Pastor Donald Ossewaarde, an American missionary who has been living in Oryol, a town 224 miles south of Moscow, for nearly 15 years, was recently arrested and accused of illegal missionary activity.
Donald was been charged with violating Russia’s new anti-evangelism laws, and although he has appealed the charge, his appeal was rejected.
“I was accused of gluing two Gospel tracts to a bulletin board at the entrance of an apartment building” he said, and “of conducting a religious service in a private home, which they said was a violation of the new anti-missionary law.”
Russia’s new anti-evangelism laws are supposedly meant to prevent the spread of terrorism, but many Christians fear that they will allow the state greater control over religion.
That has proved true in Ossewaarde’s case.
Hannu Haukka, president of Great Commission Media Ministries, has even compared the new laws to Soviet-era measures.
“This new situation resembles the Soviet Union in 1929. At that time confession of faith was permitted only in church,” Haukka said back in July. “Practically speaking, we are back in the same situation. These anti-terrorist laws are some of the most restrictive laws in post-Soviet history.”
Although his appeal was initially rejected, Ossewaarde will continue arguing his case.
“He, like many other Christians and religious minorities, understands the importance of his case and that of others wrongfully accused under such an archaic law,” stated International Christian Concern’s Andrew Kerr.
Ossewaarde has also been detailing his case online through his website.