Originally published in Assist News Service
“Unstoppable” local churches in Ukraine and Russia are launching a large-scale humanitarian outreach across Ukraine as war erupts around them and many suffer.
Supported by US-based Slavic Gospel Association (SGA, www.sga.org), the church-driven emergency response will provide food, winter clothes, blankets and medicines for thousands of at-risk people, including orphans, abandoned children with special needs, the elderly, those uprooted by the conflict, and marginalized ethnic groups.
“While others are fleeing, local churches are engaging,” said Eric Mock, SGA’s vice president of ministry operations. “They’re bravely rushing to help those in need right now. They’re unstoppable in the face of this crisis.”
Local believers are also visiting orphanages and children’s homes, reassuring frightened and “forgotten” children, and sharing God’s love with them.
“These children are already full of brokenness,” Mock said. “Now they’re full of fear.”
Compassion knows no borders
Over decades, SGA has built strong partnerships with evangelical pastors and churches in both Ukraine and Russia — a ready-made relief force in emergencies.
Partnering with a network of more than 2 300 Ukrainian and Russian pastors — including 40-plus churches in eastern Ukraine where the fighting is most intense — the Illinois-based organisation expects to exceed the 175 000 meals already provided monthly, and the need is only growing.
The Gospel ministry’s “Winter Warmth” outreach provides shivering families with warm clothes, while its “family survival packs” — containing blankets, medicines and food — will be a lifesaver for those forced to flee their homes under fire.
“IDPs (internally displaced people) are already on the move,” Mock said. “In those regions of Russia where (IDPs) are heading, we’re supporting the local churches, so they can share the hope of the Gospel along with vital aid.”
Russian, Ukrainian churches ‘united by faith, family’
“There are Russian pastors in Ukraine, and Ukrainian pastors in Russia,” Mock said. “It’s impossible to separate them.”
Many families are interconnected, and pastors on both sides of the border talk to each other constantly.
“There’s great unity and a strong bond between the Russian and Ukrainian pastors and their churches,” said SGA’s president Michael Johnson. “It’s a picture of God’s perfect Kingdom versus man’s broken one.”
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