Central Asia (MNN) — Celebrating Christmas in Uzbekistan could be tricky this year. Forum 18 reports numerous raids on groups in Uzbekistan who participate in religious activities.
One group was raided on December 1 while on vacation. The police confiscated three Bibles and 100 Christian songbooks, insulted the group, and took the fingerprints of all present. Police told Forum 18 people must worship "only in registered places specifically set up for religious purposes."
Slavic Gospel Association (SGA) is not going to let that stop them from spreading some holiday cheer. They have sound a legal way to bring Christmas to Central Asia. Vice President of SGA Eric Mock says, "Immanuel's Child is an amazing program, along with Orphans Reborn. What is very unique about these two programs is that the centerpiece of their effort is a combination of both evangelism, for the sake of getting the Gospel to both the lost and the unchurched, but also an intentional effort of discipleship."
"Through Immanuel's Child, we have a ministry that not only serves to connect people in the U.S. with the Christmas outreach in the countries we serve (such as Russia, Belarus and Ukraine and throughout Central Asia), but it also prepares the churches in those countries for ongoing discipleship," says Mock.
A $25 gift to Immanuel's Child provides a kid with a great gift, a Bible, and reminder that someone in the U.S. is praying for him or her.
In addition to Immanuel's Child, SGA is involved in Orphans Reborn. This ministry has been "discipling thousands of children who are placed in these children's homes or orphanages…for the sake of the Gospel," says Mock.
The goal is to build deep relationships with these kids and disciple them in the Word of God, says Mock, "that they may know that they are no longer orphans, that they are part of the family of God, that they have future hope, and that they matter.
"So between Immanuel's Child reaching the lost and unchurched in the community, and Orphans Reborn, working with the children that have been ripped away from these families, we see the local church being equipped for the sake of the Gospel," Mock explains. SGA desires "to both send a message of hope to these children and their families, [and] to see the disciple throughout the year."
Pray that as the Christmas season approaches, people in Central Asia will hear the Gospel. Pray that God will use ministries like Orphans Reborn and Immanuel's Child to reach the lost.