World Challenge’s Partners in Ukraine are sharing the gospel by following Jesus’ example of compassion.
In many communities, the local church is best equipped to step in and care for people. In small towns and villages, local pastors already know the people well. When an urgent need comes up, a well-prepared local church can be there to help.
In some countries across eastern Europe and central Asia, there is very little support for the most vulnerable populations. It is difficult for widows, single mothers and people with disabilities to support themselves in those cultures. Without aid or a consistent source of income, simply surviving day by day can be a challenge.
The Slavic Gospel Association (SGA) is one of World Challenge’s partners in eastern Europe and central Asia, where poverty can be a real barrier to the gospel. SGA works with pastors and local churches to provide food and other basic necessities to the people who need it most. That community-centered approach creates an opportunity to reach people in a life-changing way.
A Good Neighbor
A few months ago, a pastor in Ukraine was putting together packs of food to distribute to people in the village. He felt like God was guiding him to give one of those food packs to Galina, one of the local widows he’d worked with before.
Galina, who had lost her husband just two years earlier, was a Christian and a faithful member of her village’s church. She was overwhelmingly grateful for the gift of food. The pastor prayed with Galina, and he went on his way.
That same afternoon, as Galina was walking home from church, she stopped to say hello to a neighbor who was walking in the opposite direction.
As they talked, the neighbor admitted that she had run out of food entirely. She was hungry and had no way of getting anything to eat, so she was going to the market to beg for food as a last resort.
Galina immediately knew that God had recognized this woman’s urgent need. She told her neighbor that she had just received a gift of food, and she was more than happy to share.
A Place in the Community
Meeting people’s tangible needs is an incredibly powerful way to open the door to the gospel. After all, trust does not always come easily. Communities need local churches to demonstrate that they have the peoples’ best interest at heart.
One practical, impactful way for local churches to build that kind of trust is by sharing basic necessities with the most vulnerable members of the population. SGA is showing the communities where they work that they want nothing in return.
Over time, World Challenge’s partner can build trust as they meet peoples’ needs. As one of the local pastors who works with Slavic Gospel Association explained, “They see and feel our sincere attitude and desire to help through hard times. Almost in every home we visited, people would accept our offer to pray for them, and some sincerely responded with ‘Amen,’ which was very encouraging for us. We continue to invite people to come to the church and hope to see them soon.”
Thanks to the faithfulness of World Challenge’s partner, Galina’s neighbor and hundreds of others in similar circumstances have seen a tangible example of Jesus’ love and compassion.