Believers respond to upheaval in Georgia and Ossetia

By September 8, 2008

Russia (MNN) — 7,000 ethnic Georgians are still
living in South Ossetia under uncertain conditions.

Refugees fleeing the fierce
fighting flooded into Russian border
regions, including Beslan in North Ossetia, Nalchik in Kabardino-Balkaria, and
in Rostov and Azov in the Rostov Oblast.

Despite the current lull in
hostilities, the Red Cross has been denied access in some areas. However, a U.S. Navy ship loaded with
humanitarian aid is headed for Georgia, even as the Bush administration promised
an additional $1 billion in economic aid for the ex-Soviet republic.

Russia is unhappy with the U.S.,
and this latest move could serve to heighten tensions between the two
countries. 

At present, however, a limited amount of
humanitarian aid is getting through, says Joel Griffith, Communications Manager for Slavic Gospel Association.  

Russian Christians are accepting
responsibility for humanitarian relief to the South Ossetian war victims who
have fled to southern Russia. "Our main response has been to help equip
our church planters in the region with Bibles and Christian literature and
funds to help them purchase humanitarian aid for the thousands of refugees that
have flooded into southern Russia from the conflict," says Griffith.

The bulk of the fighting has
stopped for now, and the needs that are beginning to emerge are emotional and
spiritual. "The people
who have been coming in as refugees, of course, are just shell-shocked by
the trauma. This has made them very open
to talk and to pray with the church members, and they've not only got an
opportunity to minister to the great physical needs here, but they're having a
wonderful opportunity to share the love of Christ."

Pray for the
protection of evangelical churches as they seek to be a voice for peace and
reconciliation.

Pray that the Lord would touch
the hearts of many North American Christians to come alongside the Russian
Christians by providing funds that can be used to supply the critically needed
humanitarian aid, Bibles, evangelistic literature, and Christian books. Click here if you can help.

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