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Refugees . . . But Scattering Gospel Seeds!

. . . He scattered abroad, He gave to the poor, His righteousness endures forever (2 Corinthians 9:9).

Just days ago, SGA’s Eric Mock was in Ukraine visiting refugees and missionary pastors from the war-torn regions in the east of the country. He returned home to the U.S. filled with testimonies about how God is using even the forced dispersion of his people to scatter Gospel seeds across Ukraine. Eric related a couple of the deeply moving stories told to him personally by refugee individuals and families . . .

Vladimir is from Donetsk and served in the town of Krasnylutsk near Lugansk. He taught Bible studies and had a ministry to children. During one of the battles in the conflict, he served as a night watchman at the church, and he heard some loud noises. People came up to the church and demanded that the door be opened. Next, a group of men stormed into the church with guns. They wanted to know who Vladimir was, and he replied that he was a Baptist watchman. He also declared, “This is a church! Not for guns!”

Vladimir (right) had his life threatened while standing guard over his church building.

Vladimir (right) had his life threatened while standing guard over his church building.

More came in and said they would search the building, and interrogate Vladimir, who replied, “We have no secrets. We believe in the Trinity and the Lord Jesus Christ!” He heard them say “These are Baptists!” The group began vandalizing the church building and threatened to burn it down. Next, one of the men claimed that he had found a bomb in the kitchen, and Vladimir told them that the church had no bombs and that it had been planted. The leader of the mob said they would kill Vladimir and they took him outside. He told the men that the church only had goods for needy people. They asked for money and a car, and whether Vladimir had a “body cross.” Vladimir said he had nothing, and after talking among themselves, they left. Their last words to Vladimir were “Remember this day, this is your birthday.”

But that wasn’t the end. Two weeks later, Vladimir said that militants came to the church and took it over to use for troops. Until two weeks ago, Vladimir’s church was one of the distribution hubs for humanitarian aid and compassion ministry to those whose lives have been shattered by the war. At last, the church could no longer be used to distribute aid, so Vladimir, his family, and many in the church were forced to flee to Kiev. Things remain very dangerous, but they are committed to ministry wherever they find themselves.

Alexei and Nellie—refugees from eastern Ukraine—are now joyfully serving at Yaroslav's church near Kiev.

Alexei and Nellie—refugees from eastern Ukraine—are now joyfully serving at Yaroslav’s church near Kiev.

A young church couple named Alexei and Nellie have five young sons, and they also were forced to flee the combat zone. They ended up at the church of Yaroslavl Machinsky, an SGA-sponsored missionary pastor. As distressing as their sudden flight was, God met a very important need. Yaroslavl’s Revival Church needed a youth leader and had been praying that God would bring them someone. Now, Alexei is teaching the youth from the book of Daniel, and Nellie is serving in children’s ministry plus singing in the choir. Yaroslav had no one to do this work, and God used the trials in the east to fill the need. And they praise His name with thanksgiving!

These are just two examples out of many that we could share about how your prayers and your gifts to SGA’s Crisis Evangelism Fund are helping not only to help needy people, but also to share the Gospel with those who most need to hear it.

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