Abkhazia (MNN) — The practical love of Christ is reaching Abkhazia's forgotten children once again.
Last week, SOAR sent another example of Christ's all-encompassing love: school supplies.
Abkhazia lacks basic infrastructure, and its people are poverty-stricken from decades of war. Many families cannot afford to pay for school supplies for their children, and orphanages are in the same position.
Seeing the need, SOAR's church partners in southern Russia decided to step in.
"As we prepped for the project in Sochi for the Olympics," says SOAR's Greg Mangione, "they…asked [if] we would come alongside them to minister to the churches in Abkhazia."
While the time crunch was a huge concern, Mangione says the project came together at lightning speed.
"We weren't sure if it was going to work, and we kind of put it in the Lord's hands and said, 'This is just so short, but, Lord, if You want to make it happen, then make it clea,r," Mangione recalls.
Five churches in Minnesota have come alongside SOAR on this project. They collected supplies and packed them into 1,000 small string "backpacks" emblazoned with a Bible verse in Abkhazian.
Supplies included everything from "pencils to some watercolors drawing paper, construction paper, composition books, glue sticks, and such," Mangione says.
Working through a local company, the church was able to arrange reduced pricing for the items to be shipped. The shipper, in turn, worked with Delta Airlines.
"It's neat how all these different people are coming together to make this work," notes Mangione.
Pray that as kids receive these gifts, their hearts will be open to receive Christ. Pray that the Body of Christ in Abkhazia will grows and flourish.
"We're talking about an area with 400,000 people or so…another kind of 'forgotten' area [where] not a lot is happening," Mangione explains. "There are about 300 Christians and just a few small churches."