Slavic Gospel Association traces its founders’ vision and history to the 1920s and 30s and the city of Chicago, where we were founded by Rev. Peter Deyneka, an immigrant from Belarus (now an independent nation, but then a part of the Soviet Union). In the 1920s Peter traveled throughout the Soviet Union to share the Gospel and encourage Bible-believing churches.
When Soviet dictator Josef Stalin intensified persecution of the churches in the early 1930s, it prevented Peter from traveling to his homeland to share the Gospel. Convinced that there were ways to help the churches from here, he and a small group of Chicago-area businessmen met in the back of Hedstrom’s Shoe Store and founded the Russian Gospel Association in 1934. It was later renamed the Slavic Gospel Association (SGA).
For many decades, SGA covertly distributed millions of Bibles and Christian books under the Iron Curtain into the hands of believers throughout the Soviet Union, while producing and broadcasting thousands of Christian radio programs over the Iron Curtain.
The first Russian language Bible institutes in the world were established to train the Russian immigrants in Toronto, Canada, Temperley, Argentina, and other parts of the world. The mission also had an extensive ministry to Russian-speaking refugees and immigrants living in various countries throughout the world.
Then, in 1989 — just two years after his passing — the Lord answered Rev. Deyneka’s lifetime prayers and brought the Iron Curtain crashing down — surprising the entire world. SGA leaders and missionaries immediately began to seize the unprecedented new opportunities for reaching the people of the former Soviet Union for the glory of Christ.
Under the leadership of Rev. Deyneka and his son, the late Peter Deyneka, Jr., SGA grew to become an international ministry with autonomous offices in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and England. Peter Jr. was instrumental in pressing forward with covert distribution of Bibles and Christian books behind the Iron Curtain, and developing a variety of Russian-language Christian programming for broadcast into the former Soviet Union from the powerful shortwave signals of HCJB, Far East Broadcasting Company, and TransWorldRadio. This included the Seminary of the Air and effective children’s programs. He also oversaw development of Russian-language Bible Correspondence Courses in partnership with Moody Bible Institute, as well as the Institute of Slavic Studies for U.S. college students in Wheaton, Illinois. After Peter Jr’s retirement in 1991, Dr. John Aker assumed the presidency and oversaw the mission’s transition to direct in-country operations that were impossible during the communist years. Under his leadership, SGA’s Regional Ministry Centers were opened in Moscow, Russia; Minsk, Belarus; and Kiev, Ukraine.
In 1994, Dr. Bob Provost became SGA’s fourth president, and further consolidated SGA’s ministry of service to evangelical churches across the former Soviet Union. Noting that Bible training was the top priority of the evangelical churches SGA serves, Dr. Provost made it SGA’s top priority, greatly increasing and strengthening our support for doctrinally sound Bible and theological training. He also established the Antioch Initiative to encourage and train missionary pastors to plant new churches in regions where there had been little to no Gospel witness. Several other key ministries were developed during Dr. Provost’s time, including vibrant children’s ministries and Compassion Ministry, as well as sponsorship of Bible training for Russian-speaking churches in Israel, assisting there with training initiatives, conferences, and Russian-language publications.
Upon Bob Provost’s retirement in 2017, SGA’s board of directors named Mr. Michael Johnson as our fifth president, with a mandate to further grow the ministry and increase our support base. Michael had previously served as SGA’s vice president of advancement from 1996 to 2004, and was instrumental in the creation of some of our key ministries, including Orphans Reborn and Immanuel’s Child. Under his leadership, God has indeed granted SGA remarkable growth. Our mission stepped up Compassion Ministry in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the outbreak of war between Russia and Ukraine, helping evangelical churches in-country deliver urgently needed aid to their people and to lovingly share the hope of the Gospel.
SGA continues to work primarily in the former Soviet nations of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, and Armenia, as well as serving Russian-speaking congregations in Israel. We provide Russian-language Bibles and Christian literature, provision of solid Bible training for pastors, church planters and church workers, sponsorship of church-planting missionaries, and sponsorship of youth and children’s ministries including outreach to orphans in state-run orphanages.. SGA partners also help provide funds to help churches purchase humanitarian aid for the orphanages.
Today we continue to faithfully share the Gospel, equip the church, and help the forgotten in Jesus’ name.
Rev. Peter Deyneka, our visionary founder, came to the United States from the former Soviet republic of Belarus at the age of 15. A few years later, Peter repented of his sins and trusted in Christ as Savior during a worship service at Chicago’s historic Moody Church during the pastorate of Dr. Paul Rader.
After his salvation and graduation from St. Paul Bible School in Minnesota, Peter returned to Chicago with an overwhelming burden to see his people won to Christ. In 1925, he went back to his homeland and began a lifetime of extensive ministry travels, sharing the Good News of salvation through Jesus Christ.
Throughout the Cold War era, Peter Deyneka traveled the globe holding prayer meetings, often overnight, encouraging the Lord’s people to pray for the opening of the Soviet Union for the preaching of the Gospel. His motto became, “Much prayer, much power. Little prayer, little power. No prayer, no power!”
It’s easy to understand why Rev. Deyneka’s powerful preaching earned him the nickname, “Peter Dynamite.”
Having poured out his life in service to the Lord, Peter Deyneka was called to his heavenly reward in 1987.