Russia (MNN) — While Christians in the west celebrated Easter on March 31, Easter was celebrated in Russia on May 5. Although it was more than two weeks ago, children in Russia were able to celebrate the resurrection of Christ last week.
SOAR International Ministries sent a team to Russia that teamed up with churches last week to help provide Easter Baskets to orphaned children and children in need.
SOAR's Greg Mangione reports from Moscow. "We've had a great week traveling between eight different orphanages from areas about 200 kilometers southeast of Moscow to the regions around St. Petersburg."
According to Mangione, Easter and Christmas are popular religious holidays in Russia. SOAR uses those opportunities to partner with Russian churches to send gifts, as well as the Gospel. He says it's a much more spiritually sensitive time, and orphanage workers are more open to allowing churches into their facilities.
"We've given out about 650-700 gifts baskets to very happy orphans," says Mangione. More will be handed out this week. "Our director will be traveling here to hand out about another 350 in the southern part of Russia, in areas of Sochi and other areas down there."
The baskets are filled with gifts and God's Word. Funding is needed to help prepare SOAR for their work at Christmas. SOAR collects the money and sends it to Russian churches; they purchase the baskets, gifts, and Bibles, and the church distributes them. This process enables churches to help fuel the local economy.
The Baskets of Hope outreach is more than a project, says Mangione. "It often serves as a way to open the doors to a local church and a local orphanage, add to their credibility, and add to one of the tools that the local church can use as they try to reach out to their people."
Prayer is an important part of this outreach. "Pray that the Lord would really touch of the hearts of the children that were impacted by this project."
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