Churches in Russia launched a campaign to help families in need as Coronavirus infections in the country continue to surge.
Mission agency Slavic Gospel Association (SGA) launched an international campaign, Christ over COVID, to highlight the ongoing health crisis and call for prayer for people in need of physical and spiritual help. The deadly virus has infected more than 750,000 people in Russia, the fourth highest number of cases in the world.
Our goal is to equip local Christians to help their neighbors in this crisis and show them God’s love in action as well as through their words. —Michael Johnson, president of Slavic Gospel Association
Through the initiative, Christians in Russia and the former Soviet Union provided 1.5 million free meals to families and even frontliners, according to Religion News Service.
Medical workers in Russia often work in unsafe conditions and without protection from COVID-19. A church in Tula, 120 miles south of Moscow, sent 500 food packages and Bibles to a local hospital. “We’d like to share with you that God loves you very much,” a pastor told frontliners.
The “Love in Action” ministry of the campaign reaches out to families desperate for help, including widows, orphans, elderly and people with disabilities. Even before the pandemic, millions of families in Russia get by with just a little, many living with a monthly salary of $500 or less.
Some 6,350 churches in 10 countries across the former Soviet Union are able to distribute food, medicine, hygiene items, and the Gospel to families at the exact point of need.
The pandemic has threatened the lives of the vulnerable population in Russia, including 700,000 orphans and unwanted children. The kids live in state-run institutions and many of these facilities were forced to close because of the Coronavirus, reports Canadian-based radio station, CHVN Radio.
One SGA missionary disclosed that, “We’re appalled at the terrible conditions these children are living in. They’re left without food and are hungry.”
SGA president Michael Johnson said, “Our goal is to equip local Christians to help their neighbors in this crisis and show them God’s love in action as well as through their words.” He added that, “People in the villages are saying, ‘the government doesn’t help us. Only your church helps us’.”
The recipients of care packages from SGA expressed gratitude for the bag of groceries and the Bible. “We wish there (were) more people of light like you,” one healthcare worker said.
“This is the greatest opportunity since the fall of communism for evangelicals to share the Gospel message and the love of Christ in word and action,” said Johnson. “We hear stories of changed lives every day.”