240612 Sga July Emergency Aid Campaign Website Article 1 Wp Preview V0
Jun 26, 2024
Editor’s Note: The following report, testimonies, and images were provided by an SGA-supported pastor in Ukraine.

Isaiah 43:2 says When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. SGA Storyteller, Lydia, recently reported that her church caught fire and burned to the ground. This cherished building has hosted her faith community since the beginning of the conflict. Now, all that remains of the church is a single cross—a resilient symbol of God’s existing love even amid tragedy and loss.

We praise God that no one was injured in the fire, but please continue to pray for Lydia and the members of this beloved church as they seek to rebuild what was lost. As we think of a church family now displaced from their church home, we also remember the millions of people forcibly displaced from their homes due to the Ukrainian conflict.

“These churches literally are having buses show up of front line IDPs (internally displaced persons)”, says Eric Mock, SGA’s Senior Vice President of Ministry Operations. “All of a sudden, they’re saying, ‘Here, you’ve got to take care of them for the next two months.’ They’ve got to figure out how to give them housing, how to find them a warm place to sleep, maybe a place to transition because you just can’t sleep in the church, and then food and all those other items. So SGA is trying to stand with the churches in that.”

SGA is helping to provide for (IDPs)—not only physical needs, but spiritual needs as well. SGA-supported Pastor Michael shares a report on this ongoing mission:

Dear friends from SGA!

Thank God for your ministry with the food aid!

The ministry in Ukraine continues. At the moment, we have 10 Bible study groups that are attended by IDPs. There are more than 300 students right now. Four groups – 118 students – have already completed the course “Fundamentals of Faith”. Some of these people have repented and are preparing for the Baptism. Some are just attending Sunday services.

There are some photos of the ‘students’ (pictures below). Sometimes I ask my ‘students’ to tell me a little about themselves.

Here is what they write:

Image 1 Website Article 1 2407 Emergency Aid

Testimony #1

My name is Yulia. I grew up in an ordinary family with my dad and mom. I graduated from high school and entered a Zoo Veterinary Academy to study management and marketing. Then I got married and gave birth to a daughter, who is now 21-years-old.

On February 24, 2022, life was divided into “before and after” and I realized that we were happy to have survived the shelling [of our city]. After we had been in the basement for 3 weeks and the shelling became more intense, we were evacuated. We were going randomly, not knowing where we would live and what we would do next. On the way, we searched for housing through friends and acquaintances. Praying to God, we arrived at our new shelter—with broken windows in the bus, wrapped in blankets. My daughter, my parents, and my husband’s parents thought we were going for a week, maybe two, but it turned out that for two years we have been living with strangers who have become closer to us than our relatives, and we are very grateful to them. After we calmed down a bit and finally slept in a BED, we started meeting people at different events. And I realized that there are more kind and open people in the world!

Now I go to church, I am very grateful to the pastor for his teaching, as if I had been back in my student life, and we get a nice bonus of support. After I started attending classes, I started thinking more often about God, about the church, about faith, about the war. And I realized that in peacetime I had no time to think about it. Looking back, I realize that we survived only thanks to God. Every morning I thank Him for waking me up and providing us with a roof over our heads. Thank you for everything.

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Testimony #2

Hello! My name is Lyudmila.

Came to this shelter site by evacuation bus in March 2022 with my son, husband and elderly mother. Unfortunately, my mother died in August 2022. At first, we were placed in a school, and then we rented an apartment. Our home in is so far intact. I have very positive impressions from communicating with Christians. We study, read the Bible, ask different questions, and they tell us a lot and explain a lot. We learn a lot of new things. This aid is very important for us, because we receive not only food and clothes, but real healing for our souls. After our conversations, we are always in a good mood, and many of our problems go into the background. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the church and all our friends for everything you do for us. It is a very important support for us in these difficult times. Thank you!

Pastor Michael continues:

People are very conscientious about their studies. When they miss classes for some reason, they are very upset. For example, one married couple used to attend classes all the time. Then it happened that the wife fell and broke her hip. Her husband had to borrow money for the surgery for an artificial joint. He came to classes on his own. A month and a half after the operation, he brought his wife to the lesson again. I always feel so sorry for these people. They are constantly worried about the condition of their homes, which they left behind. And it is very difficult for those who are now homeless. One woman came up to me after the lesson and said: “Yesterday the enemy destroyed my house… Only during your classes I just didn’t think about this tragedy, I listened only to you . . .”

The second woman said that her son has been at war since 2014. The father, when he was alive, tried several times to convince his son to resign from the Ukrainian armed forces. But the son replied: “I swore to protect the people of Ukraine and I will protect them as long as I live.” Because of this, the father suffered several heart attacks and died. And this woman’s son-in-law is in captivity for two years. The poor woman comes to class and just looks like a shadow. I don’t know what will happen next, but I deeply believe that these meetings with people dedicated to the study of God’s Word are not in vain. Therefore, we continue to serve!

We have also completed two eye clinic ministries in the region. 84 patients received medical care and heard the Gospel through an art exhibition. In another village, 135 patients visited the eye clinic. People received medical care, spiritual literature, and heard the Gospel through an exhibition of the artworks. Local believers were very happy about this ministry. They said: “we have never had such a good evangelization. It is hard to bring our villagers to church, but here they come in a crowd.” One woman came to the clinic and complained about her poor eyesight. She said, “I don’t think you can help me. When she was fitted with glasses and began to see everything clearly, she cried.

In April, I was invited to a village school with an artworks exhibition. We placed the paintings in the school library. Students of the 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th grades came there one-by-one. The classes were small—ten pupils per class. Each class was given about 40 minutes to listen to a story through the paintings. The 10th grade came in. I started talking and the air raid siren sounded. The students went to the bomb shelter. But, thank God, in about 20 minutes there was a break and they came back. I heard students running down the hall. Three boys ran in first. I asked them, “Why did you run so fast?” And they said, “The lesson is already too short for your story, and there was an air raid alert. So we ran fast to listen to you. One of them asked me who I am. I answered, “I’m a pastor. And he said, “Cool!” After sharing the Gospel with the students of the 11th grade, one boy in the class asked: “Why did you tell us all this?” Before I could answer, one of them said: “Didn’t you understand that you were told for 40 minutes how to become a Christian…?

For His glory,
Pastor Michael

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