Jesus is clear: after loving God, our greatest commandment is to love our neighbours (Mark 12:31). In the world today, where technology connects us globally, the neighbour Jesus refers to could be anyone, anywhere. Elsewhere in the gospels, Jesus says that God is even kind to the wicked and we should do the same (Luke 6:35).

Russia’s history and leadership has long made it seem like a difficult country to love from the outside – an enemy to many and a place steeped in darkness. However, we need to remember that these are the same factors which have led to tremendous suffering for the Russian people – including the 40% living under the poverty line (minimum wage in Russia is £220* a month). Living under a dictatorial government, with state-controlled media, has left many duped by propaganda and disinformation. There are also devastating social issues which include the staggering statistic that every 40 minutes, a woman is killed by domestic violence. Can we follow Jesus’ command to love our neighbours – even our enemies? Will we love the Russian people who are living under a dictatorship, rather than viewing them as an enemy?

"We need to remember that these are the same factors which have led to tremendous suffering for the Russian people – including the 40% living under the poverty line."

The story of the good Samaritan shows us that our neighbour includes those who don’t share our political, religious or cultural beliefs.

Love Russia charity is doing some great work in-country to help the most vulnerable, and have been committed to loving orphans, destitute young people, and adults in crisis for the last 30 years. By partnering with Russian Christians serving their own communities, they demonstrate practical Christian compassion to those in need.


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“Once in the crisis centre, I escaped from the hands of a tyrant who broke my life. I had lost hope. But when I came here, I was inspired by God and the love and care in the centre that gave me the strength to live on, to live for my son.” – Nina

Nina was neglected as a child. She ran away at 15, but to escape the streets began a relationship with a man 37 years her senior, who abused her for a decade. Now in her late 20s, she has found refuge and she and her son are rebuilding their lives at the Women’s Crisis Centre.

Vera was just a child when her dad killed her mum and injured her. The rest of Vera’s childhood was spent in an orphanage, where only her most basic needs were being met. Now an adult, she is experiencing the love and care of Love Russia mentors, through an orphanage leaver support group. Vera came to faith through this group, and while she still battles the impact of her childhood, she has peace and has begun witnessing to others.

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Vera (left) with her Love Russia mentor who runs the support group for orphanage leavers

Loving your neighbour can come in many forms; it could be prayer for individuals in your community or abroad, those experiencing hardship or civil unrest, or vulnerable families. Perhaps as well as your prayers, you could donate to a charity like Love Russia that enables practical acts of love. Whatever the form, as clearly demonstrated in these stories, God’s love transforms lives – and even saves them.

To find out more, head to the Love Russia website