Russia’s election causes a slowdown for orphan ministry

By March 1, 2012

Russia (MNN) — Russia's presidential elections have stirred the nation to protest on several occasions over the last few months. But the effects of the tense political climate have reached further than the streets.

Orphan Outreach has a number of ministries in Russia. The ministry works with several orphanages and baby homes near St. Petersburg, engages churches to develop orphan ministries, reaches out to orphan graduates, upgrades and improves orphanages in need of renovation, and hosts a number of evangelistic outreaches.

As a result of this vast ministry, Orphan Outreach is able to share the love of Christ with orphans and workers across Russia. But their far reach also means they have to jump through each hoop the government places before them. There are a number of logistics to figure out on a regular basis for Orphan Outreach to continue their work.

The current election season, however, has made these logistics difficult.

"We've really just seen a slowdown in all of our projects," says Orphan Outreach's Tiffany Taylor. "We've been trying to plan some trips and make some decisions, and the officials that we're working with in Russia are just looking very carefully at working with NGOs."

It's not altogether surprising, notes Taylor. Elections tend to cause this sort of slowdown anywhere in the world.

"Any time there's an election in any country we work in, we see a slowdown in decision-making, mostly because officials who make decisions are fearful that their job may not be there anymore," explains Taylor. "So they're waiting to see who is going to be in charge, and then to see how that is going to affect the associations that work with orphans."

Orphan Outreach may be under even further scrutiny at this time than other NGOs.

"We know that as a Christian ministry working in Russia, we're looked at very carefully: what we're doing, what our work is. The other Christian ministries also have that same very close eye on them," says Taylor.

The slow word of officials is keeping progress at a very mild pace in Russia, but Taylor is thankful that no work has been completely stopped. Orphan Outreach is praying fervently that the outcome of the elections will not affect their ministry negatively either.

Pray with them through the elections, which take place this Sunday, March 4.

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