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Ukrainian men give up dreams to serve in conflict zone

By October 19, 2017

Ukraine (MNN) — Yesterday, we shared that Slavic Gospel Association’s Crisis Evangelism Fund is helping churches in war-torn Ukraine. However, it’s through self-sacrificing individuals that this aid is being distributed.

A tale of two men

SGA’s Vice President of Ministry Operations, Eric Mock, recently visited churches serving in the conflict zone of Ukraine. While there, Mock was able to help distribute food and see first hand the dangers and challenges the Christians endure in their ministry. Yet, despite these challenges, there’s also a light that’s shining through the Christians: Christ’s light.

(Photo/caption courtesy of Slavic Gospel Association) The fighting in eastern Ukraine has shattered the lives of many, and has resulted in thousands of refugees.

“As we walked into the church, there was a young man* walking out and in his hands were two large buckets of chicken soup,” Mock recounts.

“And he walked out to the car and he was loading the soup into the car with another person, and I turned to the young man who had been with us, and said, ‘where’s that soup going?’ And he said, ‘Well, my friend and I made a decision to move out here and minister to the village.’ And I kind of shook my head and said, ‘How old are you?’ And he said, ‘Well, I’m 23-years-old.’”

Rather than running away from the danger, these men are running into it for Jesus. They’ve forgone attending college and chasing their hopes and dreams to serve and disciple the people in the conflict zone. And these two young men don’t just visit the conflict zone, they’ve moved to and reside in it.

Living and serving in the conflict zone

To paint a picture, homes in the conflict zone are indiscriminately hit by artillery. And most the people living in this region are either too elderly to leave or have nowhere to go if they do flee. Rather, they’re stuck in a land where any moment could be their last. And it’s this reason why the pastor of a church in this region decided to leave.

But just because the pastor left didn’t mean the congregation did too. Instead, they continue to live in the conflict zone, shepherdless. That is, until these two young Ukrainian men felt God’s call on their hearts to go to the region.

“And they have become the arms and the legs of a tired church. They conducted a day camp, in this place under siege, and ministered to the young people in the community.”

Mock says that one of the young men “continues to lead the youth Bible study. And then his father, who provides him this wonderful example, actually drives to the same village every week, and brings aid through the Crisis Evangelism Fund.”

But, these men don’t only meet spiritual needs, they’re also using funds provided by SGA’s Crisis Evangelism Fund to help feed the residents of this region. As Mock says, they’re coming to these people and bringing Christ to them both through word and deed.

“It brought to remembrance Luke 9:23, when Christ is saying if you would follow after me, you would deny yourself and take up your cross daily. To me, these young men are a wonderful example of what that looks like,” Mock shares.

How to help

Will you help support these men as they obey Christ’s call on their lives? so, start by praying. Mock asks you to pray not necessarily for their safety, but for their boldness. Pray for open hearts in these villages, for these men to persevere despite the danger and challenges, and pray for wisdom. As the SGA motto says, “Much prayer, much power.”

Want to give to SGA’s Crisis Evangelism Fund and continue helping churches provide food, emergency aid, medicine, and the Gospel?  Give to SGA’s Crisis Evangelism Fund here!

“This problem is not going away soon. They’re going to be challenged in this way for years to come. So, anything you can do to help us with this crisis would be wonderful as we endeavor to serve the churches that God has raised up,” Mock says.

 

 

*Names left out for security purposes.

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