Eastern Europe (MNN) – Slavic Gospel Association (SGA) recently held a conference to help restore and renew the spirits of ministry couples in eastern Europe. While they were there, they celebrated the unsung heroes of ministry in the region: missionary wives.
Unsung Heroes of Ministry
“These women who are raising children, watching out for the church… bringing the Gospel, and sharing the Word, and comforting people in multiple villages, and [the women] are experiencing loneliness, and difficulty, and trial, and in many ways, being the one that is really the glue. They’re just holding everything together.”
SGA’s Eric Mock says as he’s visited missionaries and their families over the years, he’s seen how women have worked hard to keep the family and ministry going – sometimes simultaneously.
For instance, in Kazakhstan, Mock was visiting a church where a SGA missionary was the pastor. During worship, the missionary’s wife was playing piano with one hand and holding onto her baby in the other.
Another couple had moved to Siberia in the winter, and the pastor was planting a church in one village, but also ministering to five other villages.
The pastor would preach in his church on Sunday morning. His wife would pack a suitcase for him on Sunday afternoon, and Sunday night, he would leave for the other villages.
The wife, “at age 20, all by herself with the baby, she would take care of the baby, the house in weather that was substantially below zero and care for everything with the loneliness of being in a foreign country.”
Mock says the pastor would return on Friday night. He and his wife would spend one day together and then, the cycle would repeat.
The couple spent four years there and during that time, “they grew closer together, but it was possible for him to plant multiple churches, and for their family to grow, and for their relationship to grow because of the steadfastness of a very young mother.”
Like this couple, missionary families are often uprooted from comfortable lifestyles and travel to areas with rough conditions so they can share the Gospel and plant churches.
“You’re talking about missionaries that are in weather that is fifty and sixty below – very difficult conditions. You’re talking about missionary pastors and wives that are in central Asia, that are suffering under tremendous persecution, in the Caucasus nations, tremendous persecution, in the warzone of Ukraine.”
With so many responsibilities, couples rarely have time alone or time to relax.
SGA’s conference gave them a much-needed break. For some couples, it had been years since they’d taken a break from their work or been without kids.
Mock says on the way to the conference, one couple had a five-hour delay at a border crossing, but they were delighted because it was the first alone time they’d had in 12 years.
In the future, SGA hopes to hold more conferences specifically for missionary wives so they can be encouraged as they work and continue in their support of the ministry.
Come alongside these women by supporting their family in prayer and financial giving.
Because of the difficult areas families are in, some cannot find a job.
“So, to keep them in the fight, they keep on planting these churches, we have to help them out.”
Header photo courtesy of Slavic Gospel Association via Facebook.