U.S. organization supplies ‘survival kits’ to brave pastors, churches shining ‘light of life’ amid war
LOVES PARK, Ill. — Courageous pastors, some wearing bulletproof vests, are risking everything to deliver life-saving aid to desperate people living near the frontline of the war in Ukraine.
“Jesus used to go where there was pain, where it was difficult, where people needed him,” said armor-wearing Pastor Vlad, as he and church members distributed food and other vital supplies to residents of a heavily shelled town in eastern Ukraine, gunfire echoing around them. “Today, we’re going where Jesus would go.”
Watch Pastor Vlad here.
“They’re fearless; they’re ducking artillery fire; they’re undeterred, sharing the Gospel, and providing a unique ministry,” said
Eric Mock, vice president of Slavic Gospel Association (SGA, www.sga.org), an Illinois-based mission that supports more than 100 “frontline pastors” like Pastor Vlad in Ukraine.
“These frontline pastors are the first responders,” Mock said, “and as the assault continues, they’re ministering to the unseen wounds of war, and to desperate people who’ve nowhere else to turn.”
Some courageous church leaders have died serving in the war zone, where entire towns have been reduced to rubble, said Mock, a frequent visitor to Ukraine and Russia, where SGA has supported a network of thousands of local evangelical churches and pastors for decades.
“These pastors and other church leaders are the ones who stay in the struggle, literally on the frontline,” he said. “Some are chaplains ministering to guys who may die the next day.”
‘Survival Kits’ On The Way
SGA aims to supply 100 “survival kits” to frontline pastors and churches in Ukraine in the coming weeks — kits that contain solar-powered units so people can charge their phones, connect to a Wi-Fi hotspot, and power emergency LED lights.
“Their sense of loneliness and disconnection is very real,” Mock said. “These kits will be their connectivity to the world, showing them they still matter, that they haven’t been forgotten.”
For many Ukrainians taking refuge in local churches, the emergency lighting will enable them to read the Bible together as they pray for protection from missile and drone attacks.
“For them, light is life,” said Mock. “They’re looking to the Bible for answers; they’re looking to God for hope.”
The first 20 kits, costing roughly $1,000 each, will be shipped by truck from Chelm, Poland, in the next few days, with some 80 more to follow, Mock said.
The project reinforces SGA’s “Winter Heat and Hope” campaign that has provided hundreds of wood-burning stoves, power generators, and 5,000 warm blankets to local churches acting as “centers of heat and hope” across Ukraine.
“We’ve had an incredible response from our donors across the U.S.,” said the organization’s president, Michael Johnson. “American Christians are eager to know how they can help families and children suffering in Ukraine right now.”
Founded in 1934, Slavic Gospel Association (SGA, www.sga.org) helps “forgotten” orphans, widows and families in Ukraine, Russia, the former Soviet countries of Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and Russian-speaking immigrants in Israel – caring for their physical needs and sharing the life-transforming Gospel. SGA supports an extensive grassroots network of local evangelical missionary pastors and churches in cities and rural villages across this vast region.
PHOTO CUTLINE: BODY ARMOR-WEARING UKRAINE PASTORS RISK ALL TO HELP: Armor-wearing Pastor Vlad and other “frontline pastors” are delivering food and vital supplies to desperate people living near the frontline of the war in Ukraine. Illinois-based Slavic Gospel Association (SGA, www.sga.org) is supporting frontline pastors and local churches with its new “survival kits” project.