Star leads Russians to nursery this Christmas

The Slavic Gospel Association hopes to distribute Christmas gifts, children’s Bibles and personalized ornaments to 50,000 children in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and the former Soviet countries of Central Asia. |

Does the Star of Bethlehem still lead people to the Child Jesus today?

As a frequent visitor to Russia and other countries of the former Soviet Union, I have seen time and time again how a simple paper Christmas star melted hearts and brought joy and hope to life. Russian families – even those facing the most total despair – thanks to a unique action of the Slavic Gospel Association called Emmanuel’s child.

In a remarkable way, God uses this very simple Star of Bethlehem ornament to connect people in America with families in Russia and surrounding nations. It also delivers a Christmas message from true hope they’ve never heard of it before.

The message printed on each star in Russian? “God loves you.”

These three little words will lead thousands of Russian, Kazakh, Uzbek and other families to the manger this Christmas – and the greatest gift of love ever, Jesus.

“Is anyone in America praying for me?” “

I will never forget a particular Christmas in Russia with a group of American Christians. The local Russian pastor stopped at a busy shopping mall and told our group, “We are going to play the Christmas story.”

Our “performance” was far from professional! I was an angel, acting while wrapped in a white shower curtain.

But the response has been incredible.

As we handed out gifts, children’s Bibles, and paper stars to moms and their children, I noticed a line was forming. Each mom held her Star of Bethlehem with the words “God loves you” and someone in America’s name printed on it. The local pastor explained to them that the person whose name was on the star prayed for them, even though they had never met. This revelation – that a complete stranger in America was praying for them – was overwhelming.

“What is the name of the person in America who prays for me?” Everyone wanted to know.

Over the years, I have been welcomed into homes across the former Soviet Union, from the Arctic Circle to the deserts of Central Asia, and have often seen this paper star hanging in the place of honor. , often for years, never to be taken apart.

It is not so much about the gift as it is about the donor.It’s a constant reminder that someone halfway across the world in America is praying for them, a bond that cannot be broken.

As hundreds of local evangelical churches across the former Soviet Union reach out to their neighbors this Christmas, God is working in the lives of those who have lost hope: families facing the pandemic and severe hunger, widows, orphans and alcoholics and drugs.

Star light

In a church in Russia, I had the privilege of sharing the gospel. Some people who had been drinking heavily were standing just outside, trying to disrupt the service.

But God had other plans.

One of them had listened to the story of Jesus’ greatest gift and his forgiveness. She burst into the church saying, “I can’t live like this anymore… I need this gift. Some of her drinking mates tried to stop her, but church members formed a human shield around her as she poured out her heart to God.

Even now, Russian Christians are going to orphanages, children’s homes and door-to-door walking – braving the pandemic and temperatures below 40C – to share the good news of the child of Emmanuel… “God with us”.

It all starts with a simple star, a star that says “God loves you”.

Will you be sharing this simple, life-transforming message with someone this Christmas?

Eric Mock is vice president of ministry operations at the Slavic Gospel Association (SGA,, partnering with local churches across Russia and the former Soviet Union to share the gospel and bring hope.

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