Russia (MNN) — For most of us, Christmas ended well over a month ago. But for thousands of kids across Russia and the former Soviet Union, yuletide festivities are still fresh on their minds.
The annual Russian church program, "Project Hope, the Great Gift Exchange," just recently ended. Nearly 300 churches were involved with the distribution of gift-filled boxes to poor, abandoned, homeless or orphaned children across the region.
Russian Ministries plays a large role in Project Hope. This year, they worked tirelessly from late December through all of January, hoping to bring gifts to 50,000 children. The ministry came very close to their goal, ending with a final count of 45,000 distributed gift boxes.
Needy children received more than material presents. New Testaments and Bibles were included with the gifts, to provide the true Hope that gives the program its name.
While many churches affiliated with Russian Ministries were telling the Christmas story, young Christian leaders were sharing the Gospel message at a state mental institution in St. Petersburg. These young believers have been going into the institution for the past few years, ministering to the patients who were admitted after they graduated from the orphanage system and had nowhere else to go.
The patients respond extremely well every year. One believer says, "The patients love singing and hearing about Christ. And when we talk about how much God loves them, they hug each other! We believe that God has a special relationship with them."
Many Russian children have heard the Gospel message over the last few months, elongating the wonders of the Savior's birth. Pray that every child and patient who has experienced the love of Christ through these projects would grasp God's grace and respond to His mercy.
Project Hope could not have been possible without generous donors and prayers. Click here to get involved with Russian Ministries today.