Former Soviet Union (MNN) — We continue with our four part
series about the youth of the former Soviet Union.
When the Soviet Union dissolved almost 20 years ago, it left
dissent and chaos in its wake, as the regions it once controlled split into 15
different countries. Though terribly weak, they set off on their own to create
their own economies, governments, and societies.
However, Eric Mock of Slavic Gospel Association said when
they did so, many abandoned the family unit, which had been strong during
Communism, and turned their backs on God to plot their own course.
"Some of their great social tragedies of the day since
the fall of the Soviet Union have really gripped the young people of Russia and
the former Soviet Union. They're faced with a very high murder rate; they're
faced with alcoholism," Mock said.
These ills are wiping out large numbers of the older generation, leaving scores of orphans behind. Yet, Mock said among these countries, only 30 percent of orphans are true
orphans–without either parent, and the other 70 percent are social orphans–abandoned
or separated from their parents. "These orphans often face a life of
crime. The girls talk about facing opportunities in prostitution. And we
see what we would call 'social ills of the day' become overwhelming facts of
life for the youth. With the breakup of the family unit, with the … effect of
godlessness–a society founded on godlessness–we find that there are great
tragedies in this."
However, "In the midst of this, there is also a young generation
with a passion to serve that has come seeking answers of truth," he said.
Therefore, Slavic Gospel Association began Orphans Reborn in
2002 to connect these youth with the local church: "The Orphans Reborn
program is a program where we are supporting and working and serving the
local churches–the local Bible teaching churches of the former Soviet Union. As
they reach out to young orphan children, [they help] these teenagers … so they
break this cycle and don't get caught up in the hopelessness of the social ills
of the day. But they become passionate, faithful, fruitful followers of Jesus
Christ," Mock said.
SGA has established this program with the local churches of
Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Belarus and Armenia.
And though only fractions of the children make decisions for
Christ, of the ones who do, many want to return to help out more orphans once
they complete the program at 17 or 18-years-old.
"We see these orphan children that should have all the
reason in the world to complain about what life has dealt them. Yet, a lot of
them will come back and say they praise God that they were placed in the
orphanage because it was there that they heard the life-saving, life-changing
Gospel. They are sold out, and they live for God alone," Mock said.
Pray for these orphans and the local churches ministering to
them. Pray for the orphans who have made decisions for Christ to protect their
hearts from the pressures and distractions around them daily. Pray that they will
lean on Christ for strength and not try to find resilience in themselves alone.
Join us tomorrow for Part 3 of this four part series on the
pressures youth are facing in the FSU and what ministries are doing to combat