New ‘Encountering Hope’ podcast series promises ‘morning walk, drive to work will never be the same’
LOVES PARK, Ill. — A one-of-a-kind podcast featuring inspiring stories from Ukraine, Russia, former Soviet countries and Israel will give Americans the hope they’re looking for, its producers say.
“They’re stories of real-life heartache and extraordinary hope that will touch people’s lives here in the U.S. and bring them hope when it’s needed most right now,” Johnson said. “Everyone is looking for hope.”
According to a Pew Research Center poll in April, most Americans are in a pessimistic mood and take a dim view of the future, with two-thirds saying they lack confidence in the U.S. economy going forward.
Encountering Hope, Gripping Stories
“Encountering Hope – The Podcast” tells “incredibly gripping” stories of suffering, hardships, and remarkable hope direct from the Ukraine war’s frontline and the former Soviet Union, a region that’s often perplexing to Americans.
“Your morning walk or drive to work will never be the same again,” Johnson said. “We bring the real struggles of everyday people — and the hope and life-change that Christ brings — to our audience in a conversational and personal way we can all relate to. Stories are woven with scriptural truths in a devotional style that applies to all our lives, and we believe God will use them to change our hearts, too.”
The podcast — playable on phones and other electronic devices — brings listeners “real life, real people” devotionals from the far reaches of Russia’s frozen Arctic Circle, the former Soviet countries of Central Asia, Israel, and Ukraine’s frontline.
Infusion of Hope
The idea for the hope-infused podcast series came during the pandemic, when many people across the former Soviet Union lost their jobs, facing hunger, anxiety and hopelessness, said Johnson, a regular visitor to the region. Illinois-based SGA has been supporting local evangelical churches there for nearly 90 years, including during the communist era when churches were driven underground.
This network has grown to about 6,000 churches across the vast territory, stretching more than 6,000 miles, roughly equivalent of Seattle to Miami and back.
“Hundreds of incredible stories of perseverance amid suffering as well as inspiring hope have been pouring in from SGA-supported local missionary pastors on the ground,” Johnson said. “Our goal is to bless listeners with hope, strengthen their faith, and challenge them to draw closer to the heart of Christ, especially in these difficult times.”
Listen to the latest podcast at www.sga.org/podcast.
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: ENCOUNTERING HOPE: “Encountering Hope – The Podcast” tells “incredibly gripping” stories of suffering, hardships, and remarkable hope direct from the Ukraine war’s frontline and the former Soviet Union. Listen to the latest podcast at www.sga.org/podcast.