Editor’s Note: The images and message below were provided by an SGA-supported pastor in Belarus.
Some of the refugees who have fled Ukraine during the war have made their way to an SGA-supported camp in Belarus. It is there the first signs of hope and warmth are encountered. We praise God for the faithful, year-round ministry of this camp where Ukrainians in need and others are touched and changedwith the love of Jesus Christ.
Here is a recent report shared by SGA-supported Pastor Pavel including some of the stories from the camp’s recent outreach . . .
Nikita Kvasha, 25 years old, orphan
He never knew his parents. His grandmother was his guardian according to the documents, but she never took care of him. Five years ago, his grandmother passed away. There was a small corner, primitive housing, uninhabitable. He sold it just before the war. The money saved him from starvation during the war. The town lived under occupation, in fear, with many military men on the streets. There were no young people left in the city, everyone who could leave had left.
All the time he tried to find some work, but even the vacancies for loaders were all taken. He had to live in different places with friends who could feed and shelter him. But they also left the city. Now one of them has a job in Denmark, and he is inviting Nikita to join him. He was the one who suggested how to get out of the city and out of the country and gave him the contacts of the volunteers. But it turned out to be not so easy to leave. There was very strong interrogation by the invading military. Even the fact that he didn’t live anywhere, had no permanent registration, didn’t work anywhere, didn’t have any relatives aroused suspicion. They warned that if he went to Moscow he would be enslaved or taken by crooks, no one would even look for him—he was an orphan. But this did not stop Nikita, and he was determined to go to Denmark to his friend. But he also had to get somehow to Moscow, where the bus was leaving from. A few friends who had stayed . . . helped Nikita raise $200 for the trip.
And so, having arrived safely in Moscow, Nikita found the right bus and hit the road. All of the things he had with him were things that had been collected by volunteers in Moscow. But he didn’t have any warm shoes. The sneakers he was wearing didn’t look like sneakers — they were holey and rotted. After freezing on the road, he was ready to change into any warm shoe and even tolerate the wrong size — as long as it was warm. Have you ever seen a man walk in tight shoes? Size 40 shoes on size 43 feet — but warm. He was ready to keep going that way.
A little later, the right-sized shoes, socks, a warm jacket were found for Nikita, and the happy guy went on his way, to an unknown destination, but to a safe place where no explosions could be heard, where there were no interrogations, no filtration, where there was a friend!
Denis, 26 years old
Ever since the events in eastern Ukraine, he wanted to leave the region, but he couldn’t, he was not allowed.
After this there was COVID, and then the larger war. The region was immediately considered occupied territory. There were times when soldiers took people of conscription age straight from the streets and sent them to fight against Ukraine.
When Denis witnessed this “draft” himself, he found an abandoned building where people of the same age were gathering. They all did not want to go to war. He spent two weeks there without water, gas, or electricity. The windows were tightly shut, the conversations were whispered.
Because of the stress and inability to calm down, he started taking tranquilizers and smoking cigarettes. Thanks to volunteers, he went to Poland. The main task was to get documents.
In addition to hosting refugees, two conferences were held . . . in February. One was for young people — 150 young people received spiritual instruction from their older brothers.
The second conference was evangelistic. It was aimed at foreign students studying in the Republic of Belarus. There were 80 students present, mostly Muslims. They come from different countries—Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Morocco, Portugal, and other countries. The life of Joseph was discussed in detail. Elements of national cultures were used extensively. There was prayer and Bible study.
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.
The simple stoves that generous friends like you have helped to provide through our Ukraine Heat & Hope Campaign are more than what they appear. Watch the video:
One of our ministry team members in Ukraine recently recorded a video thank-you message for friends like you who have supported our Ukraine Heat & Hope Campaign. “Thank you
Your donation will help change lives in former Soviet Union countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia.