As we continue to receive reports of how God greatly blessed many SGA-supported Summer Bible Camps across the former Soviet Union, we now realize that means winter is just around the corner. The windy days of fall will soon turn to bitter cold days, with the white of snow covering the ground. This brings with it great hardship for all who continue to be impacted by the harshness of war.
Whether it be Moldova as in the story below, or in Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, or Russia, the reality of winter in wartime is coming. There will be many needs as people try to survive the cold, but the churches throughout these countries are ready to open their doors once again to supply warm meals, heat, and blankets—through SGA’s Heat & Hope Campaign. Most importantly, these men and women from these churches will be sharing the warmth of God’s love and the fire of the Gospel!
Please pray that many who come to be warmed will trust in the words of the verse below and know that God does not forget them. Here is 75-year-old Sister Tamara’s story as told by SGA team member Tatiana in Moldova . . .
She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her, ‘You are the God who sees me,’ for she said, ‘I have now seen the One who sees me.’ (Genesis 16:13)
When the war in Ukraine started, Moldova heard the sounds of explosions. From that moment we understood that things would not be as they had been and that we had to be ready for fleeing, fear, and darkness. Moldova has always had good relations with Ukraine, Russia, and Romania, but as soon as this war started, we knew that the Russian Government had changed everything.
Immediately Moldova’s relations with Russia worsened and the price for the gas coming from the Russian Federation increased to 680%, from 4.25 lei to 29.27 lei. Moldova is the poorest country in Europe. This excessive increase was beyond the strength of people to pay. Each family tried to cope as best as they could. Some families moved in together, so there were two to three generations in the same house. Others lived on the very minimum to save money to pay for the much-needed heat. Others dressed warmly because it was cold in the house, but nevertheless with all this, people still had to pay a lot at the end of the month.
Tamara is 75 years old. She is a widow and lives alone. She has a 48-year-old daughter who lives separately. Tamara’s grandmother was a believer and took her to church from time to time. But she did not have a real relationship with God. At retirement age,Tamara began to participate in the meals organized by the “Betania” Church from Chisinau. She started attending church, heard the Gospel and decided to reconcile with God.
This past winter was one of the hardest. Her pension was not enough to buy enough wood. In February (the coldest month) she ran out of wood. She continued to heat with cardboard for two months (February and March). She tells us that it was very difficult. The cardboard burns quickly and gives little heat. When I asked what she would do this year, she answered, “This year I collected cardboard, chestnuts, and acorns. I most definitely do not have enough because they burn too quickly. I trust in the LORD that He will not forget me.”
Sister Tamara, along with many others facing the reality of another cold winter, need our support.