As I traveled across Russia and the other countries that made up the Soviet Union, one thing I observed very quickly is that large cities like Moscow or Kiev do not paint an accurate picture of what life is really like for millions of people. If you get out into the rural towns and villages, your heart will likely be broken when you see the tragic poverty that exists. So many live in very run-down, small old houses or dilapidated apartment complexes. Winter is especially harsh, and families have to scrape together any heat source they can find from firewood to coal. Some even lack these resources.
In light of this, I am so very thankful to God for the opportunity to help evangelical churches reach these families through Operation Winter Warmth. I will never forget how SGA partners responded to the need when I served with the mission years ago. We were able then to ship over tons of warm clothing, footwear, and other humanitarian aid. These days, we can purchase the aid overseas and supply the churches directly—much more cost-effective than shipping and negotiating the customs minefields. And the emotional, thankful reaction of those receiving help is truly moving. They are amazed that someone cares about them enough to help them with their most basic needs, and frequently are much more open to hear of salvation in Jesus Christ. You truly have a part in this ministry, and I thank God for every one of you.
As we embark on 2018, I ask you to join me in prayer that God will increase His provision—not only for Operation Winter Warmth, but also for all the other SGA ministries designed to help His church proclaim the life-changing Gospel. There are numerous challenges that lie ahead in the coming year, and I trust that you will be with us as always. Thank you for all that you do!