Russia (MNN) – A New Year’s Eve gas explosion in Russia made headlines when a baby boy was rescued from the building’s rubble. The 10-month-old spent 35 hours in subzero conditions. This tragedy points to a serious dilemma in Russia and other parts of the former Soviet Union. People in Russia are highly dependent on natural gas to heat their homes, but their natural gas systems are not often to date.
Winter in Russia
“You cannot enter a village without seeing large painted yellow pipes going from house to house, and actually much like an archway over many of the roadways, extending throughout villages like a maze or a network of lines. These lines are the gas lines,” Slavic Gospel Association’s Eric Mock explains.
“Even the new technology we have in the U.S. with safeties for our appliances, meter systems that are watched over by the gas companies. A lot of the gas connections we see in Russia, Ukraine, going to older villages or going to these buildings where you don’t see some of these same safety measures that we have.”
Mock says Russian gas explosions from natural gas heating are no different from the ones which happen in the United States. What it does emphasize though are the difficulties people in Russia face as they try to keep warm this winter.
Staying warm is a challenge in Russia. Not just because of safety concerns, but also because of accessibility. Some people living outside major cities have only portable heaters for heat. That’s why SGA has its “Operation Winter Warmth” program.
“’Operation Winter Warmth’ is equipping the church to reach out to the people in their own community, to reach out with warmth and food and those supplies that are necessary this time of year…We’re helping people most at risk, most suffering, and try to help the churches to meet those needs. It’s a very important ministry,” Mock says.
During this outreach, SGA equips national Bible teaching churches with the resources to provide people with blankets, food, hats, scarves, and more to endure winter’s cold. Some of the buildings people live in have no heat actually entering the building. In war-torn areas like Eastern Ukraine, local infrastructure is too damaged to function. In these places, there are no thermostats to raise the indoor temperature.
Help Through “Operation Winter Warmth”
“[Providing resources] is helping the local church to reach their own communities. And in that, there’s a certain sense of awareness of individual need. Instead of a ‘one size fits all’ mentality, most [of] these churches know the people, they know the families, and they know their specific needs,” Mock says.
If you would, give to SGA’s “Operation Winter Warmth” program. To give, click here.
“Remember those in the far eastern Ukraine, the far east of Russia, down through Central Asia. There are many impoverished that are trying to stay warm,” Mock says.
Have questions about “Operation Winter Warmth”?
Then reach out to SGA at 1-800-BIBLE-50.
Another way to help is through prayer. Pray for open hearts and the churches providing for the needs in their communities. Pray for people’s needs to be met both physically and spiritually. Pray churches would be equipped to meet all the needs in their communities.
“As we enter into 2019, the only thing that I’ll add is that there could be no more important time than now, in the middle of a world that’s filled with substantial chaos, that faithful believers preach Gospel delivered in God’s Word, that we proclaim the Gospel in our life and in word, and that we see new believers coming to faith and for the many believers to hold fast,” Mock says.
Header photo courtesy of Slavic Gospel Association.