their first child.
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