Ukraine (MNN) — Reports from Slavic Gospel Association say the fighting in eastern Ukraine seems to be increasing. Unfortunately, fighting and suffering have become disturbingly normal for this region.
“Every week there will be artillery fire. Every week there will be challenges and suffering. [For] example, if you get hungry…in eastern Ukraine, I’m told time and time again that even if you had money, you would have nowhere to go to spend it,” SGA’s Eric Mock says.
Mock says eastern Ukraine once made up 16 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. Now, stores are dormant, gas stations are empty, and the infrastructure in this region has been destroyed by the conflict. Eastern Ukrainians face homelessness and a lack of food and basic medicines like ibuprofen.
Eastern Ukraine’s Hope
But this disaster is something of a paradox. Churches should be empty and decimated, but they aren’t. Instead, SGA-supported churches are stepping in to help ease the physical pain through SGA’s Crisis Evangelism Fund.
“Funds are used to buy medicine, food, and aid. The churches have been enabled to minister to these people at their point of need. And by ministering to the people in their points of need, the door has been opened, bridges have been made for the Gospel,” Mock explains.
Local believers have been reaching into their communities through a variety of ways. In one church, Mock says the women make soup and pack it in buckets so young men can go door-to-door feeding the hungry. Simple acts like this are making an impact.
“People are turning to the only answer, the only answer of hope that we have in Jesus Christ,” Mock says.
But that is not where the story ends.
Partnering With Churches
Equipping Bible-teaching churches to meet people’s physical needs alongside their spiritual needs in the former Soviet Union is one of the reasons SGA exists. And Compassion Ministry helps SGA live into this calling.
Compassion Ministry is about more than providing aid. They provide a chance for the Church to tangibly show Christ’s love and compassion while building relationships for the Gospel. Once a person does come to faith in Christ, the relationship continues as the local church helps disciple the new believer.
“The need is overwhelming, not for the sake of poverty, as Jesus reminds us the poor will always be with us, but for the sake of bridge building for the sake of the Gospel,” Mock shares.
Pray that God’s love would heal lives and bring peace to Ukraine. Ask God to open hearts in eastern Ukraine and for seeds of truth to be planted. Finally, pray for SGA’s partnership with local churches to continue to grow and impact more people for the Gospel.
SGA will continue meeting both the physical and spiritual needs of Ukrainians in the east this winter through Operation Winter Warmth. Keep up with how SGA is equipping churches and ways you can get involved by signing up for SGA’s email reports.
Another way to help is by investing in SGA’s ministry. SGA needs financial partners to help equip the churches in the former Soviet Union.
(Header photo courtesy Slavic Gospel Association)