Slavic Gospel Association Inc. (SGA) is a mission which serves Bible-preaching churches in the lands of the former Soviet Union, now called the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) by helping equip national pastors and church planting missionaries reach their people with the Gospel.
'Slavic' is a synonym for ‘Slavonic’, “Slavic” applies to a number of nations in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Slavic nationalities are: Russians, Ukrainians, Belarussians, Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Serbians, Montenegroes, Bosnians, Croatians, Slovenians, Bulgarians and modern Macedonians.
To make a donation, contact the Melbourne office on (03) 9562 3434 or post to P.O. Box 396, Noble Park VIC 3174
News Update: 26 August 2014
Christian Camps Changing Lives in Central Asia!
"Sow with a view to righteousness; reap in accordance with kindness . . ." (Hosea 10:12)
In one of the Central Asian countries, almost 400 children attended this year's summer camp ministries. Half were attending for the first time and most were from unbelieving families . . .
"We are seeing fruit from this ministry and we thank God for His boundless mercy and love. We invited boys and girls from ages 6-15 to camp. The children are from large families who are unable to afford the more expensive camps run elsewhere. Seven days is a very brief session, but we could see the children changing in their behavior even in that limited time. Generally, the boys and girls swear profusely and it is completely accepted in their circle of friends. But in the atmosphere of a Christian camp, they began to think about their behavior. Many of the children told us they have started to watch what they say. They look at the lives and behavior of the camp staff, and compare with their situations at home. We had the opportunity to pray together with them, and to tell them that God loves them and will never leave them."
Two young boys were eager to write about their camp experiences. In reading their brief notes, you can get a glimpse of why these few days of being exposed to the love of God matter so much . . .
"My name is Bogdan and I am 11 years old. I live with my mama and grandmother. My papa is not here, but I do have a stepfather. I came to the camp for the first time along with my friend. I had never been to camp before. I thought the camp would be great, but it was even better than I expected! The camp influenced my life. Before I had used bad words, but from the first day I stopped using them. I learned how to pray and how to praise God. I liked the leaders; they were very happy and kind. I hope that many more children will learn about this camp and will be able to come."
Another boy, 12-year-old Artyom, also said that he will remember his time with believers at the camp . . .
"I attended this camp for the first time and I really liked it. There were interesting lessons about obeying your parents and about overcoming bad habits. There were games, and I also liked how friendly my team was. Thank you for inviting me to this camp. I really enjoyed it and would like to come again."
The church overseeing this camp ministry sends heartfelt thanks to SGA partners who helped make it possible.
We praise God that they were able to hold the sessions without the problems or obstacles from authorities that have arisen several times in other locations. Please pray for the children. May the Gospel seeds planted take root and grow into a saving relationship with Christ!
News Update: 31 July 2014
The news from Ukraine in the past several months has largely been very grim, with violent conflict continuing in the eastern part of the country and ongoing political turmoil. But not all is grim, and in some locations, the brightest of lights is shining brightly. Even behind the walls of a dank, dark prison.
SGA-sponsored missionary pastor Vladimir Solodukhin labors in Ukraine’s Chernovitsky region. For 25 years, he has conducted fruitful prison outreach in addition to leading his own congregation, and participating in ministry with 16 other evangelical churches in his locale. At the end of 2013, Vladimir had up to 200 prisoners coming to worship services in the prison, and earlier this year, reported that six more prisoners had been baptized.
"We have very difficult times in our country right now, but God’s people pray and do not lose heart! We are allowed to hold regular services in the prison, and many more are attending these services now. The prison administration is pleased with our ministry, and once even government officials interviewed the inmates in the prison church, and extended best wishes to them to eventually return to their homes."
In addition to his prison ministry, Vladimir also visits neighboring villages to preach the Gospel. In one of the villages, there had been no known believers prior to his visit, but now two families have come to repentance—five people in all. According to Vladimir, some of the families are enduring great pressure from their extended families. One couple that had received Christ was rejected by their own children due to their repentance, and both families have faced significant aggressive behavior from others in the village. Vladimir asks that we remember these families in prayer, and sends this special, thankful greeting...
"We are very thankful to you for your prayers and financial support of our ministry to the Lord. It is a great blessing for us. May our Heavenly Father shed his abundant blessings upon you and provide for your every need!"
News Update: 29 July 2014
Igor Yaremchuk, one of the Baptist pastors supported by SGA and his team are looking after refugee families from Eastern Ukraine...
"We are doing fine. Thank you very much for all your help. The situation in Ukraine is still unstable, as you know the war in the Eastern part of Ukraine is continuing.
"Right now we have 7 refugee families whom we help with housing and living expenses in Kiev. We are supporting 15 adults and 18 kids (33 people). We also have more than 30 people staying in the seminary - so all together we are caring for 63 people.
"We are also supporting the Christian Refugee Camp near Kiev which is for Christians from Donetsk and Lugansk. Right now we have about 220 people at the Camp. 145 of them are kids of various ages, 15 fathers and 60 mothers - 6 of them pregnant. About 80% of them are Christians and 20% are non-believers. The cost for the camp works out to be $5 per person per day ($7,700 per week). I have attached pictures of the camp.
"The funds you sent will keep the refugee camp going until the middle of August. We would like to keep them through the summer until the end of August but for that we need more funds.
"Thank you again, please continue to pray for us. May our Lord Jesus Christ richly bless you, your families and your ministry.
In His Name,
If the Lord leads you to respond to Igor's request, you can donate
- by phone (03 9562 3434),
- email (email@example.com),
- post (PO Box 396, Noble Park VIC 3174) or
- direct deposit (call for banking details).
This is a practical way you can help brothers and sisters suffering in the crisis.
News Update: 21 July 2014
It was with deep sadness that we learned that Victor Oreshkin (29)
-- nephew of Peter Dubyna (SGA Aust Secretary of the Board) --
was on board Flight MH17 and has been confirmed as one of the 38 Australians killed in the incident over Ukraine.
Please pray for his parents, Serge and Vera Oreshkin, and their family. Victor was a committed Christian and his church in Sydney is also mourning their loss.
News Update: 18 July 2014
"Hear my prayer, Lord; let my cry for help come to you.
Do not hide your face from me when I am in distress.
Turn your ear to me; when I call, answer me quickly."
We are devastated to hear of the most recent disaster in Ukraine. Please join us as we continue to bring this ongoing situation before the Lord in prayer.
News Update: 15 July 2014
Only 20 children were expected at the Orel camp, but far more ended up coming! Pray that the Gospel seeds planted will take root and grow!
The Russian city of Orel is rich with history— created by Tsar Ivan the Terrible in the 1500s as a fortress. But this summer, Orel became a fortress of a different kind for local orphans and needy children—a fortress for love and truth.
The SGA-sponsored Orphans Reborn team back in June organized a huge celebration for the children. Team member Lena Lastochkina wrote to tell us that they had expected a small event, but God had other plans . . .
"We have been utilizing a kindergarten building, and had to make arrangements so that our Orphans Reborn children and our church group that sponsors the summer camp could use an inflatable slide and trampoline on the grounds.
"Our program began, and at first, the children took turns jumping on the trampoline, then they slid down the slide. They took photographs, played games, and we ended the program with an evangelistic puppet show. In addition to our children, others from nearby houses came and we had a total of 150 people present.
"The celebration we planned for our 20 children in the village ended up as a celebration for 150! The event ended up as an evangelism opportunity. I think that all of the children will remember this day their entire lives!"
According to Lena, the Orel Orphans Reborn team is involved in another important ministry to help young men and women who have graduated from the orphanage and are now on their own. There are two girls named Angela and Oksana plus another 2 girls and a boy who have graduated from the boarding school. Lena asks that we pray for these youths as the church ministers to them . . .
"They are not attending church yet. They do not eat well because they can’t cook. They aren’t taught this at the boarding schools. Before they totally destroy their stomachs, I offered to teach them how to cook at our church. I asked some of the sisters at the church who prepare very delicious meals if they could teach the orphans some cooking lessons.
"They put together some very simple recipes made from inexpensive products. While not all of the graduates came this time, I think that those who did are now discussing this with the others and, perhaps, the rest will wish to join us!
"I was happy that the graduates who came were able to conquer their fear and come to the church. They really enjoyed it. I hope that they will see how essential it is to be able to prepare tasty, healthy food and that they will get used to coming to the church, where they will keep hearing the Gospel and about how much God loves them. Angela even brought her little girl!"
Please pray for the Orel Orphans Reborn team as they continue to demonstrate the love of Christ to many lonely, forgotten orphan children. We are also praying for those who have graduated, that they might come to know Jesus as Savior and Lord.
Many graduates across Russia and her neighboring countries have been gloriously saved, and some are now active members of Orphans Reborn teams themselves. None of this could happen without you—SGA’s faithful partners!
News Update: 02 July 2014
But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’ because everywhere I send you, you shall go, and all that I command you, you shall speak (Jeremiah 1:7).”
It has been wonderful to observe over the past several years how God is using church youth across Russia under the leadership of Pastor Eugene Bakhmutsky, Pastor Vlad Treskin, and many other local youth leaders. We have also received tremendous reports from Belarus and Ukraine, where teenagers and young adults are helping to revitalize the outreaches of local congregations.
Recently, Pastor Vladimir Savich reported from Ukraine’s Volyn region, where his church youth are teaching Sunday school, preaching, evangelizing, and ministering to the elderly . . .
"Our youth ministry is very important, as teenagers and youth will be our replacements in ministry until the Lord comes again. We praise God that we have new teachers and youth leaders, who started their walk with God in childhood at our church Sunday school. We have a new youth leader named Alexander. Despite his young age, he is a good and wise brother. The youth love him as he is able to help and minister to them in their individual circumstances.
"Every Saturday, the youth gather for Bible study and then evangelism in the village. This past autumn, they helped elderly people work in their gardens and chop wood for the winter. In addition, they made long distance trips to other churches to serve them and conduct evangelism. God blessed their labors as there were people who came forward to repent in the church. While the young children are in Sunday school classes, I work with our young brothers, teaching them to preach."
What a tremendous example of the power of God to change lives for eternity, and using young believers to make a difference for His glory. Your prayers and support for SGA's youth ministries helps make it all possible. Thank you!
News Update: 23 June 2014
To think that only less than 30 years ago, Ukraine was governed by atheistic communism! Yet today, members of parliament are gathering for prayer. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised (Psalm 96:4).
This brief report was sent to us through Ukrainian church leaders who have first-hand knowledge of the events.
"On Wednesday, June 11, members of the Ukrainian parliament and international guests gathered for the Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast that—Lord willing— will now become a tradition. While in eastern Ukraine, shooting and violence continued as police troops battled separatists, the capital of Kiev saw politicians and government leaders humbling themselves in prayer to God for peace. It was a unique gathering where politicians representing different parties could put aside their differences and unite in the spirit of the Lord Jesus.
The Prayer Breakfast was a historic event, not only because it took place during historic times, but also because we are now prayerfully witnessing the formation of a new Ukraine—a Ukraine with rule of law, true democracy, and Christian principles. National Prayer Breakfasts are long-standing tradition in the United States, Germany, and European countries. These nations sent delegates to support Ukraine in its struggled for closer ties with the European Union."
In Ukraine, believers across the country are interceding in prayer for their nation, as their parliament makes history and begins holding prayer breakfasts across party lines.
The Prayer Breakfast took place under the auspices of parliamentary speaker Alexander Turchynov, who also briefly served as acting president until Petro Poroshenko’s inauguration June 7. Brother Alexander is a preacher in one of Kiev’s Baptist churches. The leaders of other churches also participated at this Prayer Gathering. They read Scripture, preached the Word of God, and talked about Jesus’ principles of peace. They urged the participants not to look for help in people or in political figures, but come instead to the Lord Jesus, who is . . . the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6).
"During the last 10 months, our nation has undergone many trials, shed lots of tears, and lost many innocent lives. Such suffering has united us and made us turn to God for help and redemption. A small group of parliament members meets regularly to read the Bible and pray. This is an incredible phenomenon, especially in a building that still has some communist symbols, and where not so long ago, laws were passed to promote atheism and suppress Christianity.
Times have changed, but we still have other challenges. Only God is capable of stopping the bloodshed and giving peace. Today more than ever, we need your prayers and the attention of the world community. We ask you earnestly to keep praying for Ukraine."
Please join the SGA family in regular intercession for our brothers and sisters in Ukraine. You can also give financially to help evangelical churches help those in crisis and reach their people with Christ’s love in these troubled times.
News Update: 18 June 2014
Ukrainian Pastor Threatened at Checkpoint, Another One Killed
A Ukrainian pastor and his son were near a separatist checkpoint in eastern Ukraine. They reported being abruptly stopped with automatic weapons at their backs. One of the men held a revolver next to the ear of the father, and slowly reloaded the chamber, whispering, “I am paid to kill… Ukrainian, Kazakh, whoever, it doesn't matter to me.”
Praise God, they were allowed to pass. "I have peace in my heart in Christ, but my legs are still shaking.” said his son when they got home. The pastor's wife related that while they were away, she had been sleeping in the basement, listening to gun and mortar fire all night long. He is one of the pastors supported by SGA.
In a separate incident, Pastor Sergey Skorobagach, who chaired the Council of Churches in Mariupol, was killed during terrorist attacks on the border on June 14. “Sergiy Petrovich devoted his life to caring for orphans and this fatal journey was a ministry trip. There had never been any political or ideological reasons on his part,” said the parishioners of his church.
Ministering to those who are suffering in the crisis, pastors are putting themselves at risk, following the ways of our Lord who said, "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." (John 10:11-12)
News Update: 11 June 2014
According to news agency, RIA Novosti, 200 children from Slavyansk have been evacuated to Russia’s Crimea. The children, aged between 8 and 16, are being housed in various summer camps on the peninsula.
Here is what some of the children had to say:
“The city often comes under mortar shelling. People get hurt as a result. A mortar shell splinter the size of a walnut hit my grandpa’s leg and pierced the bone. If it went a little deeper, it could hit an artery, and that would be it for him,” one of the evacuees, Vladislav, said.
“I was very scared. There were explosions. My dad just celebrated his birthday and he was woken by the sound of shelling on that day. I’m very glad I’m here now. It’s calm here,” said Darya, a girl in her early teens.
“What was frightening is when a shell flew by your window or you heard shots fired nearby. That’s what frightening,” said a boy called Artyom.
Please continue to uphold our Christian brothers and sisters in prayer at this time as they minister to traumatised children on both sides of the border.
News Update: 05 June 2014
This Saturday has been officially set for the inauguration of Petro Poroshenko as Ukraine’s new president. Mr. Poroshenko won the presidency in a special election held on May 25. The event will reportedly take place at Kiev’s central “Maidan” Square—the scene of the massive protests that eventually ousted the government of former president Viktor Yanukovich.
Since the election, we have been heartbroken to see the continuing violence in eastern Ukraine. In the past week, separatist militants tried to seize a major airport in the city of Donetsk, and shot down a Ukrainian military helicopter—killing 14 Ukrainian servicemen. Ukraine security forces regained control of the airport, but violence continued with militant attacks on Ukrainian border guards.
Russia has asked the U.N. Security Council to meet and call for an immediate end to the violence, plus “creation of humanitarian corridors in eastern Ukraine.” The acting Kiev government says the military offensives are aimed at “combatting terrorists,” and Mr. Poroshenko has stated his support as the government fights to regain control.
With their country’s future uncertain, many Ukrainian families are seeking answers, and need the hope of the Gospel.
While the Ukraine crisis is not dominating the headlines as it did initially, these ongoing developments underscore the ongoing importance of helping Ukrainian evangelical churches respond to their hurting nation with the love of Christ. The violence has created a significant number of refugees, including Tatars from Crimea and other families displaced from the east.
Through the Ukraine Crisis Fund, SGA partners can help our Ukrainian brothers and sisters respond effectively to the many needs that exist—from food aid to sending special crisis response teams from the churches to the conflict zones.
Please continue to pray for the churches as they share the hope of the Gospel, and walk in the example of the Lord Jesus who said . . . 'Blessed are the peacemakers' (Matthew 5:9).
News Update: 04 June 2014
We recently received a wonderful report from Irina Orlova and the SGA-sponsored orphans ministry in St. Petersburg, Russia. Irina reports that the team is having a powerful influence at a local special needs school . . .
“There are a lot of new kids at the school and the atmosphere is good. About 15-16 kids come to the Bible lessons. They listen attentively, really remember things, and participate in the discussion. One boy attends all of the lessons and listens attentively. It appears as if he is very close to receiving the Lord into his heart, and we can see that he is changing for the better.
“And it’s not only the children. Once after the lessons, Valery (the academic director), came up to us. He sat across from us, looked at us very seriously, and said, ‘With God’s help, I quit smoking! Yes, it was only with God’s help.’ He repeated it. Hearing this sort of thing come from Valery was—for us—a miracle from God! Before, he always impressed on people his strong will and strong personality. A boy was sitting next to him, and he spoke up to say that he had also quit smoking, and that it was only with God’s help. We are so thankful to the Lord for this! Valery says that the issue of smoking at school was very grave, and that a lot of people want to quit!”
Please keep Irina, her team and the children who are hearing the Gospel in your prayers. May many come to saving faith in Christ!
News Update: 03 June 2014
SGA Australia has joined Facebook! So if you are on Facebook, why not 'like' Slavic Gospel Association and receive our regular updates? You can view the page anytime by going to www.facebook.com/SGAAUST.
In other news....
The leader of a Baptist congregation in Semei in East Kazakhstan Region, which chooses to meet for worship without state permission, began a ten-day prison term on 27 May.
Viktor Kandyba had refused to pay a fine handed down in 2013 for leading the church. Prosecutor's Office official Bolzhan Botbayev, who brought both cases to court, struggled to explain why Kandyba has the right to gather friends to drink vodka or watch football on television but not to meet for worship.
"The law says they must have registration before they are allowed to meet," he insisted to Forum 18. Kandyba is the eighth known Baptist to be given a short-term prison sentence in 2014 for refusing to pay fines for exercising the right to freedom of religion or belief.
"I can't agree that these imprisonments are a violation of human rights," Rustam Kypshakbayev of the government's Ombudsperson's Office for Human Rights told Forum 18. Those who lead unregistered religious communities will face up to 60 days' imprisonment if the new Criminal Code now in the Senate is adopted in current form.
(excerpt taken from Forum 18 News Service - www.forum18.org)
News Update: 02 June 2014
Since the crisis in Ukraine broke out late last year, the eastern half of the country has been a center of turmoil and even bloodshed as separatists loyal to Russia battle for separation from Kiev. Regardless of the tensions, the faithful missionary pastors and churches we serve are undaunted, and their demonstration of Christ’s love is making a difference for His glory.
The region of Donetsk is one of the hot zones where conflict has raged. An SGA-sponsored missionary pastor named Alexander recently shared an example of how his church’s Bible-based drug rehabilitation ministry is gaining the support of local authorities. It all began with flowers!
"In our rehabilitation center, we built a greenhouse to help fund part of our ministry. On March 8, Ukraine observed 'Women’s Day,' where the tradition is for men to congratulate their wives, mothers, daughters, etc. and give them flowers. We had grown 25,000 tulips by the holiday time, and the Lord helped us to sell them. The mayor of our town even invited me to see him twice, and he allows us the free use of a building to shelter and feed homeless people.
Now the town administration is preparing documentation to give this building to our church, and then we will finalize the rest of our ministry plans. Men who have been through our rehabilitation ministry and are now brothers in the Lord will serve these homeless people and addicts. We believe that this will be a strong testimony in our region!"
Please pray for Alexander and his ministry, and the many other churches in the midst of the worst conflict zones. May many hear and believe the message of Christ . . . So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed (John 8:36).
News Update: 23 May 2014
Reports are continuing to come in on the escalating tension in Ukraine. Pastors and missionaries are asking for support as they reach out to people struggling with unemployment, rising food and medical costs.
"This is an opportunity to minister to the hurting in the love of Jesus. Ukraine is at a critical point and we realize that only God can prevent more bloodshed. Please pray that violence will cease, and a solution through negotiation and reconciliation will result" (President of Baptist Union, Ukraine)
SGA has established a 'Ukraine Emergency Fund' to help provide both physical support (food, clothing, medicines, etc) as well as spiritual support through the printing and distribution of God's Word.