Russia (MNN) — Russian Christmas outreach is coming to a conclusion, and Slavic Gospel Association says a program they support each year had another successful year. It's called "Immanuel's Child." It's a program funded by churches in the West, to help churches in Russia with their outreach to unsaved children and their families during Russian Christmas, January 7.
SGA's Tom MacAdam was in Tomsk in Central Russia last week. "This year we were able to do outreaches in nine different nations and in Russia, in particular, in 28 different regions. They were able to reach out this year to nearly 12,000 children and an estimated 6,000 plus adults."
According to MacAdam, support from churches in the North America empowers resource-strapped Russian churches to reach out. "Churches are able to invite families that otherwise would be skeptical about what the Christian faith is all about. In many areas of Russia and these other countries, the years of communism really led to a suspicion of a lot of different religious groups."
The Immanuel's Child Christmas gifts are purchased locally and include toys, a Russian-language Children's Bible, and of course, candy and fresh fruit. MacAdam says the program has an impact. "We've heard many reports over the years of adults coming to faith through their children being reached — parents reading the children's Bibles that are distributed, and that's their first exposure to the Word of God."
MacAdam says they use the Immanuel's Child resources for door-to-door outreach, ministry to the disabled and in church ministry. He says, "Our prayer here at SGA is just that these families will consider what they've heard and will over the coming days and weeks be drawn even more into the opportunity to have a relationship with Jesus Christ, and that they'll return to the church."
In a couple of months, SGA will begin recruiting more churches for next Christmas. MacAdam says this project does more than help the church in Russia. "This has been a really unifying effort because it's a church-focused or church-sponsored program. And we've seen a lot of churches in America reignite their passion for missions, because the whole church units around a common outreach at Christmas."