With winter in a firm, icy grip across Russia and her neighboring countries, needy individuals and families in the throes of deep poverty face serious struggles trying to keep warm and survive. In some regions—especially the “stan” countries of Central Asia—poverty is especially horrific and the human need is enormous. In light of this reality, SGA has prayerfully re-launched a ministry we call Operation Winter Warmth. Its beginnings go back to the difficult days after the fall of communism.
In the winter of 2002, Russia was in the midst of a serious economic crisis. Thousands of individuals and families were destitute and uncertain how they were going to survive the cold. To help Russian evangelical churches respond to that great need, SGA launched Operation Winter Warmth with the help of our partners. Tons of warm clothing, footwear, and other aid were placed in the hands of those who desperately needed it, as well as thousands of Russian-language copies of God’s Word. Most wonderful of all, the Lord used this massive effort to help open the door for SGA-sponsored missionary pastors to demonstrate Christ’s love and to share the Gospel with unbelievers.
Today, the needs are just as staggering and the opportunities for the Gospel just as great. SGA’s Eric Mock has visited the Caucasus and Central Asia several times and saw heart-wrenching poverty first hand . . .
These are among the poorest regions of the former Soviet Union. You can drive into the mountains and people are living in clay wall homes. The front door is literally a blanket hanging on a rod. I’ve been among homeless people where hungry single mothers sell their children just to put food on the table. It just rips your heart out!
In eastern Ukraine, people were on the edge of dying last winter, especially older people who couldn’t warm their homes and were freezing. The churches that we support go out to villages like this, and a ministry like Operation Winter Warmth can give them access to help people in Jesus’ name. It strengthens bridges for the Gospel!
Please pray with faithful missionary pastors and church teams as they visit needy families and children, orphans, and the elderly who are neglected and alone. In so doing, they are living examples of our compassionate God whose Word declares . . . Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world (James 1:27). We will update you on this ministry in future issues of the Good News Report.