Russia (MNN) — The holiday season has begun, which means it's time for Project Hope: The Great Gift Exchange.
"Russian Ministries this year is planning to distribute 50,000 Christmas boxes to the orphans and children in need," says Michael Minyazev with Russian Ministries.
The Christmas boxes are distributed by local churches. Each box includes some small gifts, a Bible and a link to Christ.
"It helps the local churches to build bridges to these children, to build bridges to the local population," says Minyazev. "It's not preaching the Gospel directly, but first we build, and after that we start telling them about Jesus, about His love."
The number of orphans in Russia continues to rise, due in no small part to economic crises in the country. More and more Christians and churches are asking to be a part of The Great Gift Exchange as the need grows. The number of boxes distributed this year has increased 20,000 over last year.
Russian Ministries and local churches are doing this work while they still can. There has been government discussion indicating that a significant hold may be placed on ministry activity in Russia. This could mean the elimination of different Christian ministries in the country and the end of Christian evangelism to children without parents' permission. Thankfully, no such law has been passed yet; Russian Ministries can continue their Exchange this year.
In the meantime, Minyazev asks for prayer.
"Pray for the young generation of Christian leaders in Russia, because that's what we need desperately: young people with new vision, a new message and new techniques of doing ministry."
Pray that these Christmas boxes would reach children for Christ. Pray that as a result of this initiative, young Christian leaders would rise up in the church and continue the Lord's work in Russia.
The Great Gift Exchange will begin distribution before Christmas and end mid-January. If you would like to learn more about Project Hope or make a donation for a child to receive a box, click here.