International (MNN) — Slavic Gospel Association’s Compassion Ministry plays a vital role in its work to empower churches in the former Soviet Union.
Compassion Ministry helps churches in this region reach out to those in need in their communities. The essence of this ministry is found in SGA’s other work like Orphans Reborn or Reach Russia Now. But, SGA’s Eric Mock says this work also builds trusted relationships where God’s love is communicated.
Mock quotes Matthew 9:35-36 (NIV):
“Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”
According to Mock, the Greek word for compassion, esplanchnisthe, is a term meaning a “pity that moves to action.” Mock further describes compassion as a gut feeling when something grieves a person to the point of garnering a response.
“What we’re told is not…to [just] pray, but to be people of action, as well as people of faith. And not to just say blessings on you as you suffer, but actually build bridges by showing up with something in your hand as well as the Gospel in the other hand,” Mock says.
Love in Action
This is exactly what SGA’s Compassion Ministry enables churches in the former Soviet Union to do. Sometimes this work looks like serving street children in Ukraine or ministry to the disabled and blind in Central Asia. It can be taking aid to people in the remote locations of Russia or Belarus.
Regardless of the actual ministry, these SGA-supported outreaches are building bridges and people are finding hope in Christ.
“Even in these terrible situations, the Lord is providing us an opportunity to meet this need for Him to be glorified through [a] faithful number of local churches…. They bring spiritual aid along with a physical aid, [because] often that door is not going to open with empty hands,” Mock says.
The process for building these relationships may be slow at times, but they are important and offer a community founded in the hope of the Gospel.
However, as others consider supporting this work, Mock says the pastors from this area also encourage the global Church to do similar work in their own backyard.
“If you were to inscribe a circle around your home of no more than 200 yards…you would find people dealing with alcohol, dealing with drugs, dealing with poverty, dealing with domestic violence, dealing with depression,” Mock explains.
“We have…a vital role in building those relationships and seeking the lost and the hurting of this world.”
Pray for SGA’s Compassion Ministry and for the churches it serves. Pray for the encouragement and perseverance of SGA-supported pastors and their churches. Also, pray for lives to be changed through SGA’s Compassion Ministry.
To financially invest in SGA’s Compassion Ministry, click here.
Header photo courtesy of Slavic Gospel Association.