Ukraine: war-torn, weary, and needing hope

Ukraine (SGA) — Editor’s Note: Although Ukraine’s national government and separatists agreed to a ceasefire and peace talks six weeks ago, Donetsk remains under siege. Lives remain on hold. With so much uncertainty, people are desperate for hope. Enter: the body of Christ in Ukraine. What follows is the latest report from Slavic Gospel Association on their response in Ukraine.

(Photo courtesy Slavic Gospel Association)

(Photo courtesy Slavic Gospel Association)

One of the key principles the Lord Jesus stressed to His disciples is that the world will know we are His followers by the love we exhibit toward one another. As the people of eastern Ukraine live day to day with their ongoing deep political, economic, and humanitarian crisis, the people of God are serving as the vanguard of His love and help. Through your support of SGA’s Crisis Evangelism Fund, tons of aid are on the move and are helping the churches to have tremendous ministry opportunities!

SGA’s Sergei Omelchenko and the staff of their Regional Ministry Center in Kiev have been working closely with Pastor Valery Antonyuk, president of the Ukrainian Baptist Union. Sergei reports that much is happening with key churches as the hubs for distribution:

Vehicles loaded with food have already been to the eastern regions, and we are planning to send more vehicles soon. One will head to a town in the Donetsk region (where heavy fighting has been raging despite an official ceasefire) and another to the Lugansk region. Right now, refugees in the cities of Zhitomir and Zaporozhye are asking for winter clothing, and the local believers are helping them with funds sent by SGA partners.

The onset of winter is a serious concern, and many families remain without electricity, water, and other essentials. Churches and SGA-sponsored Bible schools have been helping to house refugees and have provided mattresses, bed linens, and other materials. SGA is now looking into the provision of emergency heaters and other winter needs. As always, the churches and ministry teams will be well-equipped with Bibles and other evangelistic literature to share the Gospel with those seekers whose lives have been devastated by the conflict.

Because of the violence, many have been forced to flee the region, and the faithful pastors and church members who remain are in need of support during these difficult days. According to Sergei, the brothers who were forced to move their families to safety are doing their best to continue on with ministry despite being refugees themselves. One pastor is already working on becoming a church planter in the Kiev region, yet he hopes to be able to return to the east in the spring.

We thank all SGA partners who have helped make these outreaches possible, meeting people at the point of their deepest physical and spiritual need. Please continue to pray for all who have been affected, for the ministry plans and needed resources, and for lasting peace to return to Ukraine.