Tanya talked about the significant prison ministry she and Andrew have established together, and explained how it started. Andrew had been a prisoner himself and while still incarcerated, he had met Jesus Christ through the Christian ministry to that prison. He established a strong faith, and when he came out he began to see how he might serve the Lord.
Having been accepted as a Pastor in training for Baptist ministry, he applied himself to a period of study and searching for the Lord's wisdom. It was during that time that he and Tanya met and established a friendship which grew into love. Eventually, they married and together they continue to seek the Lord.
Because of Andrew's experience, they decided to direct their energies to prison ministry as they realised that here was a ready open door for them. Their Baptist church provided them the freedom to engage in this highly specialised ministry.
Within the Russian prison system, there are prisons for men, prisons for women, prisons for teenage boys and prisons for teenage girls, and there is also a prison for children aged 10-12.
Their ministry consists of visits, bible study programs, correspondences and letters. They have seen numerous prisoners, like Andrew was once, who have come to accept Jesus Christ' Salvation for themselves and this has led to many baptisms.
Tanya and Andrew Fomenko noticed that the children of those in prison were rarely, if ever, permitted to visit their parent or parents. They therefore began a series of dialogues with the authorities so that 'family' visits could be instituted.
In only three years of this ministry, they have also helped establish 22 orphanages as the need is so great. They hold summer camps for these children which include both bible studies and outward bound programs. Tanya and Andrew Fomenko make it a point to attend as many of these summer camps as possible and live as the campers do, in tents.
Their current need is for partnerships with churches who can financially assist them.
This interview with Tanya Fomenko by Natalie Perdue may be viewed on the Australian Missionary News IPTV at either tv.bushorchestra.com/BWC/videopages/tanya_fomenko.html or www.safeworlds.net