Non-denominational Christian Media Missions • Reaching Russia, Asia and the Islamic World
You can be their Miracle of Love!
An estimated 20 thousand are behind bars in Russia’s 70 children’s prison camps under inhumane conditions behind concrete walls and barbed wire. Often, they do not have proper shoes or clothes to endure the freezing temperatures of Russia’s winters.
The stench of urine permeates their sleeping quarters.
Almost 4 million children live on the streets of Russia, hungry and lacking adequate clothing.
Isolated From The World
Three-meter (9 ft) high grey concrete walls topped with double barbwire encircle the compounds.
There are huge iron-gates, often rusted shut, in the wall, and other entrances that are guarded by police officers armed with submachine guns. In the yard is a two-story concrete building where more security personnel are stationed. Any attempt to escape from these compounds would prove futile.
These prison camps are home to thousands of children across Russia. They have little or no hope of becoming healthy, stable citizens of society,unless God intervenes.
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Warm Winter Clothes NeededInside live children, who appear to be between 10 to 18 in age. Their heads are shaven. Their clothes resemble oversized rags. Their footwear barely holds together. Laces are nowhere to be seen.
The smell of urine is in the air. The supervisor explaines that the boys urinate in their beds every night, due to the traumatic conditions at home. They have been forced onto the streets and eventually wind up in prison.
Pastor "Oleg" from the Ural Mountains region recalled frequently received calls from the authorities appealing for humanitarian aid. “Bring bread, no fruit, vegetables or butter – just bread!” had been the heartbreaking message. They had run out of food and allocated government subsidies had long been exhausted. The subsidies were insufficient to begin with. Because of its own poverty the Church has been powerless to respond in a meaningful way.
God Can Restore A Life
One of GCM Ministries team members, Kosti, an ex-convict himself, shared an experience from his life.
“My dad came home drunk on Christmas Eve. Instead of getting Christmas presents and singing Christmas carols dad tore up our home. As he barged through each room smashing furniture, he took a thick leather army belt and beat me and my sister until we bled.
In desperation mom tried to intervene to intercept the horrendous blows from dad’s belt. Dad grabbed a bread knife and struck mom repeatedly. Bleeding uncontrollably mom had slumped on the kitchen floor and with her last ounce of strength had pled for mercy on behalf of her children “do not harm these children!”
Miraculously Kosti and his sister had managed to escape the house. Fleeing into the winter night they found shelter by a heater in the hallway of an apartment building.
“Our greatest celebrations can turn out to be nightmares” added Kosti. “But God can restore a life that has been smashed in a thousand pieces. For God there are no hopeless cases. Your life may seem like a curse but God can make it a blessing to others—no matter who your parents may have been!
If you wish to know more about this special gesture of God’s love in children's prisons in Russia you may contact our staff by calling toll free: 1 877 674-5630. To help right now, with a tax-deductible gift, donate online.
Orphans and Outcasts
In rare cases some of the convicts are only 10 years of age, others are just beginning to learn the alphabet at age 14.
I remember one boy, Ivan, especially well. Passing by the prisoners lined up before us we stopped in front of him. Ivan had been brought to Kamyshinskaya prison camp six months earlier.
“How much time do you still have to serve?”
“What about your mother and father...?”
“I don’t have a father or mother.”
I could see pain in the boy’s eyes. They begged for warmth, love. He was astonished at our unannounced interest in him—as if he was saying, “I can’t believe I really mean something to someone!”