Russia (MNN) – Imagine living in a region that is so cold, a warm day is one that’s still in the negatives. Now, imagine living there without heat. Warming up would be similar to jumping in a subzero freezer.
Freezing Without Heat
For most people in the West, people can turn on their heater or stuff their stove with a bit more wood, corn, or coal and warm themselves up. But, in many parts of the former Soviet Union, there isn’t a heater to turn on or more coal to stuff in the stove.
In fact, many people in these regions, a winter without heat or a good coat is their current life. But, Slavic Gospel Association is trying to meet the physical and spiritual needs of these people who often don’t have enough food, let alone money to provide heat.
In areas that are war-torn, like eastern Ukraine which deal with daily shellings, the infrastructure has been destroyed to the point that “the distribution of heat into a radiator system is poor and often non-functional.” The brutal, frigid cold is a daily enemy for people without heat or other ways to stay substantially warm in the former Soviet Union.
“For those that are older and are on [a] pension, a lot of times in these countries these pensions are insufficient. There is an amount that is paid out by the government. It’s barely enough to put food on the table, if enough food at all, much less buying necessary medicines,” Mock explains.
“But the additional expense of thinking about wood, coal, other items to heat your home have become almost an optional extra [because of the lack of resources]…this greatly impacts babies, young children, older people.”
Equipping and Getting Needs
By equipping churches with the necessary resources, church members are able to visit these homes with food, heating supplies, and warm articles of clothing during the freezing winter months. Yet, these aren’t the only gifts SGA-supported churches bring on their visits. They also bring the love of Christ both in word and deed. Caring for the whole person, just as Jesus did, has a greater impact than caring for just the physical needs.
“Through our Compassion Ministry, we’re bringing food to them. Through ‘Operation Winter Warmth’ we’re helping warm their homes and when they see that they’re stunned,” Mock explains. “They express ‘How could people who don’t know me, care enough to come over and take care of me?’ And their hearts and their minds are open to the truth of the Gospel.”
Furthermore, the help is based on the needs of the geographical location. For some areas, the need might very well be for coal or other fuel sources. In other areas, there might be a greater need for socks, sweaters, and other pieces of warm winter clothing.
“It’s looking at each situation, hearing from each church what’s needed, and then providing for those [needs],” Mock shares.
The impact? Physical needs being met, doors opening for the Gospel, and people realizing that they matter not just to churches but also to Jesus.
Give a Helping Hand
And while SGA only takes donations for Operation Winter Warmth for about a month, the needs for the people in the former Soviet Union will continue for about the next three months until spring comes. This is why SGA is trying to get aid into these regions now rather than later.
“By God’s grace, the people in America have an opportunity in partnering with SGA to make an impact fulfilling the Acts 1:8 view that we have there of how Christ moved forward from Jerusalem to Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. They are our ends of the earth and through this partnership, people here are able to make that impact,” Mock says.
These same Christians who are answering this call are breaking stereotypes down in the process. In the former Soviet Union, there’s a lot of talk about Americas, and it’s not always in a positive light. But, in the midst of this talk, hurting people are encountering faithful Christians who are willing to give and help minister to them across continents.
“To see the dignity return to their lives and to see hope return to their lives, it’s something that transcends culture, time, geography and barriers; that’s all a gift from God by His grace in Christ Jesus,” Mock explains.
“And from that we’re unified in the call of bringing Him glory, to ministering to the needs of people, as well as advancing His life-saving Gospel at the same time.”
Will You Help?
So please, will you come alongside SGA and these churches through prayer and giving?
And, please pray for accessibility to these people in order to bring aid. Pray that God would protect the people who are administering the resources provided through these churches and that hearts would be open to the Gospel.
“This is why your radio station does what it does. This is why I do what I do, we have the blessed privilege of being ambassadors of Christ and carrying His message of reconciliation to all and to the ends of the earth,” Mock shares.
Lastly, will you give to “Operation Winter Warmth”? To give, click here!