Editor’s Note: The images below were provided by an SGA-supported pastor in Ukraine.
The account below is from an SGA-supported pastor. His incredible ministry story demonstrates his commitment to minister in the name of Jesus Christ despite intense hardship, suffering, and personal risk. He exemplifies the fact that 80% or more missionary pastors in Ukraine have remained in place. Many of the pastors like him separated from their families and friends. They continually risk their lives for the sake of the Gospel. Yet despite the hardship, this pastor passionately repeats his gratitude . . . for your support.
Greetings in the Lord!
Peace to you, dear friends. I am starting to write this letter several times, and I cannot dare to continue writing, because during these three months we have passed, perhaps, a very difficult period not only in our personal lives, but also in the life of our whole country. I write, and an unbearable wound is bleeding in my heart, I feel an inner emotional pain … and we accept the will of God, whatever it may be.
From the first days of the war, when there were missile strikes in our country and in our city, we worried only about children and grandchildren. My wife and I took our children and grandson to safety, and we returned home. In early March, I joined a volunteer movement that began helping refugees. I bought and collected food, collected clothes that people gave away, and brought them to the volunteer center. We collected materials to make camouflage nets for protection. In a few weeks we got used to the sound of air alarms, which spread over the city five to seven times a day. At night, during the air raids, we went down to the basement and waited for the alarm to go off. Sometimes we had to sit until morning. We, like other citizens, wanted to live, but we stopped being afraid of death. Death has surrounded our homes, our lands, our families. In prayers we asked God for strength. We asked God to take the fear out of our hearts.
One of our sons stayed with his family in Ukraine. He did not evacuate, but began to help families with small children, providing them with food and medicine. My wife and I have already donated a lot of money to our son, who volunteered and today continues to help people.
From the first days of the war, we accepted four refugee families who lived for almost two months with us. One family was where the head of the family is a pastor at a church. They have already temporarily returned home to continue serving with the church for the affected residents. During this period, various services were held every day. I have visited five churches, where I took part in the service with the word and sang. I delivered more than 10 sermons in various places. There have been many conversations with people about the coming of Jesus Christ and the recent events of the Bible. One man (named Alexander) said that the world could not exist in such a deception. I supported him by saying that the world lies in evil, but God has given us the Truth and we can live by the truth.
I have also organized and held five meetings with refugee families, and it was about 50 children who came to these meetings. Also, more than 30 parents heard a word of support. They are located in various dormitories in our city. We talked to them on various topics. People often just needed to tell someone their pain, just talk. We also held drawing workshops for their children, distributed products for them, gave gifts to children, read books to children. People sincerely thanked us for caring.
Now it is a priority for our ministries to help refugees on an ongoing basis. God willing, we will continue to meet new families. At one meeting with the children, I said that we need to live on, we need to go to our dream, we need to go through difficulties sometimes. A 12-year-old girl from Kherson replied: “The main thing is to survive the beginning and live to the end,” these are the adult answers given by children who survived the horrors of war.
Rockets also flew over us. One of the rockets that flew in, I saw above me … it flew over our city and exploded 20 kilometers from us.
Also, we helped our sister Kateryna for several days, who has a ruined house. She is a widow and has two daughters. We helped to cover the roof on part of the house and slightly restored the walls. The work has not been completed yet, because there are not enough funds. We also had six meetings to study the Word of God. More than 10 people come to each meeting. Even during war and air strikes, we continue to gather to read the Bible and pray.
Dear brothers and sisters, we sincerely thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your prayerful support and the means with which you support us. My family greets all of you and also sincerely thanks you for continuing to support us and our shared ministry with you. Please support with funds to help refugee families. Together with you, we perform the ministry of evangelism and charity for the Ukrainian people. May God preserve in you the peace and prosperity that you have. May God restore peace to Ukraine. It is sad that those who have already passed away will not return to life. Appreciate the gracious peace that is from God. We truly thank all of you for your kind, sincere and generous heart. Be blessed.
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.