Russia (MNN) — The Great Commission begins with a simple command: go. But because Jesus asked us to go to all nations, we might get stuck on this question. Where do I go? For SOAR International, it’s about going where the need is, and that has led them to Russia.
(Photo courtesy of SOAR International)
Joanna Mangione of SOAR International explains that their mission is to answer another call from Jesus in the context of making disciples: to take care of the widow, the orphan, and the foreigner. They focus on the orphan. The projects SOAR International does help buoy the work being done by the Church on a daily basis to reach those who don’t know Jesus.
“Baskets of Hope, Stuff a Stocking, our summer projects — they all kind of play different roles in the process of sharing the Gospel, in making disciples,” Mangione explains.
In their most recent project, Baskets of Hope, they were able to share the Gospel at several orphanages. One of their partners runs a transition home for orphans who’ve graduated from government care. This partner helped with the basket distribution, and invited orphans who are about to graduate to consider living at the transition home.
(Photo courtesy of SOAR International)
“Every year there’s always a new set of kids who will graduate now. A lot of them don’t know what decision they’ll make because they don’t have a lot of background or information or knowledge of what it’s like to live on their own. So be praying for those kids as they start to transition out,” Mangione says.
These simple projects and gifts, which include sharing the Gospel, open the door for the Church to provide life-long discipleship.
Mangione recently received an email from their partner. It was a reminder of why they do what they do. The partner said while there aren’t many people who want to come to Russia, the need is great. In Russia, there is a large gap between nominal Christianity and a true, personal, and active faith in Jesus Christ. The partner thanked SOAR for their help in bridging that gap.
“Hearing reports like that from our partners in Russia is a huge impact and encouragement for us — in seeing that the Great Commission tells us to go to all peoples and all nations, right? And so I think we get inspired as we see that, yeah, people are getting a little scared of Russia and what’s going on in there, but there are wonderful people there. It’s a wonderful culture and a wonderful country. There are so many people to reach, and so many people who live there who are God’s children,” Mangione says.
Trusting God in ministry
It’s clear to see that SOAR is passionate about what they do, and inspired by what God has been doing in Russia. And this passion can be an inspiration for the rest of us. It can be difficult to nail down our own role in the Great Commission. There are so many nations, so many people, and so many needs.
For example, Mangione explains, “The number of orphans all over the world is staggering. It’s hard to choose, where do you go first to help — because it’s in our own country, it’s just all over the place. But I think what inspires me and what inspires our staff is seeing how at least this is one way we can be reaching those orphans — that we are reaching them for Christ.”
What we learn from SOAR is that nobody can do everything, but everybody can be doing something that counts with whatever opportunities God has put before us. As the song goes, we just have to ‘trust and obey’.
“I think something that continues to strike me is we are a very small organization. But to see how much has been accomplished… I mean, God has done it all! It’s not been within our power, it’s all been done through Him,” Mangione says.
Will you prayerfully consider how God might use you to reach out with His Gospel? If you’ve been inspired by the work SOAR is doing, consider partnering with them. You can pray for the projects they’ve been doing year round — that the kids would experience true transformation and healing through the Gospel. You can give here; we’ll share a story soon on how you can support the summer ministries. And, you can go.
Check in with us throughout the year and we’ll share different ministry opportunities with SOAR!