After much prayer and studying the needs of the church and Russian society, we decided to declare 2014 FEBC’s Year for Children in Need. God is leading us to invest in three distinct areas:
- Help orphans find caring families
- Protect unborn children
- Introduce Russian children to Jesus
1. With more than a million social orphans in Russia, FEBC is challenging Christian families to adopt these children. As a result of this emergent movement, sparked in part by FEBC, thousands of families have accepted social orphans into their homes. In 2014 we plan to partner with more Christ-centered organizations and individuals to give them voice in media. The end result will hopefully be more families making a decision to become adoptive or foster parents.
The Christmas story, while full of joy, also includes the difficult circumstances of Jesus’ family, as well as the tragic death of children killed in Bethlehem. Life is full of anguish and suffering, and we are called to respond to children whose lives have been devastated by the sins of others.
“One day I overheard my adopted daughter telling my biological daughter about her horrifying life in the orphanage,” said Alexey, one of the guests on our Excellent Family program. “My daughter’s reaction was an outpouring of love and acceptance. As I walked away, I thought this is the reaction we all must have; this is the reaction Jesus has towards these children.”
When I meet adopted children, I wish you could see their eyes, and hear their stories. You make such a difference through your contributions.
In addition to our partner families and organizations in Russia, we have begun working with Christians in the Ukraine. They minister to orphans, adopt them, and encourage others to take children into their families – using FEBC radio.
Vladimir and Elena are one such couple in the Ukrainian twin cities where FEBC launched a new station this Spring. They have three children of their own, and have adopted six more. In addition, Vladimir visits local orphanages several times a week, presenting the Good News to the children who live there. “This Christmas I’ll be sharing how Jesus was able to overcome difficulties in His life, and how they can do the same—with God’s help.”
2. Many secular experts, citing social orphans dilemma, advocate abortion. They see this as a solution. At FEBC, we present a Bible-based approach to the life of the unborn. That perspective—that they are a gift from God—help us love them unconditionally.
We work with several pro-life activists who are compassionate, Christ-minded, and non-political in their approach to the issue. We minister in mercy, proclaiming not only God’s love for the unborn, but His love and forgiveness for all who’ve been affected by this issue.
“I had two abortions in the past,” wrote Anna, 26, in response to one of our programs. “And my boyfriend was insisting on another one, saying that we were not ready for a child. After listening to several of your programs, I made a decision to keep the baby no matter what. Now we are talking about marriage.” It is these kinds of results that we seek as we minister to people.
3. Our main goal for 2014, however, is to create Christian programming for children twelve and under. Here’s what we’ve planned:
- A talented Christian writer and radio producer, Anna, will record six series or radio programs. Some will be creative stories for the very young. Others will be Gospel stories intertwined with dilemmas facing Russian children today. Another series will be based on the parables of Jesus. She will also record a Christmas special for the next Christmas season.Anna, who is a professional singer and actress, will record all these programs using a group of young actors and musicians. She will also illustrate some of her programs, and invite other artists to participate in this project as well. All of these programs will be aired on our stations network-wide in Russia, Ukraine, and Central Asia.
- Our partners in Kiev, Ukraine, are working on a series of programs for children in the Ukrainian language. “We need programs recorded in the heart language of the millions of children growing up in families who speak Ukrainian,” said Galina, the project manager.
- Another series of programs will be prepared by Viktor, a young Russian evangelical theologian who is completing his doctoral studies in Europe. Working title of this series is Theology for Children. “I have a young son, and I’ll be preparing these programs with him in mind,” said Viktor. “I want him to have a picture of a loving Father—a Bible-based picture of God—that is understandable, age-appropriate, and expressive.”
- We are working with three other people who are preparing additional projects particularly helpful for Sunday schools. Alexey, one of them, says: “We must do all we can to help children understand who God is and experience His love. FEBC can be instrumental in helping Sunday school teachers achieve this result.”
When Jesus talked about children, he emphasized using their language, being natural, following the manner children approach God, and making sure we do not hinder them. This is how FEBC approaches child evangelism—helping children open their hearts to God the way only children can.
In a focused effort, we will deliver all these programs to as many social orphans as we can—on various digital carriers, in addition to the Internet and radio.
Thank you, friends, for thinking about others, especially children who are the most vulnerable during this Christmas season. Thank you for helping us bring the Good News to children who otherwise would not hear it.
Celebrating His Birth,
Victor P. Akhterov
FEBC Russian Ministries