Russia (MNN) — You’ve heard about Slavic Gospel Association’s Children’s Ministries and its Reach Russia Now initiative, but have you heard of its Compassion Ministries?
This ministry takes place in very impoverished countries. This includes Russia, Ukraine, and parts of Central Asia. But, there’s something a bit different about this ministry than the rest.
“So, specific to the Compassion Ministry and uniquely different than any other ministry at SGA, our focus is on those unbelieving families in need,” SGA’s Eric Mock explains.
“So it’s a very exciting ministry in which several times a month [*families from local churches] will go out and deliver a package of food. And it’s amazing to see how God is using these things together.
“It’s really a James chapter two model of people coming and ministering to a person’s need, as well as ministering to their spiritual need in proclaiming the Gospel.”
However, getting the ministry started wasn’t necessarily easy. When SGA first talked about starting the Compassion Ministries in Belarus, the people there were skeptical. SGA was told that bringing food, aid, and medicine to unbelievers in the community would be impossible.
“In their culture, to walk up to someone’s house and build a relationship with them for the purpose of freely providing something to them, would just not be acceptable,” Mock shares.
“But, the pastors there decided that they wanted to give this a shot. What has happened is an abundant harvest has been revealed.”
Previously, people who minister in these type of communities would show up with just a Bible. No aid, no help–just words.
“In contrast, [church members] began showing up with a bag of food and medicines sometimes, to meet their needs as well as building a relationship with them that was a bridge for the Gospel,” Eric explains.
How it Works
Basic food items are provided to these families for supplemental purposes. They help these families extend their own food supply. And now, SGA is seeing people coming to faith, not because they were given food, but because a relationship was built for the Gospel to be shared.
The Compassion Ministry also helps in another way. The aid given to these families is purchased right in their communities, provided the community does not practice substantial living. This helps local churches stay relevant, connect with vendors, and financially help these communities.
“So, it’s a combination of showing God’s love as well as communicating God’s greatest love, which is the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” Mock shares.
Still, why help?
While abroad recently, Eric met a woman named Lydia (whose name has been changed for security purposes). After Lydia’s abusive husband threatened to kill her and their daughters, she fled to a neighboring Muslim country. As a single woman in a new country with children, she was considered an outcast and was ignored.
However, a pastor in the area heard about her. Through the Compassion Ministries, he took food to her and her daughters. But, with the food, he also brought the Gospel.
Lydia, the woman who no one paid attention to, was overwhelmed by the kindness. Until she met this pastor, Lydia had never heard of God, His grace, or the Gospel. But, by reaching out to her this pastor gave this woman a glimpse of God’s love.
“This woman turned, believed in Christ, and she was radically transformed,” Mock says. “when my wife and I met her, she wanted us to take her picture and then tell her story because she wanted others to know how important this ministry is.”
How to Help
And, for twelve dollars a month, you can tangibly help these churches reach unbelieving families in their communities. Will you consider giving?
However, regardless of giving, prayer is always needed. So please, pray for the people being ministered to, to be transformed by the Gospel. Pray for God’s provision of the physical and spiritual needs of those being ministered to and those doing the ministering. Ask God to raise up an ever-increasing number of volunteers in these churches to participate in the Compassion Ministries.
To learn more about the Compassion Ministries, click here!
Want to help? Give to the Compassion Ministries here!
*SGA also makes sure the basic needs are met for church families ministering through Compassion Ministries.