(MNN) — Russian Ministries hopes to give Christmas gifts to 30,000 needy
Russian children through Project Hope: The Great Gift Exchange this holiday
Boxes full of
clothing, food, candy, toys, and a children's New Testament will be distributed by national Christians to impoverished
children and families in their communities. Needy children in
South Ossetia, Chechnya, Beslan, and orphanages all across the former Soviet Union will also receive these gifts.
"The gift is about much more than just giving a present," explains
Russian Ministries president Anita Deyneka. "It's opening the doors to those orphanages and being the hands and the feet
of Jesus to the children, not just for this one gift at Christmas, but opening
doors that are then going to stay open all year: doors to the orphanages, doors
to the homes that are so needy, doors to the Gospel through which national
Christians can walk."
Like many Americans, Russian Christians are suffering from
the recent economic crisis. It is difficult
for them to provide the Christmas gifts for needy children, which cost
has enjoyed increased wealth in recent years, much of that wealth has not
trickled down to its impoverished citizens. "The new wealth of Russia has usually not reached down
to the orphans and street children," Deyneka explains. "Russia is now prospering more with its oil and natural gas. But it's as if there's a
whole nation within the nation of hurting and needy children — over 600,000
orphans and somewhere between 3 to 5 million street children."
"And so that's what Project Hope is really all about:
reaching out to these children this Christmas with the love of Jesus."
Even though the physical needs of Russian orphans are
usually adequately provided, Deyneka says they have many other needs that their
caregivers cannot meet.
"One of the enduring images and pleas that just always
remains with me is of children rushing to you and crying "Momma," "Poppa," and
reaching out their hands," laments Deyneka. "Even though the caregivers are good people, there just isn't enough
help to go around. And the children need
affection; they need people in their life; and they need God."
Through the Project Hope Christmas gifts, many doors can
open to allow national Christians to minister to these children over the
long-term. $25 of support
will provide a Christmas gift for one child, $50 for two children, and $100 for
"We know this is a time when it's financially difficult days
for many here in America," says Deyneka. "We're so grateful for every
partner who is standing with us in this project, helping us reach the
children in Russia."