Ukrainians receive much needed training

By July 4, 2016

Ukraine (MNN) — Eastern Ukraine faces a myriad of difficulties. The area is war torn from a revolution two years ago that scarred the land. And still the fighting continues between Ukrainian Armed Forces and the rebels supported by Russia.

Some communities still don’t even have safe infrastructures. There’s a lack of food, and many of the people have been traumatized.

(Photo courtesy Flickr/CC/DayBlakelyDonaldson)

(Photo courtesy of Flickr/CC/DayBlakelyDonaldson)

In the midst of the tragedy surrounding the Ukrainian people, churches are struggling to make sense of what has happened.

Not too long ago, Eric Mock with Slavic Gospel Association traveled to Ukraine to help teach churches about Biblical counseling and Biblical training.

Mock says, “What we were doing on this trip is something that is really central to the heart of the work Slavic Gospel Association does, which is training and equipping local leaders and the believers in churches so they can be doing the work of the ministry.”

Ukrainian churches come to their neighbors with desperately needed food, resources, and the Gospel. But that’s not all. Church leaders also want to disciple believers to grow and continue to be transformed by Christ.

It takes an eternal perspective that looks beyond the struggles of their present circumstances. And Biblical training is vital to equipping pastors and Christian leaders in Ukraine.

“Sometimes in places where hopelessness reigns, it is so difficult. It’s important to understand God’s Word is completely sufficient and able to address the issues of life and move us from unbelief and hopelessness into comfort and peace in the middle of the storms of life,” Mock explains.

While in Ukraine, Mock helped train these pastors on where and how to use God’s Word, from both the Old Testament and the New Testament, in times of such tragedy and heartache, and how to find God and His peace in the middle of it all.

(Photo courtesy Hannu Haukka)

(Photo courtesy of Hannu Haukka)

“It’s just heartbreaking to see many people displaced, discouraged, fearful in the middle of the combat. Suffering from lives that were lost, some children who are now orphaned, mothers who are now unexpected widows trying to raise children. These type of hardships are commonplace in eastern Ukraine and the fighting still continues,” Mock explains.

In fact, some Ukrainian pastors supported by SGA minister to soldiers and work as chaplains on the Minskaccord line. Minskaccord refers to the treaty which was meant to end the hostilities between Russian rebels and the Ukrainian government through support of the Russian army. It’s a demilitarized, 15 kilometer area on either side of a jagged line along the eastern and western sides of Ukraine. The line represents a dividing line of hostilities.

However, while the fighting is ongoing in this area, it’s the people who are suffering. The people in villages go to bed each night to the sound of gunfire. They’re filled with anxiety and fear and lack food. But, this will hopefully one day change as SGA-supported pastors use their training to not only bring these people food, resources, and the Gospel, but also God’s Word to speak healing truths into these Ukrainians’ lives.

“The results were really exciting. We were seeing people who were hearing different aspects in which the Word of God comes to bear in the middle of these circumstances. And we hope many will turn to God in the middle of these times,” Mock explains.

(Image courtesy of Slavic Gospel Association)

(Image courtesy of Slavic Gospel Association)

Mock says they are finding even in these times of such hopelessness, God shines even greater. These Ukrainian Christians are working to fulfill the Great Commission and see their country’s people fully restored and to become citizens of the one true God.

The great thing about SGA’s training in Ukraine is the people trained are able to return to their home churches and train others, creating an exponential effect and helping to reach more people with the saving grace of the Gospel. However, these churches could use something from Christians everywhere around the world, and that’s prayer.

Pray for the encouragement of these Ukrainian churches. Pray for the Ukrainian people to find Christ, be encouraged and transformed by God’s Word, and for the fighting to end. Pray for peace, and that despite the hopelessness so evident in the country, that people would once again find hope and joy through the Gospel.

To financially support SGA’s work in Ukraine, click here!

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