USA (MNN) — An organization that originally reached out to people behind the Iron Curtain is celebrating a milestone. Slavic Gospel Association marks 75 years of ministry this year and is preparing a huge celebration in Chicago where the ministry began.
SGA's Joel Griffith says, "At Moody Church in Chicago we're going to be holding a three-day international 75th anniversary celebration. One of the reasons we're holding it at Moody Church is because that is actually where our founder, Peter Deyneka Sr., was saved as a young man in 1920."
The celebration is scheduled for September 25-27.
Griffith says this type of a celebration is important, especially during these troubling times around the world. "I think it just serves as a reminder that our God is sovereign in the church. When you look at when Slavic Gospel was founded, those were during the dark days of communism. The churches were brutalized. Christians were killed for their faith. And yet God still built His church in ways people couldn't have imagined."
Short-wave radio allowed SGA to beam Christian Bible teaching into the country. Bibles and Christian literature were smuggled into the nation.
While religious freedom instantly came to the Soviet bloc nations, Griffith says that's changing. While there's still great freedom in the Ukraine, "In other places such as the 'Stan' countries in Central Asia that are largely Muslim, they're very, very strict and very restrictive of the churches."
Russia itself is also imposing some restrictions.
However, Griffith says this means SGA has work to do. "We've got our marching orders from the Lord. We've got to go on proclaiming the Gospel until He comes. While we have any sort of open door and any sort of open window, we need to be able to equip the churches while we can still do it."