Ukraine (MNN) — While Christmas in the rest of the world is celebrated on December 25, it's not in former Soviet bloc nations. Ukraine is just one example, says President of Global Action Lars Dunberg. "They celebrate the Orthodox Christmas which right about the 7th of January."
Even in those nations, Dunberg says, "There are a lot of people that do not celebrate Christmas at all because there's no one to celebrate with them and for them, and that's the orphans in the orphanages that are run by the government."
That's not acceptable, says Dunberg, so Global Action is doing something to help at least a few of these orphaned children. "Every Christmas we put on a huge meeting — a whole day for orphaned kids down in Crimea."
This Christmas celebration is more than a party. It's a production. Dunberg says, "They come in buses that we provide which take them to a huge auditorium that seats about 5,000. For the whole day we put on a Christmas program. Yes, there is the Christmas story, but there is also drama, skits and music." That's all in preparation for the time when each child gets a Christmas gift.
Dunberg says they still have a financial need for a 1,000 more gifts. "We're still trying get the last lot together where we actually buy the materials locally and put it in a box for them and wrap. If we could get a few people to provide $15 a [gift], we could get all these gifts ready. That would be tremendous."
Any leftover gifts will go toward helping the desperately poor in the region.
While getting a gift is special for these kids, Dunberg says, "This is a time when these kids come together and hear about Jesus, maybe for the first time."
According to Dunberg, this is a yearly effort, and it's having an impact. "We have built relationships with these orphanages and have an open door into all these institutions in Crimea. That is a great way for us to work. The orphanages actually call us and say, 'Can we come?'"
Because of the lack of resources, child care workers are happy to send these children to a place where their needs can be met.
If you'd like to help Global Action, time is short. Click here to donate $15 to provide a Christmas gift for a child in Ukraine.