February 2020

Teen Camps, Siberian Prisons, and the Holy Spirit Changing Lives

Winter Ukraine Camp
75 kids and counselors gathered for one week in January. Many dedicated their lives to the Lord.

Kyiv, Ukraine – Thank you for your help with our January Christmas Camp in Ukraine. The camp ended just two days before the memorial service for Irina, our director; and it inspired us to see the Holy Spirit working in the lives of these kids to walk closer with Jesus. The ministry of discipleship for at-risk kids is vital.

Many of the teens are mentored by camp counselors and some desire to be counselors one day themselves. Our goal is to make disciples of Jesus Christ by creating a positive spiritual environment where kids can grow in their faith. Thank you for your support.

I was in prison and you visited me

Russian Federation – Mercy Projects partners with and supports several chaplains and pastors in Russia. They are national missionaries in different regions of the country who endure hardship to bring the gospel to orphanages, boarding schools, and prisons for men, women and youth. Here are two of their reports. (Jeff)

Bibles in Prisons
Guards help push the sled to the prison with bibles and gifts for the prisoners.

Report from brother Igor:

Peace to you dear brothers and sisters,

I am sending you my end of year report, and by the grace of God, these days were full of trips to prisons. We visited 18 men’s prisons in the last two months and conducted 5 evangelistic services in the northern Perm territory and beyond. We have also established, together with our local church partners, several Rehab Houses. When men are released, they can come and live together and grow in their faith. Prison authorities have invited us to bring our “Life” course to men who are being released. We instruct and counsel them how to adapt to life after prison, including reconnecting with their families.

With the help of Mercy Projects and sponsors, we could also visit 8 women’s prisons, conduct bible studies, evangelism and distribute Christmas presents. This remote region is difficult. One must travel two days from Moscow by train. We used sleds to push bibles and Christmas gifts over the snow. We hold meetings in the prisons and it is voluntary to come. Some prisons give us a meeting room to use. We sing, show films, share our faith, and have conversations with the men and women.

Chaplain in Russian Prison
A chaplain leads a bible study in the prison.

It is so important that we develop relationships with local churches. This way we train them to visit the prisons and do the follow-up. Our House of Mercy is a rehab ministry for former prisoners and addicts. There are several houses throughout the Perm region. About 40% of the men end up successfully walking with Christ and overcoming their addictions. We are thankful for these results.

In addition, we also meet with the prison authorities to discuss our cooperation. We still find a positive response from many prison officials about our ministry. In the photo we presented a new hockey stick to the prison director. They were very happy and this is how we show gratefulness that prison doors are open to us. We know that Jesus has not forgotten the men and women in prison and we want to show them His love. Thank you for helping us and please keep praying. We have many plans to visit more prisoners this winter. Thank you!

Report from brother Viktor:

Greetings to you from Siberia!

We, too, in Siberia glorify His name and proclaim His wonderful deeds. We do not lose heart that sometimes the results are not the ones we would like. We remember the words; YOUR LABOR IS NOT VAIN IN THE LORD. We are happy to work in His field and labor together with you as co-workers.

Prison Director Gift
We gave a hockey stick to the prison director for the men to use.

We celebrated Christmas in the church and then visited poor families bringing gifts to their children. The joy that we give is not comparable with the joy that is given back to us. This joy was so mutual and sincere. We hope that the seed that we sow in these young hearts will bear fruit in the glory of God.

Thank you for taking part with us in Siberia! Your funds serve to expand the kingdom of God on earth. May our Lord reward you and meet your every need. Thank you for your prayers for my health!

“… and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the uttermost ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8

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