Collins heads to Russia for mission

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 29, 2003

Benny Collins is set to go on a mission – to Russia. No, he isn’t a diplomat or an employee for McDonalds set to open another restaurant.

He’s a Troy State University student who has signed on with a Campus Outreach mission group that will travel to Russia this summer. The group consists of 12 TSU students and three Campus Outreach staff members.

&uot;We will be going to Almaty, Kazakhstan to teach English to Russian college students,&uot; Collins said. &uot;That area of Russia is eager to modernize and wants to have English as its second language, so we are welcomed there as teachers.&uot;

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The Campus Outreach organization has an established team in Kazakhstan that is there full time. About 12 or 15 students go there every year to assist them.

Kazakhstan is located in Central Asia in the Southern portion of the former Soviet Union. It has a population of 17.4 million. Forty percent of the people are Kazak, 38 percent are Russian and 5 percent are Ukrainian.

The country’s religious base is 40 percent Islamic and 16 percent Christian. The rest profess to other religions or atheism.

&uot;I’m very excited about the opportunity to go to Almaty,&uot; Collins said. &uot;This will be my first trip overseas. But more importantly, it will be a chance to tell people of a different culture about my faith. We hope that the students we teach in class will form relationships with us, and that we will get a chance to share our faith with them.&uot;

Almaty is an area that has a large university attended by students from a widespread area, including China, where Christianity isn’t welcomed.

&uot;We hope that, through this ministry, we can bring others to know Christ and that they will in turn take God’s message back to their countries – places we can’t go,&uot; Collins said.

Collins said his prior mission work has been with Campus Outreach projects in Panama City Beach.

The Troy State student says that the cost of the trip will be $5,300.

&uot;I am in the process of raising the money,&uot; Collins said. &uot;We leave May 18 and will be there until July 25.&uot;

Anyone interested in contributing to Collins’ trip can mail a check to his parents, Carl and Diane Collins, at 104 Boswell St., Greenville, AL 36037 or call 382-9257.