The Overwhelming Need for SGA’s Orphans Reborn Ministry
By Eric Mock
Vice President of Ministry Operations
Life in Far East Russia can be challenging at best. The winters are bitter cold, with temperatures exceeding 50 below zero Fahrenheit. Living in this harsh region of Russia takes its toll most notably on families, where divorce is double that of the United States. In fact, the Far-East regions of Magadan and the Jewish Autonomous Oblast (Birobidzhan) lead Russia in alcohol consumption (an estimated 2/3 of all violent crimes in Russia are alcohol-related).
Such living often means that children suffer the most. These children suffer neglect, abuse, with many becoming wards of the state and following the pattern lived out before them by their parents. These children are scattered across this vast region in 334 state-run orphanages. Nearly 70 percent of all children in Russian orphanages have a living parent or guardian. With broken hearts, these children suffer daily with growing hopelessness, as they look for their parents to come and take them home—and the parents never come. I have visited orphanages where the children crowded around me just for a chance to hold my hand or get a hug. For these dear ones in the Far East, hope is even harder to find. If being an orphan is not difficult enough, a majority of them have never heard the Gospel, nor have they been told of the hope we have in Jesus.
As many of you know, through the SGA-sponsored Orphans Reborn ministry, we have been serving amazing Bible-teaching local churches as they reach out to orphans. We hear of orphans coming to faith and being totally transformed by God’s grace. We know of orphans who have been saved, and after leaving the orphanage on reaching young adulthood, have continued on as part of Orphans Reborn teams themselves. They keenly want to reach younger orphans for Christ just as they were reached.
For a time in the Jewish Autonomous Oblast, a local church supported through the Orphans Reborn ministry lovingly visited such children. Orphans in this tiny remote region were hearing the Gospel and being discipled monthly. They were turning to Jesus and finding lasting hope where there was previously none. Then suddenly, the door to the orphanage tragically closed. At that time, this was the only ministry to orphans in Russia’s Far East that had requested support. However, under SGA’s new Reach Russia Now initiative, we pray this will soon dramatically change!
There are currently only 65 evangelical churches across this vast region to reach 6.3 million people, but many of them are near to orphanages. Today, these churches are only able to hold ministry at nine of the 334 orphanages, and that only on a sporadic basis. So much more can be done to help the fatherless in the Far East of Russia, and to comfort their broken hearts. Today there are churches in four key regions of the Far East ready to establish regular visits each month to these nine orphanages, and even double the number of orphanages they are reaching. Yet even this falls short of the need!
Will you join with us in both seeing more churches planted through our Reach Russia Now initiative and more orphan children reached with the Gospel through Orphans Reborn? These children and crying out for hope, a hope that only our Lord can truly provide.
Pastor Oleg's church reached more than 250 people through SGA-supported Compassion Ministry, and some have started attending church services!
God opened a door for Mikhail and his team to hold a children’s summer program in a remote village that was only accessible by aircraft.
Your donation will help change lives in former Soviet Union countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia.