As you read the words below from SGA-supported Pastor Viktor in Russia about this congregation’s ministry to Ukrainian refugees, be reminded of our focus on the Gospel. The peace that passes all understanding is found in Christ alone.
Yes, we help with their physical needs, which are great as the war continues. But the Gospel must remain central. The winds of change and buffeting of our lives by hardship and tragedy will not rob us of our peace while we keep our eyes fixed upon Jesus.
Peace be with you, dear brothers and sisters.
Greetings to all who participate in the needs of the people who have fled their homes!
Our Republic continues receiving refugees from Ukraine. We have many sanatoriums built in resort areas across the Caucasus region. During the winter season, these facilities are unoccupied and used to accommodate the refugees. Our church visited these places to get acquainted with people and having learnt their needs, tried to attend to them. We are grateful to SGA for helping us to exceed our efforts in this ministry of what we could do on our own.
These people are majorly in need of clothing, medicines, and hygiene items, while their need in essential foods was covered, however, they did lack vitamins and some sweets. Therefore, we used your donated funds on purchasing fruit, jams, marmalade, etc., especially stuffs that contented vitamin C (such as raspberry) so that people could more easily endure colds and viral diseases, moreover, it added some joy into our communication in the evenings over a cup of tea with jam and sweets.
Medicines are in demand even during favorable seasons of life. Moreover, when people experience such stress, health problems are significantly increasing; therefore people need meds for conditions like diabetes; pain relievers, pills against colds, and childhood diseases. The items of personal hygiene are of high demand, as well.
During our visits, as we distribute aid, we always have time for communication heart-to-heart. It is very important for these people to speak about their pain and hear words of comfort. We gently preach the Gospel and talk about Christ. After all, Jesus Christ was born to Mary and Joseph when they were refugees, and from the first days of His earthly life, He experienced flight from the persecution of Herod, and for the rest of His life, He had no place to lay His head.
A young couple, Dmitri and Taisiya, have two children and expect their third baby. They had to evacuate immediately; first, they were sent to one region of Russia, but there they could not find a place and they were redirected to the Caucasus region. They lost their papers on their way; therefore, they were unable to receive the child allowance and the refugees’ benefits for a long time. At the same time, they behaved very modestly and did not ask for anything. Dmitri started looking for a job from the first days to earn some money to support his family. When their kids got sick and we found out they did not have any money to buy meds, our church members came to them and as we were acquainted, we were able to see better their situation. Taisiya lacked pregnancy clothes, and the one she wore around the house was too small, pressing hard on her stomach. When they came back and told me about their situation, I said that we would provide this family a special care. We bought not only medicines and hygiene products, but also necessary clothes. In the course of time, the family received papers and started receiving benefits. During our latest visit, they shared their joy, as the government provided them with a certificate for the purchase of housing.
A woman named Natalia shared her grief with me. She said that during the evacuation, many people gathered to cross the Dnieper River. People saw a man filming it on his phone. He was arrested and taken away because they thought he was a spotter. People feared that he might relay the coordinates and then the crowd started panicking that shelling might follow. In this turmoil, people began chaotically running, and Natalia was separated in the crowd from her husband and their older son. She and their middle and younger sons stayed together.
She kept coming up to us, saying that she could not find her husband and the son. Lately, she came to me in tears and said that she received information that her husband had died and her son went missing. Natalya has a job as a cleaner in a sanatorium where refugees live. We attend to her material needs and support spiritually. She also received a certificate on housing purchase and is now looking for a place.
During our visits, we come with someone who can play guitar and sing Christian songs, as the Lord can use the hymns to move people’s hearts. During one of our visits, a woman seemed touched by the singing. When we talked, it turned out that she was not a refugee and came to the sanatorium for medical treatment. She told me that a few years ago, she endured a big tragedy in her life, and at that time she got acquainted with some Christians. Their songs helped her through that grief, she said, but back then, she did not go to the church. While in the sanatorium, she heard us singing and came to listen, as her heart responded with comfort of her memories from the past. That is how God can use different situations to appeal to people to come to Him and receive comfort.
Please, pray that these sufferings of people will turn to good for the salvation of their souls and for the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ!
With greetings and thanks,
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.