As you read through this recent ministry report from SGA-supported Pastor Roman, notice the life impact of food distributions that his church has held in their village since the war began. It underscores the importance of serving local churches, as humanitarian aid is shared along with the Gospel. And God is building His church!
See how the generosity of friends like you is helping to equip Roman’s congregation and touch the hearts of hurting Ukrainians seeking help and hope. Here’s more from his report . . .
Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, dear friends at SGA!
We are sincerely grateful to our Lord that in the midst of war He gives us the opportunity to be the proclaimers of His truth. The churches in Ukraine have faced enormous challenges because of the war. Depending on the progress of the front, local churches found themselves in different conditions. Some serve displaced persons who fled their homes from the horrors of war, while others found themselves in great need because of the occupation, and in this situation the church became a humanitarian center, helping all those in need around them. We understand that if it were not for the help of various Christian missions and organizations or individual sacrificial churches, our ministry would not be so extensive and we would not be able to carry it out.
Our church was also under occupation, and we experienced a great humanitarian need. Thanks be to God, He guided us and through the ministry of other missions and churches we survived. We have come a long way and now we can serve other people. Wherever we could and can, we tell people about Christ and His love and grace in the midst of suffering.
We sincerely thank you for taking a direct part in our lives. Thank you for extending your helping hands in this difficult time for the Ukrainian people. We ask the Lord to bless you all abundantly, and we know that God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them (Hebrew 6:10).
Our church invites people (IDPs, large families, singles, widows) through the invitations, forming groups with the required number of people. We invite each group for a set time. We talk to the people, share the Gospel, then provide humanitarian aid, and after that we communicate with people more closely. This time the food aid was distributed to 161 families in our village. First, this ministry allows us to invite people to the House of Prayer and to share the Gospel with them both in word and deed. In other words, it is an outreach ministry. Second, it unites the church itself, where everyone realizes that they are needed, especially in times of war.
Here are some answers to questions I asked:
Please tell us about your church before the war.
Our local church is small, with about 25 to 30 people attending every Sunday. The peculiarity of the church is that people attend the meetings from all over the district and cover a radius of about 24 miles. In the days before the war, the church had a very active life, with various social ministries, children’s camps, and intense internal fellowship and growth in Christ.
How did the war affect the daily life of the church?
On February 24, 2022, the first day of the war, the occupation forces immediately entered our area to attack. Therefore, our village and part of the district were cut off from communication with the country from the very beginning. Because of this, there was no transportation, there was a great shortage of fuel and people could no longer attend meetings. Moreover, we lost contact with each other and for some time we could not communicate not only face to face, but also by using the phone.
What ministry is the church currently engaged in? How does the church support people in your area?
Now we do some charitable events from time to time to help people. The church has also started church meetings and invites people through personal testimonies.
How has the war affected the spiritual life of people outside the church? How does the church respond to their needs?
Today the situation in our region has changed somewhat. Communication with the country has been restored, but we understand that the war continues. Because of this, our region has begun to host people who are moving within the country, fleeing the horror of war. Some people have sheltered with their relatives in our region, fleeing the flood caused by the occupiers during the attack. Therefore, we, as a church, are now more responsive to the needs of these people. Thanks to the ministry of churches overseas, we receive aid, which is a really good opportunity to witness God’s love and grace to many people.
What are your prayer requests that we could share with others on our social media?
First of all, we need prayerful support to follow the Lord regardless of the circumstances. Please pray for spiritual strength for every Christian. Also for revival among the people in our area. We are very grateful to God for all the people who are reaching out to help the Ukrainian people in this difficult time for our country. As Christians, we greatly appreciate that our brothers and sisters in Christ are fulfilling this sacrificial ministry and providing aid to the churches of Ukraine, and that these churches, in turn, distribute it to the people. We remember the words of the Apostle Paul: participate in the needs of the saints (Romans 12:13). We thank the Lord that we see this with our own eyes, as the Church of Jesus Christ fulfills this ministry. We wish all who participate in this great work abundant blessings from God.
Mr. Andrei is 65 years old. He lived in a house with his wife and mother-in-law. When the war started, his children and grandchildren had to move to his house and all of them were occupied by the Russian invasion. After the region was occupied and the village’s connection with the country was broken, hard times began for their family. He would go out every morning and try to find something for the family to eat, and the most important thing for him was to wait in a long line to get bread, which was delivered to his neighborhood every other day. For a family of six, this was not enough at all. He says: “How could I explain to my teenage grandson that we need to save bread, when at that age children are always hungry and need bread three times a day.” He has received help from the church many times, so he is very grateful to everyone who has sacrificially participated in his life circumstances.
Maryna and Iryna are sisters. They each have one child. They moved from Kherson to [our village]. After the de-occupation of Kherson, life became easier, but it was still not peaceful in this place. And when the Kakhovka dam was destroyed, they decided to move. Iryna’s husband is defending Ukraine in the armed forces. They say: :We decided not to return yet, because it is dangerous and very difficult there, especially when we are with children and without husbands.” They visited the church for the first time by our invitation and were very impressed and grateful for the help. When we talked to them, we suggested that we might exchange our contacts so that we could invite them again. After moving to [this] region, they are still unemployed and this makes life difficult, so they are happy to receive any help. Maryna and Iryna express their sincere gratitude to everyone who helps people like them!
Ms. Tina is a retired, single woman. Before the full-scale invasion began, she lived in the city of Volnovakha in Donbas. After the war started, Volnovakha became the front line. Today it is a city that does not exist. Therefore, she was forced to leave her hometown and seek shelter. Ms. Tina decided to go to the place where she had at least some relatives and ended up [in this village]. When she saw the church’s invitation to a humanitarian aid event, she was happy to participate. Ms. Tina said: “It is very difficult to leave everything and start life again, but I am not sad and step by step, thanks to the help of good people, I have everything I need today. Thank you all for helping people like me.” Tina visited an evangelical Christian church for the first time in her life and was very happy to talk to us. We hope that we will meet again.
Ms. Tetyana and her large family lived in Bakhmut, Donetsk region. After the war started, when the front line moved to the east of the country, Bakhmut was in the epicenter of the fighting. For some time they could stay in their house, but the moment came when they had to leave everything behind and leave. They came to the north of Ukraine. When the local church held a social event and invited people to receive humanitarian aid, she gladly accepted the invitation. Tetiana says: “While we were getting [here], we had to make stops in different cities of the country, and Christians helped us everywhere. And when we were here, we were invited to church again by Christians.” Tetiana’s husband told us how he felt: “I have always worked to provide for my family. We had everything we needed, and now the time has come when we are in great need. And as a man, I am very ashamed to ask for something for myself, but I am very grateful to everyone who has taken part in our life during the war.” Tetiana was very grateful for the invitation, and we also hope that we will be able to help them in the future.
Yulia is 29 years old. She is from the Donetsk region. She lived with her family in Kostiantynivka. She has two daughters, aged eight and three. After the war started, she thought that the fighting would bypass their town, as the war started in the north and center of the country. But later, when the [invaders] withdrew from the north, the front intensified in the east and their town came under fire. Ms. Yulia says: “When the shelling started, I was in no hurry to leave, but every day I saw the children’s fear and crying. I decided not to stress their emotional system, so we packed up and left. My parents stayed behind to take care of the house. My parents called and said that the house was already damaged.”
Today, Yulia has IDP status and lives [in this] region. She also sought help through a church announcement about a charity event. When she lived in Kostiantynivka, her eldest daughter attended Sunday school in an evangelical church. So when we invited her to attend the Sunday meetings, she responded very positively. During a personal conversation, we invited her to stay in touch so that we could help her in some other way. When we asked Yulia about her impressions of the charity event, she said: “I am very grateful for your attention to the needs of people during the war. This is a great help for our family. Please express my gratitude to everyone who helps the Ukrainian people.”
Ms. Liuba was born and lived in the village of Ripky, and has two adult sons. Even before the full-scale war, she got married as a widow and moved to the Kherson region. But after the war began, when the Kherson region was already suffering from occupation, she decided to return again, as [this region] had already been de-occupied. The war brought personal grief to her family. When the village was temporarily occupied, her eldest son was wounded by soldiers and spent a long time in the hospital. The consequences of this injury will last a lifetime.
Now when life in the region is more or less normalized, there are still needs. Lyuba says: “Even though I was born here and it seems like I’m back home, everything we had as a family in the Kherson region is gone. Our property and everything we earned during peaceful life is gone. Now we have the status of IDPs.” Ms. Lyuba is very grateful for the invitation to receive help from the church. This is her first experience of visiting Christians and having personal communication.
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.