Editor’s Note: The images below were provided by an SGA-supported church in Ukraine.
Recently, we received a report from several SGA-sponsored pastors in Ukraine. Together, these stories depict faithful believers who’ve continually chosen ministry in the face of unimaginable decisions. These decisions affected them personally, as well as the lives of their family members. Yet they stand fast to “press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).
This report includes somewhat of a devotional and is a reminder that these believers need encouragement every single day. Because of your support, these SGA-supported Christians can be encouraged that brothers and sisters in Christ overseas have not forgotten them in their suffering . . .
“When storms hit a ship or boat, the call is to ‘stand fast.’ In storms, it is even more important that the crew works hard at their duties, and even more so as they fight all the elements pouring in upon them. And a measure of their readiness is how they respond under this crisis. This is true in life as well. As the storms of temptation, our sinful desires and life events sweep over us like the waves of the sea, the call from God is the same, to ‘stand fast.’ In those moments, most of all we need to hold fast to what we know through God’s Word and what we have been called to do. In fact, the storms can be the exact test to reveal both our readiness and weaknesses. God allows these storms, these challenges, that we might grow in our dependency on Him and our ability to stand fast in Him. Certainly, failing health, economic and relational hardship come upon us all, but the measure of our maturity and readiness is our response in hardship – not our many words in time of peace. With the war in Ukraine, many missionary pastors faced difficult decisions in caring for their family and for their church. Each situation was different, but in all cases, it revealed their hearts. Many have stood fast in Christ and continue to point others to Him.
Pastor Vasily is another SGA-supported missionary in Ukraine who has answered the call to stand fast in this conflict. He has had to make some difficult decisions, as many have, yet holds fast and holds forth his hope in Jesus. Vasily writes, ‘After the beginning of the war, our lives changed. We do not count the days of the week now, we do not pay attention to the dates of the month, in Ukraine now all people count the time so, ‘22 days of war,… 23 days and so on.’ And we all watch the war and watch for good news from the front. We pray, we pray a lot, we collect food for the needy, we accept refugees, we put up 20 billboards with encouraging Christian expressions. Every day in our region since the beginning of the war there is an air alert. During this notification, sirens are activated, and a similar sound is working in mobile phones. During these sirens, all people must hide in bomb shelters, basements, and so on. Such anxieties can occur day and night, several times a day. In such circumstances, my wife and I decided to evacuate our children abroad to our relatives. And we stayed here, because my wife has a very responsible job in the hospital, and I continue my ministry as a pastor in my church and a senior pastor in the region. Several brothers and sisters from our church also went abroad.’ The conflict is overwhelming and difficult choices were made, both in caring for his family and also the churches in his region. In all, he emphasized prayer and serving our Lord. In this Vasiliy and his wife hold fast.
Pastor Vasily added, ‘Although our region is in the west, this war affects us all. We continue all the services and ministries in the church. We also organized a round-the-clock prayer among the churches in the region. We organize prayer conferences in churches. We host many refugees in the Houses of Prayer, homes and apartments. We organized three meals a day. We also help with food, medicines, hygiene products, basic necessities, clothes, transport. A team is organized in the region, which regularly travels to brings humanitarian aid.’ Although the world seems to be closing in on them, Vasily and his church stand fast, clinging to God in prayer, seeing to the needs of others and proclaiming the Gospel to all who will hear. In this we are reminded that in whatever storms we face, we can walk through them in peace when we stand fast on the solid Rock of Jesus Christ. In Him is our hope and peace.”
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.