This is Eric Mock sending Russian Christmas greetings from Khabarovsk!
We arrived by train from Vladivostok, spilt the team, and participated in worship services in two churches, and then spent the afternoon together in ministry. And I wanted to tell you a story which truly reflects on the state of ministry in Far East Russia and how we saw God at work.
Pastor Gennady Abramov had been working with the ministry leaders and the youth of his church in preparing their Christmas outreach. Then one day, Pastor Abramov received an interesting call. The local government had 100 “troubled” youth that they wanted to attend the Christmas program at the church! Preparing their own information card about the Christmas program at Gennady’s church, the local leadership worked hard to get kids to come. In the face of government pressure on churches to suppress evangelism and outreach in Russia, the request to take on more kids could only be seen as the work of God! The call in the morning came to Gennady, and he happily said yes. But he had no idea how he was going to buy more gifts. He prayed about this. And that night, a call came from Moscow from the SGA office. SGA was sending Immanuel’s Child stars, Bibles, and funds! Through Immanuel’s Child, we were able to serve a church that is reaching kids with the Gospel who were sent to them by unbelieving leaders. God be praised for such a Christmas miracle.
In the midst of all the conversation about the Russian law prohibiting evangelism, the Gospel continues to move forward in Russia’s Khabarovsk. After holding their services on January 7 (Russian Christmas), Pastor Benjamin Livtsenyuk and his congregation went to several street corners in their neighborhood and sang Christmas carols that also proclaimed the message of Christmas. “To us a Savior has been born!” Most all locals responded with encouraging words and stopped to listen to the singing. A policemen drove up at one time, watched for a bit, and drove on. God not only was present, but His protection was clear. Praise God for these faithful churches that saw Christmas day as the perfect time to proclaim the real message of Christmas.