In the six years that have gone by since the war broke out in eastern Ukraine, thousands of people have joined in prayer and in giving to help provide urgently needed food and other aid to devastated families. We are also deeply thankful for the involvement of World Challenge—the internationally known ministry founded in 1971 by the late Pastor David Wilkerson. Two years ago, World Challenge began providing generous grants to help purchase aid for distribution by SGA-sponsored missionary pastors and church teams in the war zones, and these resources have profoundly impacted many lives. Today, this ongoing aid continues to encourage these needy families now dealing with the coronavirus in addition to the war.
Pastor Gary Wilkerson, the son of David Wilkerson and president of World Challenge, said that there is great harmony with SGA’s approach to ministry. “Our approach is sympatico—we have a very similar approach to missions, bringing mercy and some aid relief alongside our primary call of transforming lives through serving the church. Next year, we celebrate our 50th anniversary and our mission statement is ‘To transform lives through the message and mission of Jesus Christ.’ We always love hearing reports of spiritual hunger where there is a famine for the Word of God, and people wanting to be fed!”
Eric Mock, SGA vice president of ministry operations, said that the contributions of World Challenge have been nothing short of profound. “When I’ve been in the war zone, I have seen the distributions in action along with the proclamation of the Gospel while visiting single-parent homes and the elderly. These needy individuals are almost the only ones left remaining in the war zones and they have nowhere else to go. The church teams we help supply deliver the aid at great risk, often in the midst of sniper fire. In one area, the village gathered at the church including widows and young women with children. Empty churches are filling, and these people would not have heard the Gospel any other way.”
SGA president Michael Johnson added, “The underlying philosophy of World Challenge and that of SGA are indeed very similar. Their work—like ours—is coordinated through the local church, and this opens doors for them to meet both physical and spiritual needs. We all share a passion for the Gospel, which transforms lives. Their contribution has helped provide more than 8,500 food packs for families, out of which came an estimated 376,000 meals. Almost 4,000 food packs were provided to needy widows, or almost 176,000 meals. In addition, assistance was rendered through Operation Winter Warmth, with about 35,000 meals along with warm clothing and heaters for those struggling with the cold last winter. All in all, about 600,000 meals were provided. And most importantly, open doors were created to share the Gospel with these families!”
As the fall begins in earnest, most global health experts are predicting a renewed spike in COVID-19 cases, and peace remains elusive in eastern Ukraine. Please pray with us for the ongoing resources the churches will need to keep reaching these families with the love of Christ and the physical help they will need to survive.