Welcome to What in the World Wednesdays. It is my hope that this blog will bring believers together in prayer for the nations. Each Wednesday, we’ll focus on a different nation. Thank you for joining us!
In 1998, Tanya was a 10-year-old Russian girl separated from her siblings, living in an orphanage because her alcoholic parents couldn’t take care of her. On New Year’s Eve, 1999, she received the gift of hope through Operation Christmas Child, a global ministry of Samaritan’s Purse. Her teachers at the orphanage told her no one loved her, but the shoe box filled with small gifts was proof that her heavenly Father hadn’t abandoned her, proof that He cared for her.
In 2004, Tanya, her sister, and brother, were adopted by a Christian couple from Missouri. She was eager to learn more about Samaritan’s Purse and determined to give back to this ministry that had blessed her. Recently, after graduating from high school, Tanya traveled with Samaritan’s Purse to Ecuador to help distribute gift boxes.
QUOTE FROM SAMARITAN’S PURSE ARTICLE: “This is making me happier than anything,” [Tanya] said as she handed out a box she packed herself to a girl named Maria. “God is using me to serve Him, and I am trying to show kids just like me that there is hope.” (Read the full article here)
Tanya’s story reminded me of what this blog is all about. She didn’t have the resources to feed thousands or a hundred or even ten. Initially, all she had was a great need and a prayer for help. The Lord heard the voice of a lonely little girl and moved with compassion to bless her. Out of that blessing, Tanya has determined to freely give what she has freely received, to make a difference in someone else’s life.
A shoe box packed with small gifts is more significant than we can know. It changed a little girl’s life. What can I do today to give out of what I have so freely been given? We all have something to give, either tangible or intangible. Is my “shoe box” packed away in a closet of comfort and convenience? Is it stacked up, collecting dust on a shelf of self-focused living? What’s in that little box? Love, kindness, generosity, grace? Maybe money, maybe the gift of my time? What’s in storage?
Spiritually speaking, we don’t need these closets and shelves. We aren’t meant to store up these gifts, but to pass them along. We are filled, then spilled, filled then spilled. Vessels of His grace.
This week’s challenge…clean out those closets!!
a) Location: Northern Asia (area west of Urals is considered part of Europe)
b) Size: approximately 1.8 times larger than the U.S.
c) Capital: Moscow
d) Climate: ranges from humid continental to subarctic in Siberia; tundra in polar north
e) Terrain: broad plain with low hills west of Urals; vast coniferous forest and tundra in Siberia; uplands and mountains along southern border regions
f) Bordered by Azerbaijan, Belarus, China, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Kazakhstan, North Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Mongolia, Norway, Poland, Ukraine, Arctic Ocean, North Pacific Ocean
g) Natural Resources: wide natural resource base including major deposits of oil, natural gas, coal, and many strategic minerals, timber. NOTE- formidable obstacles of climate, terrain, and distance hinder exploitation of natural resources
h) Natural Hazards: permafrost over much of Siberia; volcanic activity in Kuril islands, volcanoes and earthquakes on Kamchatka Peninsula; spring floods and summer/autumn forest fires throughout Siberia and parts of European Russia
i) Highest Point: Gora El’brus 5,633m
j) Lowest Point: Caspian Sea -28m
k) Population: over 140 million
l) Median Age: 38.4 years
m) Religions: Russian Orthodox 15-20%, Muslim 10-15%, other Christian 2% NOTE: estimates are of practicing worshipers; Russia has large populations of non-practicing believers and non-believers, a legacy of over seven decades of Soviet rule.
n) Languages: Russian, many minority languages
o) Birth Rate: 11.1 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
p) Death Rate: 16.06 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
q) Life Expectancy: 66 yrs
r) HIV/AIDS adult prevalence: 1.1%
s) Government Type: federation
t) Chief of State: President Dmitriy Medvedev; Premier Vladimir Putin
u) Unemployment Rate: 6.2% (2008 est.)
v) GDP per capita: $15,800 (est. 2008)
w) *THIS INFORMATION IS NOT FROM CIA.GOV, BUT FROM THE US STATE DEPARTMENT. Human Trafficking: Russia is listed as Tier 2.
(Reminder- There are 3 tiers: Tier 1 – compliant with all laws, Tier 2 – some effort being made to comply, Tier 3 – ignoring or promoting traffic)
x) Telephone main lines in use: 43.9 million (2006)
y) Telephones-Mobile cellular: 170 million (2007
z) Internet Users: 30 million (2007)