The desperate need for missionary training in Russian language and culture became apparent during a mission trip to Ukraine in 1991. The fact that Russian has never been a widely-studied language in the United States, combined with the language’s complex grammar, has ensured that very few North American missionaries have been able to acquire the abilities with the language necessary for effective ministry. And the lack of any proper understanding of the culture among Americans causes Americans to make many missiological mistakes which result in extreme difficulties while working there. As a result of this need, Russian Language Ministries (RLM) was born in the winter and early spring of 1992.
The early years: This early ’90s gospel message appeared on a wall in downtown Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine. The authorities white-washed it the very next day…
Drawing on a shoestring budget, two instructors, and confidence in our Heavenly Father, RLM began with its first pilot course in the Spring of 1992 with 16 students in Albuquerque, NM. During this time RLM incorporated and received tax-exempt status as a 501(c)(3) publicly-supported organization. We soon forged a partnership with Columbia Bible College and Seminary (now known as Columbia International University) in Columbia, SC, and began our first intensive summer program in 1993.
This partnership inspired and necessitated RLM to move its headquarters from Albuquerque to Columbia in early 1996. After 18 years of training cross-cultural workers for the Russian world in Columbia, RLM and its new and growing language and culture institutes under ISLC have relocated to Spokane, WA, where we are now working closely with Moody Bible Institute to train the next generation of cross-cultural workers to impact the world for Christ. Spokane is also home to over 40,000 Russian speakers with more than 20 Russian-speaking evangelical churches.
It has always been our goal to develop the finest language and culture training of its kind anywhere in the world, and this move will enable us to continue to expand our programs. We are currently developing programs for other strategic languages and cultures, and we plan to begin our Chinese program here this coming fall, with plans to offer training in Arabic in the near future.
To date RLM has trained over 800 cross-cultural workers in Russian language, culture, and history. As we have in the past, we continue to trust the Lord for His guidance and provision for an exciting future.
Interested in working at ISLC? Click here for more information.