Slavic Gospel Association moves to help heal wounds in Beslan, Russia.

By January 19, 2005

Russia (MNN)–The January 7th Orthodox Christmas was especially hard this year in Beslan, Russia, the scene of a deadly terrorist school siege.

Many of these grief-stricken people have been left frightened, hurting, and in despair. They desperately need the love of Jesus, the only one who can heal that kind of pain and fear.

Slavic Gospel Association’s Joel Griffith says this year’s “Immanuel’s Child” outreach program, was especially healing. “We’ve seen over and over again just how not only effective these ministries are, just for the children themselves, but the children often come and talk to their parents about what happened. Or sometimes, the parents will even come with the children, and the parents are so moved by the love shown to their children, that the church has a real open door to be able to minister.”

Churches in the North America partnered with churches in the former Soviet Union to ‘sponsor’ the program. They facilitate the outreach by collecting gifts and donations, which are sent over to the national church who invite families to their Christmas program.

The children are not only exposed to the original Christmas story, but also to the hope of Christ in the Gospel. They also receive a signed Star of Bethlehem ornament from the sponsoring church families showing how God’s love spans the globe. Along with that, the children get a special Christmas gift–purchased locally, wrapped and presented by Russian church workers, a Russian-language Children’s Bible, candy and fruit, warm clothes, toiletry items, and Russian-language discipleship materials given to the local church.

While many of the programs in the area have already wrapped up, there are still a few more yet to be held, and the results are still coming in. But for the special emphasis this year in Beslan, there was encouraging news.

Just as the terrorists’ action left few families untouched, Griffith says, “The senior pastor there informs us that they were able to hold outreaches in North Ossetia where Beslan is and five other churches in a region that’s largely a Muslim region. He told us that there were 2,261 children and 853 parents throughout these regions that were able to be a part of these ministries.”

Dedicated Christians from local Bible-preaching churches in the former Soviet Union will deliver these gifts and work one-on-one with children to make disciples in this vast land where the Lord is needed so desperately.

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