Editor’s Note: As this new year begins, it is appropriate to pause and reflect on the past year’s momentous events. That includes the way God is using His people—including SGA supporters—to advance His kingdom not only across the former Soviet Union, but also in Israel. What follows are snapshots of events in which your prayers and gifts are, even now, playing a part.
The war between Russia and Ukraine that began in February 2022 is now entering its third year. The human toll is staggering, and the damage done to critical infrastructure in Ukraine is immense.
Yet in the midst of all these challenges and with your help, the faithful churches SGA serves reached out to war-torn individuals and families with urgently needed aid—including easy-to-assemble stoves—and sharing the hope of the Gospel.
Vitaly M. is an SGA-supported pastor in Ukraine, and he shares how you are helping to provide Heat and Hope to their distressed people.
“We are very thankful to you for your timely support and the wood stoves, which are a direct response to the needs of our people affected by the war and power crisis. Due to the war, many houses have been destroyed by shelling, and many people have become displaced refugees. We are meeting the needs of people in our city, as well as those who have been displaced, and at the same time sharing the Gospel. There have been multiple hits by Russian missiles on the power infrastructure. This causes frequent power outages. Those whose houses are heated by electric boilers are affected, and also gas heaters do not work without electricity. It’s winter now, so the issue of warmth in the houses is very important, as well as having something on which to cook. The stoves you sent are a response to the most urgent, basic needs of the people. Although they are not large, they are very convenient and able to provide heat, and it is also possible to cook food on them. Thank God!
Maria just turned 82. She was born at the beginning of World War II and now lives through this war. Her relatives asked her to evacuate. But she said, ‘I was born under bombs, I will die under bombs.’ God spared her life and thanks to you, we were able to give her a stove. She used to oppose Christians very strongly, but now she has started reading the Bible and sometimes comes to church events, praise God! Dear friends, thank you once again for your help, it is very important now! People in Ukraine are very grateful to you!”
The deadly terrorist attack on Israel by Hamas militants in Gaza in October shook Israel to the core, and set off a military confrontation that threatened to expand beyond the region into a global conflict. SGA has supported many Russian-speaking congregations in Israel for decades. Many are populated by immigrants from the former USSR, including, ironically, Ukraine.
In Israel, Pastor Boris and his congregation are serving among those impacted by the war with Hamas. He writes:
“We are very grateful to the Lord for all of you who pray for Israel and our ministry these days, and for all those who have sent financial support for our relief work in Ashkelon! This ministry started with ‘five loaves and two fishes,’ and then God multiplied their ministry resources greatly through you, our friends and partners!
The situation in Ashkelon remains tense. Rocket alerts still sound on a daily basis, and the situation is particularly complicated for the elderly and the physically challenged. Our brother Eduard has been ministering to one elderly couple whose building took a direct hit. Tatyana and Constantine are in their seventies and have no close relatives. During one of the bombings, a rocket hit their building, but thankfully they were not harmed because they hid in the bomb shelter room on their floor. Tatyana’s emotional state became very fragile as a result. They are staying in a neighbor’s vacant apartment. Eduard and his team are taking care of this family, bringing them food and helping them with other needs. Eduard prayed with the couple and gave them a Bible. Please pray for them and for many others who are suffering the trauma of the war.”
These are only a few examples of the ministry you help make possible. As 2024 progresses in these nations, please pray with us that the Lord will turn many willing souls to Himself as they hear His Gospel and experience His love.