Editor’s Note: The images below were provided by an SGA-supported church in Ukraine.
Recently, SGA received a longer report from multiple SGA-supported pastors, churches, and ministers throughout Ukraine. In one story, you’ll read of a pastor, his wife, and seven children taking in 26 refugees into their home! In another, you’ll read about 44 suffering refugees literally living in a church because they have nowhere else to go. And in one story, the pastor recounts how even a small church can do big things for God.
Together, these stories paint a beautiful picture of a loving God moving throughout Ukraine, using SGA-supported people to minister for the sake of the Gospel. Thanks to friends like you, these stories are possible! As you read the stories and see the faces below, pause a moment to hear the collective feeling of gratitude emanating from these precious brothers and sisters in Christ. The story of God throughout the world continues to be told…
Churches that remain in the war zone are anticipating being visited
It is very important for residents of the frontline territories to feel that they have not been forgotten or left behind. Therefore, evangelical Christians who managed to evacuate to peaceful territories are trying to visit churches in these regions. In the last week of May, some of these evangelists visited the churches, brought food aid, and took part in the church services. This has become a huge support for local believers and non-church people. It’s hard to say what made them most happy: the aid they brought or the visitors themselves!
Every Saturday, one church left behind invites refugee children to visit
Every Saturday, one church invites the children of displaced peoples for fun and games, including chess, guitar lessons, and art classes. Teachers strive to pass on their knowledge to the children- as well as the Gospel. Classes are conducted by members of the local churches. Such a ministry is an important part of the educational and creative development of local and displaced children, especially in the absence of schooling.
Special services for internally displaced persons
In one village in Ukraine, an SGA-supported church organized a separate service for internally displaced persons. Refugees visit the services and are showing interest in hearing about the Gospel. The pastor of the church says that 500 displaced people have stayed in the village thus far. Some displaced persons are returning home to liberated territories, but most of them have nowhere to return yet.
Small churches can do great things
We have heard many fascinating stories about how large churches actively volunteer. But the war shows that large churches are not the only ones with resources to serve people. To help neighbors with their vital needs, the church can even have just 20 members.
One such church has been taking care of those in need since the first days of the war. They have been able to receive 200 refugees. At the same time, members are active in helping families in need. Any social ministry is accompanied by preaching the Gospel. Today, the church is going through another happy stage: four people are preparing for baptism!
For one church, times of trials have become times of opportunity
Meeting the urgent human needs helps to reach more people with the Gospel. The pastor of one church told me about his church’s ministry efforts. “Christ could teach people in an accessible and interesting way,” Pastor Oleg said, “gathering thousands of people around the Word. We also learn from the Lord to convey spiritual truths, so we use the talents God gave us to serve adults and children.
Ukrainian ministers make room to accept displaced persons at home
Thousands of Ukrainians made room to accept displaced persons. Especially noteworthy are the ministers who were the first to open the doors of their homes without having the proper conditions or money to support others. Pastor Viktor recounts how 26 displaced people lived in the house of one missionary pastor, his wife, and seven children. “A little later,” says Viktor, “we managed to find additional housing for them.” Viktor says that his small church was able to receive four dozen displaced persons. They have worked hard to provide humanitarian aid, including clothing and food, for more than 300 displaced persons settling in their village since the war began.
Living in the House of Prayer since the beginning of the war
If you visit one church in a region in Ukraine, you could get acquainted with several dozens of displaced people living in the House of Prayer since the beginning of the war. Five families who now live in the House of Prayer previously hid in a bomb shelter for nine days. For another family, their 10-year-old son needs constant care due to cerebral palsy. In another, a four-year-old girl frequently gets so scared that every time she hears a siren, she runs away somewhere.
Most of these people have lost their jobs. There are also elderly people living in the House of Prayer who have a hard time moving around. In addition to the forty-four people living in the church, there were also twenty-five displaced persons accepted by Christians into their homes. At this point, these refugees want to return to their own homes, but, unfortunately, there is nowhere to go.
In one region, more than 20 churches serve the refugees in crisis
In another region of Ukraine, more than 20 churches continually provide for the needs of the displaced people in their area. They strive to spiritually take care of them. Weekly meetings are held over tea, and they have a Bible study, prayer, and discuss issued that concern the displaced people.
Anatoly, a senior Presbyter, said, “Increasingly, those who were far from God are beginning to pray and read the Bible, even take an interest in spiritual topics and attend church services. Such positive developments please and inspire us.”
In a time of great uncertainty, God is bringing help, healing, and hope to the people of Ukraine through SGA-supported pastors, churches, a seminary, and SGA-sponsored Compassion Ministry. Be a part of God’s incredible work with your generosity and prayer support.
Your gift of compassion helps struggling people with emergency aid that generally includes Scripture materials, food, medicine, warm clothing, and shoes.