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Slavic Gospel Association hopes to reach 50,000 needy Russian children this Christmas

A U.S.-based evangelical mission that partners with local churches to serve orphans, widows and others in need across Russia and the former Soviet Union aims to share the true meaning and hope of Christmas. The Slavic Gospel Association will serve 50,000 needy boys and girls this year.

From Russia’s capital Moscow to the Siberian wastelands — and across 10 countries of the former Soviet Union and Russian-speaking immigrants in Israel — underprivileged children will receive gifts, children’s Bibles and a message of hope through Immanuel’s Child, a Christmas outreach spearheaded by Illinois-based ministry.

Last Christmas, local Russian-speaking Christians handed out more than 37,000 gifts and Bibles in partnership with churches and individuals in the United States This year, local believers are looking to bring Christmas joy to thousands more children reeling from the impact of COVID-19, building on SGA’s Christ Over COVID Gospel campaign and hunger relief efforts.

Russia, especially, has been hit hard by the pandemic. Many state-run orphanages and children’s homes across Russia and neighboring countries have closed because of COVID-19, and thousands of children have had to return to homes where domestic violence, drunkenness and neglect are common.

Partnering with a grassroots network of thousands of local evangelical churches across the vast region, Immanuel’s Child — an annual event launched by SGA in 2002 — is gearing up to distribute Christmas gifts, children’s Bibles and personalized ornaments to 50,000 hurting children across the former Soviet Union.

“Most children in Russia and surrounding countries have never been told who Jesus — Immanuel, ‘God with us’ — is,” SGA President Michael Johnson said. “They’ve never heard the real Christmas story that there’s a God who loves them and sent his son to save the world. Orphans and other forgotten children face a hopeless future unless local Christians reach them first with the gospel and the love of Christ. This is what Immanuel’s Child is all about.”

-Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice