Russia (MNN) — Christians in Russia and throughout the former Soviet Union are celebrating Christmas right now, from January 7-12. But wasn’t Christmas in December? Not according to the Julian calendar, still used by many Orthodox believers around the world.
Eric Mock with the Slavic Gospel Association says, “I’ve gone caroling with them on January 7, January 8. And you will go through a village and knock on doors and they’ll invite you in, even for a meal. We’ll pray with them, sing Christmas songs with them, and visit families. This just wouldn’t happen any other time of the year.”
Mock says many SGA partners celebrate the holiday with their families on December 25. But in January, they focus on evangelism. “They see this as a tremendous opportunity to advance the Gospel, holding incredible Christmas programs as well as taking those programs to orphanages and out to village homes.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, these churches reached out to countless people in need. “Because of that, during Christmas, they’ve seen a 25 to 30 percent increase in unbelieving families coming to the services, and in unbelieving families opening their homes for Christmas visits.”
Pray many people would find hope in the love of Jesus during Orthodox Christmas. You can get involved by supporting these local churches through SGA.
Operation Winter Warmth
One major way SGA helps these churches reach their neighbors is through Operation Winter Warmth.
Many regions throughout the former Soviet Union experience bitterly cold winters. Mock says, “Two weeks ago, I was in the Far East Russia region of Yakutia. It was 54 degrees below zero. If you want to imagine how cold that is, imagine climbing into your freezer to warm up. It was a different kind of cold. For me, it was a cold hurt, but for the people there that’s life.”
Through Operation Winter Warmth, SGA sends funds to local churches, which purchase portable heaters for people who need them.
Header photo courtesy of SGA.