231002 Sga Ukraine War Stories 9 25 Social Post 2 Wordpress Preview 460x460 V1
Nov 24, 2023
Editor’s Note: The images below were provided by an SGA-supported church in Ukraine.
Seeing Gods Power In Ukraine

In the basement of a historic building, a church led by Pastor Sergei offers the Gospel to those who are seeking comfort and protection. “We want to see God work; we want to see His power. We want to ask Him to reveal that power as He saves sinners. We want to see Him work!” says Sergei. Read more about how the “church around the corner” is serving those who seek God’s word:

“Odessa, a city famous for its history and location to the Black Sea, bustles with tourists from all over the country. The cobblestone streets, usually filled year-round, hold a mix of locals, businessmen, internationals, and young college students. Especially popular is the downtown area, which holds restaurants, cafes, and shops. One would hardly recognize the small Odessa Bible Church located there, in the bottom floor of a historic building.

As the Head of the Church, the Lord knows and uses different trials to grow His kingdom, and in this case, He used the terrible realities of war to make the church a place of peace and rest among the chaos. Young Pastor Sergei, when faced with the decision to evacuate or stay, chose to be true to his calling and stayed among the scared and confused locals in downtown Odessa. Situated close to the port and fully aware that Odessa was definitely a target for the enemy, Sergei says, “At that moment, not knowing how much time I had left on Earth, knowing that God had called me to pastor in Odessa, I decided that I would live my last days preaching the Gospel there.” Those first days of war turned to months of building relationships with the people that God brought, sharing the Gospel with them, feeding, and caring for their spiritual, physical, and emotional needs. 

Now, the entire neighborhood in central Odessa knows of the small church “around the corner.” By God’s grace, the city still stands, and the small, unnoticeable church has become a home for some new believers. “I believe that God used the war to win hearts over to us; maybe not all yet for the Gospel, but the work is being done,” says Sergei as he recalls the summer camp that many children of unbelieving families attended. Every week, church members and locals meet for fellowship and prayer, both in small groups, church worship, and over lunch. They also lead a children’s Sunday school program for the neighborhood kids, most of whom have heard and can now share the Gospel with others.  “For us, this is a big victory. We know that God will bring the children to repentance in His own time, but knowing that we were able to teach the children the truth of the Gospel, and the child could repeat it in his or her own words in a biblically accurate way is one of the biggest joys and blessings that we have!”

Another blessing that occurred is a personal one; Sergei and Yuliya got married last year, during the full-scale war. “Our stability is in God, so it didn’t scare us that the war was raging and that we didn’t know what and how we would live. Before the war, during the war, and after the war – our stability doesn’t change,” Sergei says. 

This year, Sergei prays that the members of the church will grow in their relationships with the Lord and each other. He firmly believes that many surrounding people will be able to see the love of God through the witness of the love they have among themselves (John 13:35). Also, he hopes that they will never be content with little, but that their love and desire to know God and to share the Gospel with every fallen sinner would grow. 

“We aren’t just another church that opened and will be writing reports on how much we are doing. We don’t want to start a lot of programs and fill our schedules with things to do. We want to see God work; we want to see His power. We want to ask Him to reveal that power as He saves sinners. We want to see Him work!”, says Pastor Sergei, hopeful and confident in the mighty, saving hand of God.” 

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-supported 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.

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