Blake Williams

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WEEK OF PRAYER: Love blossoms for a people they’d never met

IZHEVSK, Udmurtia (BP)--Charlie and Heather Murphy* met Will and Marie Thompson* while attending seminary in Texas. The two couples discovered a mutual desire to share God's love with the nations.

Ripples of prayer continue to make waves in Udmurtia

IZHEVSK, Udmurtia (BP)--During one of his mission trips to Udmurtia, Jack Gilliland, pastor of Rea Valley Baptist Church in Flippin, Ark., asked a local believer, "Are we making any difference? Are we just coming and entertaining you, or is this helping?"       "Every time you come," the man responded, "it's like you drop a rock in a pool and whatever foggy, murky stuff that's on the top brushes away a little bit -- and we see a little more clearly."       Today Gilliland volunteers from his Arkansas home as an International Mission Board (IMB) virtual strategy coordinator, which he describes as "filling in where the missionaries can't go or live."       The Udmurts, an unreached people group in Russia, were the focus of Southern Baptists' Day of Prayer and Fasting for World Evangelization emphasis in 2007. Since then, answers to those prayers are bringing Living Water to the spiritually thirsty in the Republic of Udmurtia.       Around the world people have come to Christ, doors have opened to allow witness in places where missionaries cannot go, the faith of believers has strengthened. The common thread? Prayer -- focused on one people group at a time for nearly 20 years of Day of Prayer and Fasting emphases.       In 1995 prayers were lifted for Mongolia. Now more than 400 churches and about 45,000 believers call Him Savior. Tibet had no churches in 1996 when the Day of Prayer focused on that Buddhist country. Today there are 19 churches and more than 600 believers. And the stories continue for each group that received the benefit of targeted prayer.