Reports are continuing to come in from Immanuel’s Child Christmas ministries* across the Commonwealth of Independent States. As SGA-sponsored missionary Pastor Vladimir Kachmarchyk reported recently, the giving of gifts on Christmas is a relatively new concept in his region, but the Lord used them to open the door for the Gospel . . .
The warmest greetings to you with love of the Lord Jesus Christ! We are grateful to you for your desire and labor to bring joy to needy Ukrainian children. God granted us wonderful opportunities to proclaim the Gospel to families who don’t yet know the Lord as their personal Savior. The funds sent by you were used for the purchase of Christmas gifts. We presented the children with mittens, hats, socks, sweets, fruit, cookies, toiletries, children’s Bibles, and calendars.
Christmas celebrations in our area last for a few weeks. On the first days of celebration, people are tempted a lot. They drink alcohol and spend time in the company of their friends. As we wanted to bring joy to children in problem families, we had to wait till these people sobered up and could hear the Word of God seriously. We wanted them to understand what we share with them.
Our evangelism took place in families’ homes and in our House of Prayer. Every year, our family walks from door to door, congratulating our fellow villagers on Christmas. We always sing carols, play musical instruments, share the Good News, and present them with Bibles or Christian calendars filled with Bible verses. People are always invited to come to the services.
We invited some boys from a large family to the Immanuel’s Child service this way. They came with their grandfather and heard the story about the birth of Jesus Christ. Afterward, they received wonderful presents and invitations to our Sunday school and Christian camp. They “flew” home—their grandfather thanked us several times and said that he had never seen the boys so happy! We also visited several other families, who received our gifts with much joy and astonishment. In every home, we had a chance to carry out a survey of what Christmas meant for children and adults. We told them about God’s salvation and the free gift of eternal life.To give presents on Christmas is a new custom in our area. But, in these days, a bit of God’s kindness in the form of a present opened the hearts of both children and adults for the Word of God. The Scriptures can bring hope and joy, and do not depend on life circumstances. We pray for the sown Word to bear good fruit and urge them to accept the gift of God’s love. We pray for the parents, who promised to attend church services, to come to know the Lord as their personal Savior.
We pray that God will prolong this time of grace for our nation. While visiting the homes of our fellow villagers, we could meet many people who don’t know about the light of God’s salvation and live in darkness, captured by Satan. They are dependent on different harmful things, and without hope, they don’t have strength to take care of their home, their children and their eternity. We are grateful to God for you and for your desire to proclaim the Gospel in our area! The Word of God is being preached reaching the hearts of different people. May God richly bless you in His mighty ways!
* Editor’s Note: While we in the West celebrate Christmas on December 25, much of the CIS celebrates almost two weeks later on January 7. Reports continue to come in well into the spring.