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American pastor faces fines, end of ministry under new

Russian law
"We are very hopeful that the judge in this case will do the right thing and overturn Donald's case on
appeal," King said. "We're also encouraged to see the U.S. State Department taking an active
interest by sending personnel to attend his trial. Russia should not be allowed to get away with
crushing religious freedom at no diplomatic cost to itself."
His wife, Ruth, has returned to Illinois, where their home congregation Faith (Independent) Baptist
Church is located in Bourbonnais.
An American missionary's bid to spread the Gospel in Russia is facing end times after authorities
accused him of violating an anti-religion law that was sneaked into recently passed anti-terror
"After the service, they asked questions for about 45 minutes. They talked to all the people, too, and
wrote reports," he added. "They said they needed a complete package of documents on us just in
case any questions arise. I asked if there had been any complaints against me. They said no."
Ossewaarde, who has traveled back and forth between Russia and the U.S. to raise money for his
ministry, said he may follow his wife home soon. He has already referred his small group of
congregants to the Russian Baptist Church.
Perry Chiaramonte is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @perrych
"The Yarovaya laws have sent Russia careening back toward the days of the Soviet Union in terms of
religious freedom," Jeff King, president of? International Christian Concern, told
"Donald's case is likely just the tip of the iceberg; these laws affect everyone in Russia, not just
foreign missionaries."
Ossewaarde has been documenting much of his experience on his website since June. On Aug. 14, he
recounted when he was detained.
"I didn't feel that she was safe [here]," Ossewaarde told the Baptist Press. "After I had a thinly veiled
threat against myself and my wife so I just figured it was time for her to go home."
Since the "Yarovaya" law was put into effect this past July, numerous missionaries have been
charged and fined including
Ossewaarde is due in court in the town of Oryol, 224 miles south of Moscow, after he held religious
services in his home and posted advertisements for the service on bulletin boards in nearby housing
blocks. The pastor was fined the equivalent of $630 for violating what is also known as the "antisharing beliefs amendment."
The pastor also claims that he was fingerprinted and questioned in a locked room for nearly two and
half hours before being charged with violating the new law for gluing two gospel tracts to a bulletin
board at the entrance of an apartment building and for conducting a religious service in his home.
While Ossewaarde's family has returned to the United States, the pastor has stayed in Russia to fight

the charges with assistance from ICC and legal counsel from the Slavic Center for Law and Justice.
"Three policemen came into the house while we were singing. They did not knock on the door or ring
the bell; they just walked in," he wrote. "They wanted to ask questions, but I told them they would
have to wait until after the service. I invited them to stay for the service. They were there for singing
and the entire sermon.
Christian pastor Donald Ossewaarde, 55, is the first American citizen to be charged under Russia's
new "Yarovaya" anti-terror laws that contain a provision that increases regulation on evangelism.
Included is a full ban on any missionary activities in non-religious settings, meaning anyone who
preaches outside of a church or designated religious center, faces stiff penalties.
Ossewaarde, an Independent Baptist from Illinois who first began evangelizing in Russia during a
1994 visit there after the collapse of the Soviet Union, moved to Ukraine in 1999 and Oryol, Russia,
three years later.
Many have criticized the new law and its anti-evangelism provisions, saying that it's a means to
block churches other than the Russian Orthodox Church from evangelizing to ethnic Russians.
"I want to complete the appeal process," he told the Baptist Press. "If I can successfully challenge
this it will make it easier on other missionaries that would probably otherwise be prosecuted."
Sergei Zhuravlyov, a Ukrainian Reformed Orthodox Church of Christ representative, was arrested
for preaching in St. Petersburg.
Ebenezer Tuah of Ghana, the leader of the Christ Embassy church, was arrested and fined 50,000
rubles for conducting baptisms at a sanatorium in the city of Tver.
Jim Mulcahy, a 72-year-old American pastor who is the Eastern European coordinator for the U.S.based Metropolitan Community Church, was arrested and deported under the prohibition of
missionary activities at non-religious sites. He promoted and held a "tea party" in Samara with an
LGBT group. Authorities had targeted Mulcahy because they thought he may have been organizing a
same-sex wedding.