Editor’s Note: The report, stories, and images below were sent by an SGA team member in Ukraine.
Here is a ministry report from SGA team member Lydia and her husband Sergei, who travelled to central Ukraine to see first-hand the impact of humanitarian aid delivered from Poland—and of the Gospel as seeds are sown in many hurting hearts.
This is the first of several reports from Lydia and Sergei’s trip to a city in this region. We hope that what you read and see will help you understand how God is drawing more Ukrainians to Himself—in the midst of war and in His timing—and be encouraged by the great things He has done and we trust He will continue to do.
Greetings, our friends!
God allowed us to visit the regional association this time and meet with many faithful ministers there! They all gathered together at the same time when the cargo was to arrive and waited patiently for it. Every time we plan to visit a regional association, we have certain worries. We know that every association, every church, every minister has some challenges in their ministry, experiences during the war. We always ask the Lord for wisdom, guidance, and the right vision to always be able to listen to them.
Many churches in the city we visited have served and still serve the IDPs [internally displaced persons] and all those in need. Since the beginning of the war, they have faithfully welcomed everyone who came, fed them, encouraged them, and prayed for them. This is what all pastors called by the Lord are supposed to do. During the war, more than 40,000 IDPs went through one of the churches in in this city. Amazing!
We can tell that all the ministers are very tired physically and spiritually. But the Lord sees their burning and faithful hearts and He also sees their tired hands. Therefore, we ask you to pray for all the ministers in the region that the Lord would keep their hands up and their strength would be renewed!
We would also like to share one more detail: we really liked the organization of the unloading and distributing the food. Everything was done quickly, accurately, everyone knew their spot by the truck to pick up their part. Many young brothers came to help with the unloading. Praise the Lord for such a faithful team!
And while in the region, we were able to visit several refugee families and individuals and hear from them. Not everyone wanted to meet and talk about their anxieties and sufferings related to the war. Many people simply isolated themselves and do not want to recall that terrible time at all. Therefore, we talked only to those who were more open with us.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Sergei & Lydia
Stories and Testimonies
The young boy, Kolia (an orphan, 19 years old) came to us when we were visiting one refugee family at the dorm (for grown up orphans) and he wanted to hear everything about God and sin as we’ve been discussing it with the family. So, he stayed as long as we stayed there. He told us little bit about his life. He read the Bible four times!! His first Bible he got was from the Christian volunteers. While reading the Bible he understood that this book changes people’s lives!
The boys (Kolia and his older brother Ivan, who is 21 now) were raised by their grandmother. But they have no good memories of her. Their mother was drunk and then she disappeared and up to now they do not know where she is. Their father also left them and they have no contact with either of them. A difficult childhood and uncertainty in the lives of these young men. Kolya is interested in music and drawing. We talked a lot about God and prayed for them. On Sunday, Kolia and his older brother came to the morning service. We prayed for them again. Kolia said, he is not ready to repent yet, but we know God is working with his heart now. Otherwise, he wouldn’t come to us and ask to talk to him. We believe that the Lord will grow the sown word in His time. So, Andrew Kalinin will be staying in contact with the boys. Please, pray for the boys’ hearts!
Vasily and Lena came from Lisichansk more than a year ago. They were baptized [here] many years ago. They have two adult, married daughters (36 and 33 years old). When their daughters were little, they went to Sunday school. When they grew up, they had to build families and forgot about God, although they do not reject Him.
Vasiliy says: “On the first day of the war, I jumped up from an explosion, there was an explosion not far from us. We realized that the real war had begun in our country! We lived in a neighborhood that was constantly shelled and very heavily! Everything was shaking after another explosion.”
Lena says: “From the first days we experienced all these explosions. After 38 days we couldn’t stand it all anymore, without sleep, without proper food and rest. I couldn’t even pray anymore. I would knee down for prayer and lose my consciousness from helplessness. My physical condition was very difficult. There was no way to hide anywhere, we sat in the house all the time. There were three of us. . . . Evacuation buses were outside the city or in the downtown. We could not get anywhere ourselves because of our physical condition, and our elderly mother was with us all the time. We had to take care of her. Our youngest daughter had already moved [here] at that time and made an arrangement with a transportation driver who would come directly to our house and pick us all up at once. We came [here] with everything prepared, my daughter took care of it.
“God provided us with this dormitory, where we now live and we do not pay anything for living.
From our neighborhood, where we lived in Lysychansk, there were only two people left. They simply did not want to leave anywhere. The rest of our neighbors moved to different regions. We lived on the front line. We were occupied from almost all sides. Since our location was on the highest spot, we were always under fire.
“We went through a lot, and we don’t know what we would have done without the Lord. We are here now in this dormitory, having the opportunity to tell about God to refugees like us. Recently, I’ve talked to this lady. She understands everything with her mind, but her heart refuses to accept the Truth. Whenever possible, we try to talk to people on the street, in the dorm yard. We are grateful to God for the food we receive. Thank God, we need nothing for today. We only spend a lot of money on medicines.”
“An interesting story of how the Lord has revealed Himself to my husband and me . . . We were a prosperous family, we didn’t drink, didn’t smoke, had a normal way of life. Suddenly my husband started watching some Christian programs. I noticed that he became even better, although he had been a very kind, unbelieving person before. I was getting a little bit of a shock. I wanted to know what kind of programs he was watching. He invited me to watch it with him, and then he told me that I should repent. I didn’t understand what the word “repentance” meant. I remember once going into my room, closed the door, knelt down and asked God to reveal to me what “repentance” meant. Then the Lord led us to a Baptist church, where we stayed.
“Our daughter had severe allergies during her childhood. And for us, that time was a time of difficult experiences and trials. We needed to see how much we trusted and believed the Lord. We prayed and asked the Lord that He would heal our little daughter of these allergies, as we did not want to give her heavy medication. We prayed faithfully. And God answered our prayers! We never gave her any more medication after that moment. We believe that God healed her. And now, in our circumstances, we trust Him that He will always be there to guide our future.
“‘Count your blessings, name them one by one; Count your blessings, see what God hath done!’ When a person realizes that he should thank Him for every grain, then joy fills your heart with such understanding and gratitude!
“It’s terrible to remember now all that we went through. Many times enemy tanks would drive by our house, but God did not allow it to be destroyed. Some neighboring houses were destroyed to the ground. If He allowed such sufferings in our lives, we must go through and endure to the end. Our prayers have become fervent! We believe that God has brought us here to tell the people around us about Him. To speak and not get weary! People lack love, God’s love, and compassion. Many hearts have become hardened during the war. Many have hardened their hearts against God. And we are here to love and pray for our neighbors in the dormitory. We believe that the Lord will bring up the sown seed in His time!”
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.
Praising God in Ukraine!
Pastors and churches are working to connect displaced persons to God’s Word. They’re bringing hope with every opportunity they have to share the Gospel.
Dec 07, 2023
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