New territory for Ukraine, says SGA leader

(Photo cred: Ehsan Khakbaz H. via Flickr)

(Photo credit Ehsan Khakbaz H. via Flickr)

Ukraine (MNN) — If you’ve ever been through tragedy, you know the healing process is difficult and usually painful. Eric Mock of Slavic Gospel Association (SGA) says Ukraine is in the middle of a similar process as they enter the new territory of change.

Going into the weekend, the European Union (EU) and United States announced new sanctions being placed on Russia. The West has been gradually increasing economic pressure in an attempt to force Ukraine’s neighbor to withdraw its troops.

Whether or not the increased sanctions will make a difference is yet to be seen.

“More than judging where the future’s going to lead in this, I think we have to realize we are living today in a new paradigm,” says Mock. “Things won’t go back to normal; we have a completely new situation.

“I think we need to realize, from a ministry perspective, that we are ministering in a much different environment. [It’s] even a much different world, if you connect this to transformations that are happening in the Middle East.”

New territory for His glory

A map of the 2014 pro-Russian protests and unrest in Ukraine, by oblast. Severity of the unrest, at its peak, is indicated by the coloring. (Map cred: RGloucester via WikimediaCommons)

A map of the 2014 pro-Russian protests and unrest in Ukraine, by oblast. Severity of the unrest, at its peak, is indicated by the coloring.
(Map credit RGloucester via WikimediaCommons)

Fighting in eastern Ukraine has killed at least 3,000 people since April, when tensions grew especially fierce surrounding the pro-Russian separatists’ movement. Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians from separatist-controlled regions fled into central Ukraine, joining Crimean Tatar refugees who left their annexed homes in March.

Mock says Christian leaders in Ukraine are trying to view these trials as new opportunities to share the love and hope of Christ.

“God often brings very difficult trials into our lives to do amazing things for His glory,” Mock states. “We are praying that what we are seeing [in eastern Ukraine] is God allowing a trial to come–a very difficult trial–that He may raise up a new generation of faithful believers.”

Churches respond

Shortly after the crisis erupted in Ukraine several months ago, SGA created a Crisis Evangelism Fund. It’s a pool of financial support SGA uses to support church partners in Ukraine as they minister to physical and spiritual needs.

A pastor delivers items provided through SGA's Crisis Evangelism Fund.  (Photo cred: SGA)

A pastor delivers items provided through
SGA’s Crisis Evangelism Fund.
(Photo credit SGA)

Sometimes this takes shape in food deliveries; at other times, Christ’s love is shared through words spoken by an SGA-supported church worker. If you can help Ukrainian church workers share the much-needed hope of Christ, along with physical assistance, click here.

“We would love the help, because the need is so overwhelming and we almost can’t stay up with it,” states Mock.

Listen as Mock describes the effect evangelistic efforts are having in the full interview.