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Finding Hope and Joy in the Midst of Great Loss

For I hope in You, O Lord;
You will answer, O Lord my God
(Psalm 38:15).

Over the past several days, SGA’s Eric Mock and a team from our partners at Children’s Hunger Fund have been in Ukraine visiting churches that are distributing food and other aid through SGA’s Crisis Evangelism Fund. We are thankful to report back to you that your prayers and support are making an eternal difference in many lives.

After an eight hour drive on brutal roads, Eric and the CHF team spent the day in Artemovsk, a city with a small but wonderful church that is being greatly used by God and is supported through the Crisis Evangelism Fund. Beginning from a small group, this small church grew one soul at a time. Pastored by Vasily Dmitrev, the Artemovsk church had grown to about 40 members when the tragic, raging conflict in eastern Ukraine came to his city.

The love of Christ—shown through loving believers meeting their urgent physical needs—has drawn this young mother and son to the church. Please keep praying for ongoing CEF ministry!

The love of Christ—shown through loving believers meeting their urgent physical needs—has drawn this young mother and son to the church. Please keep praying for ongoing CEF ministry!

The roof of the small church was directly hit by mortar shells, and for a time the building was occupied by separatists. The battle raged back and forth between the Ukrainian army and the separatists, creating refugees. Pastor Vasily began a soup kitchen and fed people three times a week, but beyond that had few resources. Through the Crisis Evangelism Fund, six families not only received food themselves, but they were also equipped with enough aid to minister to 20 families! A total of 18 people have repented in the last year and a half, and two of them were soldiers! As Eric relates, the people receiving the aid were joyful and thankful to know that someone cared for their needs. . . .

As we visited homes along with families from the church, people responded with tears of praise to God for the assistance given to them, and for their new church family. They literally had nothing to eat, and then believers came with food. The refugees told me that they had been distant from God and comfortable with their way of life, knowing nothing of the Gospel. Yet through tragedy and displacement, their ears were opened to the Gospel at last. They attended a special Friday Bible study for refugees, and their families now attend church. Several have come to faith and desire to be baptized. One lady I visited cried out, “Praise God for the churches in America who gave for our needs. We had no food—nothing! Now we can eat, and now we attend church and are learning about God.”

We praise and thank God for the work He is doing through His people. But the needs will remain for quite some time as the fighting continues. There are over 40,000 refugees in this city who are still trying to sort out their lives. Praise God that He has raised up small churches to be His witnesses to a lost and hurting people. And praise God for raising up believers across North America who are willing to stand in the gap through SGA with financial help and prayers, and supporting the church families as they bring the life-changing Gospel and hope for eternity.

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