Russia (MNN) — A rising unemployment rate in the United States, coupled with negative consumer confidence, is causing many companies to lose money. As companies continue to trim expenses, the trickle down is that many people in North America simply aren't able to fund ministry, or they're afraid to.
That "trickle down"' is having an effect on Slavic Gospel Association. Eric Mock, Vice President of SGA Ministry Operations, says the poor economy is making it difficult to raise money for summer camp for needy kids in the former Soviet Union. "Thus far, based on trends on the previous year, by comparison we're at 60-percent of where we've been the last few years. And, what that means is we've been able to send support for about 4,000 children, but we'd like to reach 6,000."
Summer camp is a tradition for families in this area of the world. While once used to brainwash kids into the Soviet "system," Christians are using them to share the Gospel. Mock says, "This is really a heartbreaking situation that we find ourselves in this year. A lot of these kids hear the Gospel and come to trust in Christ through these summer camp ministries."
The camps are run by Russian evangelical Christians. He says if the money issue doesn't improve, 2,000 kids will NOT hear the Gospel.
Mock says $41 is all it takes "not only to help a kid go to camp, but it also provides them evangelistic literature and even discipleship materials." It also provides follow-up after camp and helps "support the church in developing them in the knowledge of God's Word."
SGA needs to raise $82,000 to reach this seemingly insurmountable goal. However, a few large gifts will help reach that goal quickly.
"Just the mere thought of some of these children being denied the opportunity to attend a camp and hear the Gospel really hurts my heart."
Camps are strategic, especially in the "stans" area. "There are regions right now that are hostile to the Gospel. In some of the countries, the idea of a children's summer camp is about the only tool that we have that allows us to do the act of evangelism. Open evangelism in the public is just forbidden in many locations," says Mock.
As you give $41 dollars to SGA's work, you're not only investing in the eternity of a child, but the future of a nation. "If we neglect this opportunity, we potentially have a generation which will grow up to be the future leaders in these countries, who have really never heard about who God is or who our Savior is."