Russia (MNN) — Ministries will celebrate Christmas this year by doing something special for the people they serve. But those working in Russia are keeping something additional in mind: Russia’s anti-proselytizing law passed earlier this year. Prayers are needed.
Christmas opens doors
SOAR International is waiting to see if and how things might change for them. For now, they’ve been able to go along with their work as usual — supporting the Church in Russia in their ministry outreach. Joanna Mangione of SOAR explains Christmas is a time when the door for ministry opens just a bit wider.
“Christmas provides a unique opportunity that SOAR has to reach the people of Russia with the Gospel. Christmas is a holiday they celebrate and one they acknowledge. So, it opens the door to allow us to reach a little bit more than we normally would.”
SOAR works in a variety of ways and locations in and around Russia. Their Christmas catalog this year reflects the many ways you can support their work.
Mangione’s favorite project is “Stuff a Stocking.” Sponsored stockings are stuffed with gifts and hand-delivered to children in orphanages or from struggling families.
The gifts included are necessities like hats and gloves as well as quality toys. In addition, each child is given a Bible. SOAR works with churches that are already involved with the orphanages and communities. This annual project allows them to give something they normally would never be able to.
Mangione has been fortunate enough to go along on the “Stuff a Stocking” trips to deliver the gifts. She says, “You just can’t beat the look on the children’s faces — but not only the children’s, even the staff! To see the joy in the children they oversee, they get smiles on their faces.”
If you choose to give to SOAR this year to support their Christmas projects, 100 percent of your donation goes towards your gift. Click here to see the giving options this year.
Prayers for guidance under new law
Whether you give or not, there are ways to be praying for this work. First, pray for the children receiving these gifts, and for the staff members. Pray for their health, interaction, and safety. Ask God to use this project for His glory.
As for the anti-proselytizing law, SOAR is seeking God’s wisdom as they look to be obedient to Him while acknowledging the new law.
“The anti-proselytizing law is one that is hard to fully understand how it will impact. There [are] a lot of nuances with the law, a lot of different ways it could be interpreted. So the prayer is that the freedoms it should still allow remain freedoms, and that it won’t prohibit the ministries we should still be allowed to do. It’s a little bit of a waiting game with our projects and with knowing how it will be enforced.”
Ask God that if some doors are closed, He will open others. We’ll share a story about how He’s done that in the past later this month.