Russia (MNN) – With the holiday season just around the corner, Christmas ministries are starting their preparations now, aiming to reach more children with the Gospel.
Slavic Gospel Association (SGA) is partnering with churches in Russia this year to provide Bibles, supplies, and the gift of the Gospel through their Immanuel’s Child program. SGA also works with churches in Central Asia and other countries in Europe for the Immanuel’s Child program, helping children receive the true message of Christmas.
Eric Mock, SGA’s vice president of ministry operations, explains that they are hoping to reach 40,000 children this year.
“The approach of the Immanuel’s Child program is to assist churches that may not have the resources for that outreach, to strengthen and expand their planned outreach for Christmas. Our goal is to help churches reach as many as 40,000 kids this year,” Mock says.
While Christmas in the U.S is typically a one-day celebration on the 25th of December, Orthodox churches in Russia celebrate on January 7th. This celebration doesn’t end until January 11th, creating a window of opportunity for Churches to share the Gospel.
Mock explains that this can be difficult because of legal regulations in the countries SGA works in. Yet many churches choose to be bold during Christmas.
“Here’s the thing, open doors that would never exist any other time during the year [except] for holiday tradition are now open doors to any stranger. So the churches, rather than thinking about themselves, focus that Christmas day on exalting Christ and take the Gospel to these villages and these orphanages,” he says.
The Gift of the Gospel
The Immanuel’s Child program gives unchurched children a Christmas gift that includes a children’s Bible, supplies, candy, and a Gospel star. The Gospel star Christmas ornament says, “Jesus loves you” on one side and has the donor’s name printed on the other.
Mock explains that this gift is the one the children get the most excited about.
He says, “They left any other gifts aside and stood in the line next to the young man that was translating…how to pronounce the name of the American family who had committed to pray for them for the next year.”
“Most of all they heard that they weren’t alone. There was someone on the other side of the world that cared enough about them, even though they had never met them, to pray for them,” he adds.
The work SGA does with Immanuel’s child helps the churches they partner with disciple the children all year. Any leftover funds not used in the Christmas ministry goes back to the churches.
Churches use these funds to buy Sunday school materials so they have the supplies to teach God’s Word all year.
Mock says, “We’re equipping the church to minister to these children who come back to the church after the [Christmas] celebration.”
“Immanuel’s child is that spark that opens doors that is also the resources to give them the capacity to continue discipling these children,” he adds.
Another way to get involved is by praying for SGA. You can pray for the Immanuel’s Child Christmas ministry to reach the lives of these children with God’s Word. Pray also for peace in the countries they live in and boldness for the Gospel.
Mock says, “When we are doing this kind of outreach, we need the faithful prayer of many people. Pray for these churches to be bold, stand strong, and to not back down.”
Header photo courtesy of SGA.