Christians from evangelical churches across Russia have embarked on a 9,000-mile bike journey across Europe and Russia to share the Gospel to nearly a hundred towns.
Dozens of evangelists on wheels will pass through 89 towns and hold a scheduled 117 evangelistic events in town squares, concert grounds, community centers and churches in Germany, Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, and - for the majority of the time – Russia.
The transcontinental expedition, May 13 - Sept. 3, will ride under the banner of "Gospel to the Nations of the World" and includes distribution of Bibles, books and Russian-language evangelistic literatures during outreaches.
The cyclists, who were in Berlin, Germany, on Friday, are scheduled to reach Frankfurt, Germany, on Sunday.
"It is our goal to preach the Gospel everywhere, to all nations, in all languages, to all people, all day long!" said the Rev. Leonid Kartavenko, who heads the Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists (UECB) missionary department, on the Gospel Expedition website.
The mission event is organized by the Russian UECB in partnership with U.S.-based Slavic Gospel Association. SGA helped provide all of the Bibles and literatures that will be distributed by participants and local churches. The ministry also helped rent venues for evangelistic events.
"We believe this expedition will have a vast impact on young people as they see other youths participating and joyfully sharing their faith in Christ," added Kartavenko.
In addition to preaching, evangelism events will feature concerts by choirs and music groups, educational and cultural activities, and appearances by public figures and sportsmen who will testify about their lives in God.
"Russia is a vast country with a huge amount of towns, cities, and villages that have never had evangelism in that sort of scale," commented Joel Griffith, SGA senior writer and media specialist, according to Mission Network News. "It's going to be quite a new thing to a lot of these cities, towns, and villages to have something like this passing through town. I really think the potential here is untapped.
The first team of bicyclists began in the northwest coastal city of Varel, Germany, on May 13 and is scheduled to enter Bryansk, Russia, on June 6. In total, four teams with 15 cyclists each will take part in the relay-type bike journey that will conclude all the way across Russia to the Pacific coast city of Vladivostok.
Team members come from a range of professional backgrounds including music, ministry, counseling, journalism and church staff. One of the teams will be led by prominent Russian champion bicyclist Vladimir Skovpen, who won the Soviet National Championship in 1980 and then gave up competitive bicycling to spread the Gospel.
The historic transcontinental journey from the Atlantic to the Pacific will be symbolized by taking water from the Atlantic Ocean and pouring it into the Pacific Ocean to mark the union of East and West.
The current expedition marks the second large-scale evangelism journey event. The first one of 25,000 miles took place in 2004 and instead used Arctic-quality vehicles and traveled over dangerous frozen rivers and highways.