Russia (MNN) — Orphans Reborn, a year-round children’s ministry through Slavic Gospel Association, is expanding into the lands of Far East Russia.
Far East Russia holds 323 orphanages throughout a remote area with a landmass about as large as the United States. The region only has about 4.5 million people. For perspective, compare this to the U.S., which holds just over 326 million people.
“We are thankful for each gift we receive for #SGAOrphansReborn ministries in the CIS.”– Lana Yusov, SGA’s Children’s Ministries Administrator (Photo, caption courtesy of SGA)
Not sure what Orphans Reborn is? SGA’s Vice President of Ministry Operations Eric Mock shares, “The Orphan’s Reborn program is set up to equip churches with gas and teaching materials and food for the kids…. They give gifts when they compete for Bible games and different things they’re doing. It all works together to see these kids supported.”
However, Mock says he actually wishes this ministry didn’t have to exist. Orphans Reborn was created to try and meet the needs of orphans who have suffered devastating family break-ups. Orphans in Russia are created by a myriad of events such as alcoholism in the family, severe poverty, abuse, death, and more.
Often, when kids age out of the system, they are left to fend for themselves. At this point, most orphans have grown up with almost no one who has cared for them. Their lives are empty, they’ve been abandoned, and with little-to-no skills, they are thrown into a world which has shouted it doesn’t want them.
Life After Orphanages
For this reason, many young men who were once orphans get into the drug business, both using and selling. Girls, in efforts to bring in an income and to survive, end up in prostitution or are tricked into human trafficking.
The downward spiral that was jump-started with the loss of their parents, either by death or abandonment, only worsens in life after the orphanage. With little to keep these orphans from entering into the world of drugs and prostitution, SGA is trying to reach these kids before it’s too late.
Orphans Reborn is already working in the European continental Russia, but will now also be reaching orphans in the vast, scarcely populated areas of Far East Russia. Statistically speaking, 85 percent of orphans disappear after leaving the system.
Furthermore, most of these kids in Far East Russia, if not all, have never heard the hope of the Gospel.
How It Works
“We are working with churches to reach out, even in the last few weeks. Churches have begun working in seven orphanages with a target of 12 this summer — supported by Orphans Reborn,” Mock shares.
Eric Mock in Central Asia visiting SGA missionaries and children’s ministries. (Photo, caption courtesy of SGA via Facebook)
“And these are faithful local churches who will begin every month, several times a month, reaching out to these children, letting them know they matter, they have not been forgotten, and [making sure] that they hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ — to hear a message of hope.”
Churches supported through Orphans Reborn visit orphanages three to four times every month, including during extreme weather conditions, reminding these kids they’re not forgotten and they are worth the difficult and dangerous travel.
Other work that churches do with these kids, including what Mock has mentioned, are providing Bible lessons, sound biblical counsel, and the confidence that they are loved. Orphans Reborn funds also help supply churches with the needed resources to travel to orphanages.
How To Help
Since 2002, when Orphans Reborn began, just under 10,000 children have been profoundly impacted by the ministry.
“If we don’t point them to Christ, if we don’t point them to the family of God, the sad part is these kids really have nowhere else to turn,” Mock says.
“But the joy we have is that through programs like Orphans Reborn we can put gas in the tank of willing individuals who only desire to drive out to these remote orphanages, to minister to them, and let these kids know there is a family who will hold them dear. There is a Father in Heaven who will never fail them.”
Will you help churches reach orphans? Here are two ways to get involved.
Pray: Please pray for these kids to know what it means to be loved. Pray for the Gospel’s work in their lives and for life transformation that comes along with a commitment to Christ. Also, please pray for the provisions of the churches who are investing in these orphans’ lives.
Give: Would you help support Far East Russian churches by donating to Orphans Reborn? For the cost* of half a pizza, you can ensure that a child is hearing the hope of the Gospel and learning they are loved.
Find out more about Orphans Reborn here!
To donate, click here!
*Churches are able to keep per child costs low because their resources are pooled to help multiple children at once. In a sense, it’s a “bulk” system. Resources and ministry are executed in “bulk” both in purchasing needs for orphans and by visiting numerous kids at an orphanage in a single visit.