Sponsorship News -
'And He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God . . .' (Luke 9:2)
Australian families and church groups
are sponsoring local pastors in the CIS
You can too!
SGA connects Australian Christians with Slavic church-planting missionaries, and helps to send them out to targeted regions where they live, work and proclaim the Gospel.
They have a tremendous advantage because they already know the language, culture and history of their people.
Sponsors receive their sponsored pastor's name, location and background information. SGA helps facilitate communication between the missionary and sponsors, so that all may rejoice in what God is doing across the former Soviet Union.
The backgrounds of the missionaries are varied, and their dedication is such that many of them are ministering in three to five locations simultaneously. A significant number also have ministries to prison inmates, drug addicts and orphan children. Many former prisoners who have been gloriously saved have moved on to become church-planters themselves.
If you’d like to find out how you can sponsor a faithful missionary pastor in Russia or her neighboring countries, contact our office.
21 June 2018
Woman in Black Robe Intercepted by Pastor
Her only child gone, she had lost all hope
I want to share a story about a woman I encountered. It was when I went to the House of Prayer (church) to drop my daughter off at choir rehearsal.
There I saw a woman, about the age of forty, dressed in a black robe and near the church. Grief was visible on her face. As I later learned, she had just been to see a fortuneteller. I stopped and greeted her, saying, “I see you have a great sorrow...” She cried and said that she had recently buried her 4-year-old daughter, her only child, who had died suddenly. She confessed that she wanted to commit suicide and this desire wouldn’t leave her.
For about an hour I talked with her, revealing to her from the Scriptures who gives her such thoughts and desires and where she’ll go if she does it. I gave her the address of the church of Dnieper, as she lives there, and I pray to God that He will save her, her name is Elena. I also ask you to support her in prayer that God will save this poor soul.
8 June 2018
Pastor Takes in "Wild Cat" Child
Zafir, Alexei, Maria and Aabid
are being sheltered and fed
“At first he behaved like a little wolf or wild cat - snapping and yelling and storming all the time,” said Misha Y*, one of our supported pastors in Central Asia. “He would beat me, as a boxer beats his punch-bag. I believe he wanted to vent out his anger against the grown-ups who have hurt him.”
This little boy, Zafir, was taken into Misha and Anastasia’s household last September after two months on his own. The missionary-pastor and his wife have been housing and feeding desperate children for years, as an act of Christian love. They found Zafir especially traumatised and angry... “I had a hard time dealing with the boy. One time, all I could do was hold him in my arms and walk up and down the house; talking and calming him down. When we visited churches in distant villages, Zafir would stick with me all the time. Even when I was up the front preaching, he continued clinging to my leg!” Thankfully, persistant loving-kindness has helped Zafir lower his guard. “He’s now less arrogant; fights much less; and we can find common ground with many things. He’s started to accept my leaving the house for ministry visits; he trusts me more and shows affection.”
Zafir was snapping, yelling
and beating adults with his fists
It’s just as well, for Zafir's behaviour was upsetting the other five foster-children, who all have their own issues. Kabira was given up by her alcoholic grandmother, she is “well-behind” at school and refuses to study. Maria is one of four children left behind when their mother ran off with another man. She also refuses to study and now Qadri, who’s single father was forced to live on the streets, is stuttering and doesn’t want to go to school, either. Young Alexei struggles with bed-wetting and Aabid has a speech impediment. “The children are fighting each other. I often hear them scold and curse. As I said, the children are very troubled; however, we see positive dynamics, though quite small. Please support us in prayer for our children, for their future life.”
Added to all this is the ongoing strain of religious persecution. “Recently, we had to suspend our meetings for native Uzbeks. Our brother in Christ, Yaasir was arrested. They released him, yet he is still under investigation and a trial is coming soon. Many Christians are now living in fear. We need urgent prayer.”
Misha and Anastasia are not wealthy, yet they’re sharing what they have with children and youths in desperate need. Misha is also a missionary-pastor in a Muslim-dominated country and he needs our prayer support. His role includes visiting isolated believers, running children’s camps and pastoring his home church. SGA is seeking regular sponsors for this family. If the Lord places this need on your heart, please contact our office for more information.
23 April 2018
Bring Them In!
Outreach Expanding in Chechnya
Outreach Expanding in Chechnya
The congregation in Grozny has grown
(Ruvim is in the back row, third from left).
“My ministry is changing before my very eyes!” says Pastor Ruvim. “Our team has grown. Some converted Gypsy men have joined our construction team, and new ladies are helping Tatiana at the school. Last July, a family moved to our area and joined the ministry, now they help do everything I didn’t have time for. Even still, there is more to be done!”
Ruvim Voloshin is one of SGA’s sponsored-pastors in the former Soviet Union. He lives in the Chechen Republic, a war-torn state subject to the Russian Federation. While supporting his family through paid employment as a psychologist, Ruvim pastors a church, operates humanitarian outreach and ministers to addicts. His wife, Tatiana, cares for autistic children at the school.
“When we started doing humanitarian work, we made a commitment to never turn down a request, even if we’d never done something before. And it has always turned out!” Just recently, church volunteers were removing fallen trees in a poor village when they were asked to fix a broken roof. They agreed.
“None of us knew how to fix a roof. I, myself, have held a hammer in my hands only once!” said Ruvim. “On Sunday, we prayed. On Monday a friend called to say he was coming for a visit. I asked him, do you know how to fix roofs, and he said ‘Yes, I am a roof specialist’! He came on Wednesday, and by Friday the work was done. The local villagers were so happy they invited us over and offered to pay us!” Ruvim said the villagers were surprised to see Christian love demonstrated, especially by Gypsies. “We stepped out in faith and the Lord sent specialists!!”
As the ministry expands in Chechnya, so does the congregation of believers. Building works are being done on a run down church building. “We were forbidden by authorities to hold meetings in our home. So we were forced buy back our House of Prayer from a man who had taken the documents and registered the property in his name. Praise the Lord for the financial support we received to accomplish this. Our church began by meeting on the street, then in our home, then in a basement, and now in an unfinished new room. On 3rd of September we held our first service in the building.”
Living conditions for most people in Chechnya are not very good. Pastor Ruvim has asked for prayer as his wife and children are struggling with living in a share-house. “They are very tired of the constant flow of renters. It’s like a merry-go-round. Every week, a new group. My little children are sleeping on the floor or with us on the bed.The older ones move from one room to another all the time to accommodate others. We obviously need a home. I ask you to pray that the Lord will send a solution to this problem or give us the strength to go through it. The condition of my household is reaching a critical state. So please pray , pray.”
Thank God for the growth in Ruvim’s ministry and please pray for better living arrangements. Sponsorship of Ruvim will allow him to dedicate more time to missionary work.
22 January 2018
20 Year Old Church-Plant Gets Building
Nearing completion - Rostov House of Prayer
As the Lord continues His work across the CIS, fledgling church-plants are growing into established churches. Since 1998, a community of believers has been worshipping in Rostov, Russia, and after nearly 20 years of fellowship their new building is nearly complete... “Thanks to God’s guidance and the donations of church members, 5 years ago we bought a site for building a house of prayer,” said Pastor Pavel Berdnikov. Members of the church have contributed their own finances and labour to get the floor and walls up. And “over the past 2 months, the brothers - with God’s help - have gathered, installed and welded the frame for under the future roof,” he said.
For many years the Rostov believers were meeting in homes or renting halls while much of their finance went towards supporting a Christian rehabilitation centre nearby. “There was no lighting or water; now there’s a transformer and a well. But most importantly, there are people that have been liberated in Christ who gave them new life. Some of them have already become members of our church. Just last October, we had a joyful event in our church as two sisters undertook baptism and joined the Church of Christ!”
The small church-plant has been growing
These days the congregation - which numbers around 100 - is meeting in the basement until the work is done. “The participation of brothers and sisters in building a house of prayer together has been very encouraging and unifying,” Pavel said. “When we started the construction of the house of prayer, we realised the difficulties ahead. But we also believed in the guidance of the Holy Spirit - knowing that God’s children, called to help one another, would support the building of a place where God’s Name would be glorified and His Gospel would be proclaimed.”
Glory to God for giving this generous community a property from which to proclaim what Christ has done! We are so happy to see former church-planting ministries develop into permanent places of worship.
10 August 2017
Tajik Pastor’s Response to Islamic Growth
A Tajik mosque is flooded with devout Islamic followers
In Tajikistan, Protestant Christians make up less than 0.2% of the population. They are overwhelmingly outnumbered by Muslims (96.7%) and the small amount of Christians there are mostly Orthodox. Consequently there are very few evangelists “to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God.” (Acts 26:18)
But God is powerful and can bring any searching heart into a knowledge of the truth. So it is with this zealous convert and evangelist...
Imran* once was a passionate, fundamentalist Muslim. He had the gift of a good voice and used his talents to serve at the mosque – singing out from the minarets. He was a diligent student of the Quran and prayed regularly for the success of global jihad.
But great doubts came into his heart, and he resolved to search for answers. His desire for truth instead of the ‘comfortable fables’ ultimately lead him to “the Way and the Truth and the Life” (John 14:6) and to a personal faith in Jesus Christ. Imran was baptised in 2007 and now passionately shares his testimony with others.
Today, there are about 40 Christians in the underground church which was formed under the leadership of Pastor Imran. About 95% of them converted from Islam, and a few are children of converts. Imran plays the guitar, sings and continues to share his faith despite the danger of being persecuted.
However, Tajikistan was not always so devoutly Muslim. Fifteen years ago, most Muslims were nominal and had little interest in the Quran. But now, Imams are becomming bolder and teach the Quran assertively in the mosques. Imran’s response is to match boldness with boldness, present sound exposition of the Bible and constant personal evangelism!
Pray for the underground church in Tajikistan, for their safety, steadfastness and effectiveness. SGA is able to transfer financial gifts to Bible-believing churches in Tajikistan and other Central Asian countries. Your ongoing support is vital. (* names changed for security).
03 July 2017
Thieves, Alcoholics, Drug Addicts
Now Reading Bibles!
Now Reading Bibles!
Pastors visit rehab clinics to offer spiritual help
It’s difficult to imagine life as a Christian missionary working the field in a poor Muslim country. This recent report from a dedicated individual in Kazakhstan reveals the challenges and rewards of such a life. He has a special message of thanks to all Australian brothers and sisters that have generously contributed to his ministry through SGA. As you will see, the provision of some funding has helped this pastor to reach many diverse people with the Good News of Christ...
“Firstly, I would like to thank the SGA supporters for your help in our ministry. We are very grateful to you for supporting us over the last several years, as we help people in need. The people we help include poor families, often with many children, in the eastern part of Kazakhstan.
“There are also homeless people – often sick or disabled - who lack official papers and are therefore unqualified for government support. There are some that are ill with tuberculosis or infected with HIV, and some have just been released from prison. There are many drug addicts and alcoholics among the homeless, but some are now seeing a light at the end of the tunnel! Thanks to the finances donated to us by Australian supporters through SGA over these past three or four years, so many children have received gifts, gone to Christian camps and attended church during the holidays! We have held a myriad of evangelistic activities!
Many miles travelled. Many people reached.
“There are not enough words to thank you for the car that you blessed us with. Thanks to your funds for the first car, we traveled so many miles in it and told so many people about Christ! God alone knows! We thank God that we have been able to sell it and purchase a new one, which you have helped to pay off. And we are very thankful to our brothers and sisters from Australia and we are always praying for you! Through this blessing we are again convinced that there are no borders or distances too far for our Heavenly Father.
“Recently, one brother asked me, ‘Has there been any fruit from your ministry?’ I was a bit embarrassed because everything God does through us has one goal - to bring the Gospel message to everyone who somehow crosses our path. I thought a moment, then answered him...
‘Theives are reading the Bible and drug addicts are seeking help from God through the church. People who have lost everything are finding God through the rehabilitation centers. Families with many children are reading the Word of God and those people who encounter us learn about Christ and begin to pray. I don’t know who among them have become members of the church, or whether they ever will, but we do what we do.’
“Often, we encounter open jealousy and negativity towards us on the part of other Christian brethren. They say, ‘How did he get a car for ministry?’ But, I understand they have no reason to envy me! I am always on the road having meetings and making acquaintances, sometimes I am in dangerous situations. Different people I meet are often aggressive. I am often in need, since I struggle to eat and support my wife.
SGA helped purchase a car in 2015
“Yes indeed, but I know one thing, that the Lord is always near and He has never left me without help. Although the ministry is intense and I am hardly ever home there are so many testimonies! And, there is such great joy and blessing when you understand that the Lord Himself is using you.”
This missionary-pastor is renting an apartment but desires to purchase a house and use it to conduct Bible studies and community outreach. He wants to evangelise without the confines of state law that apply to registered church buildings...
“I don’t know whether I can get my own house here, a House of Prayer to serve God’s will. There are houses which we could convert to include a kindergarten. People could come with their children and we could begin ministry among them. There is almost no entertainment for children in this place and even if there was, few could afford to utilise it. However, everything is expensive and it is humanly not possible for us.
“Nonetheless, we are praying and believe that nothing is impossible for God and standby, ready to work in God’s vineyard. We are praying He will provide a sponsor that wants to invest in this work... Until my last breath, I will serve only Him.”
28 June 2017
Village Church-Plant Starts at Funeral
Church groups routinely witness in remote villages
There are times in life where the Lord can turn a situation around and turn it into a blessing. So it was with the passing of a beloved Christian sister in Krasne, Ukraine.
Recently, SGA-sponsored pastor Stepan Nemesh wrote to supporters about a certain lady, who was going to host a Christian outreach in her village. Sadly, she died unexpectedly just two days before the event. Nevertheless, it was decided to go ahead with the meeting and incorporate her funeral.
“Many people came to this service and it was a truly blessed time of evangelism. The relatives and neighbours even asked us to return”, said Pastor Stepan. “Together with the churches of Dubove and Uglya, we held a Harvest Day celebration in the village.
"People attentively listened to the Word of God, thanked us, and since then, one young man has started attending worship services.”
Pastor Stepan and the churches in Dubove and Uglya are praying that the planted Word of God will grow in the hearts of the people in this little village where a faithful believer was laid to rest.
09 June 2017
Holy Spirit Convicts Man to Confess His Crime to Police
Missionary Alexander's car was destroyed by fire
Faithful evangelical believers across Russia and her neighboring countries encounter many different types of opposition. But God has the power to take the opposition of men and turn it into opportunity, as He vividly did in the life of a young man named Yevgeny. Missionary pastor Victor Bogushevich recently shared this wonderful testimony in a report to his SGA sponsors . . .
Alexander and Karina are a missionary couple sent out by our church. Alexander teaches school and is active in youth ministry. There are people in his village who are very negative about the teaching of God’s Word. One day, unknown people set Alexander’s car on fire, destroying the vehicle completely. Alexander went to the police to report it, but the authorities were indifferent. They took the report,but said that there would not be any way to find who had burned the car. In other words, they made it clear that they weren’t going to do anything about it.
Alexander kept visiting the station and pressing for investigation, but the local police just laughed and told him not to come back—they were tired of him. Alexander quietly replied, “All authorities are established by God, and if you do not want to seek the person who committed this crime, I am going to ask for help from the Most High Authority—Jesus Christ Himself. And if He wills, the person who did this will come to the police station and confess his crime!” The police burst into laughter again, and Alexander left.
About a month later, a young man named Yevgeny walked into the police station and wanted to make a confession. He was the one who had set Alexander’s car on fire. When the astonished police asked Yevgeny why he decided to confess his crime, he replied that he couldn’t understand what was going on with himself. He could not sleep at night, and even during the day did not feel at rest. All he could think about was the burning car and the nagging thought—“Go to the police and admit your crime!”
Yevgeny (second from left)
and Alexander (holding baby)
During the trial, Alexander told the court that he forgave Yevgeny and did not want any reimbursement for the car. That same night, Yevgeny came to Alexander’s home and asked why he had been forgiven, providing Alexander with a God-given opportunity. “Christ has forgiven me much more and He commanded me to forgive you!” On that same evening, Yevgeny repented and trusted in Christ as his Lord and Savior! In September of 2016, Yevgeny was baptised and shares his testimony as God provides opportunities.
Please pray for him, as well as for Alexander, Karina, and Victor, as they shine the light of the Gospel in a very dark corner of Siberia.
15 February 2017
Youth Help to Build "Church of Souls"
Not giving up...
the youth overcame discouragement and bad weather
Young believers in Belarus determinedly tackled the task of inviting locals to an evangelistic event at a rebuilt church in Dyatlovo - resulting in three converted souls.
The idea for an outreach began at the new building’s dedication... “Now that the reconstruction is finished, I want to concentrate all my efforts in building the church of souls”, announced Pastor Alexander. So Dima Podrez, an SGA-sponsored pastor in Minsk, offered to help organise an outreach event in the town, and Alexander agreed. After months of prayer, they set a date and commissioned the young people to distribute invitation cards to the public.
“When the youth gave invitations for an Evangelical meeting, many said they prefer to go to their Catholic church, as they don’t want to change their faith. Others said they wouldn’t come because of work.... but Praise the Lord, the youth didn’t pay attention to people’s reactions and kept going.
“Then, it started to rain, but the young people refused to go home and continued on, returning only at the very end of the day. They were tired and soaked, but their eyes were shining with joy! They were satisfied.”
On the day of the meeting, ten unbelievers arrived and were presented with orchestral music, poetry recitals and an invitation to repent...
“One man, who used to be a member of the church, broke the silence and prayed. He asked the Lord with a tremulous voice to forgive his sins and restore him”, says Dima. “Then a woman prayed a prayer of repentance after him... When the service was over, another woman expressed her desire to repent from her sins and pray!
"The repentance of these souls was the greatest joy for the Dyatlovo church and all of us that were involved in the outreach. Praise the Lord that his ‘hand is not short that it cannot save’ sinners!”
How wonderful it is that despite the enemy’s efforts, three precious hearts were won for the Lord.
10 January 2017
"God Loves You!"
Small Words Prompt Doctor in Yakutsk
Small Words Prompt Doctor in Yakutsk
Faithful Messenger, Peter
Peter had just come to faith when he moved to Yakutsk (17 years ago). He was not sure of the next step in his life and prayed hard for a job. God answered his prayers and opened the door for a maintenance position at a local hospital. Peter felt that the job was a gift of God, and he needed to give back. He chose each week to poke his head into each office and proclaim, "God loves you!" It took about a month for him to have blessed every doctor with these words. Slowly, they started coming to him and asking questions. He gained many Gospel opportunities - providing New Testaments and answering their questions.
This eventually led to a confrontation with his boss, who directed him to stop talking about Jesus or resign. He responded, "Even if I stop, the stones will cry out! I cannot stop preaching the Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 4:20). He chose to resign rather than be silent.
Two years later, he saw one of the doctors. The doctor with a big smile said, “Peter, it is good to see you. I am a child of God now!” Peter was stunned. The doctor went on to say that Peter's simple words “God loves you” stuck in his mind and he began to read the New Testament. Part of the way through his reading, he had believed in Christ and repented! Peter was overwhelmed with joy! Now, Peter’s passion is for ministry to the poor and suffering. He visits families with food and the Gospel. Pray for Peter and his ministry to the lost in and around Yakutsk – and be encouraged that simple people that share a simple message can participate in the saving work of the Lord!
24 November 2016
Missionaries in Snow-Forest
– Saved by a Miracle!
– Saved by a Miracle!
First Class Missionary Boat Cruise!
What an amazing journey to a desolate corner of the earth! Four Baptist pastors have just returned from a mission’s expedition to Russia’s freezing northern region.
“We visited twenty residents points along the way: four of these stops were to visit the believers and sixteen other stops were to preach the Gospel to people who don’t know Christ as Saviour”, says Pastor Victor – one of the intrepid travellers. “It was difficult to reach these remote places, even though the boat took us up the frozen river. Our engine often hit sunken bricks and flooded trees.”
It’s fantastic to hear of the miraculous way the Lord protected these faithful servants on this risky expedition in the Taiga (snow forest). On one occasion, the engine failed while they were in a remote place, two days’ walk from the nearest residence.
“These kinds of circumstances create special opportunities for knowing the closeness of the Lord. No communication, no help. It’s only God and you....”, said Victor. “We bowed before our God and brought our need to Him. After the prayer, we turned the key... and the engine started! We were so overwhelmed with joy towards our God that we cried, seeing His glory revealed!”
Pastor Victor and his companions felt their trip was helped by having a 24-hour prayer-roster organised to cover the entire 10-day period. Knowing they were being prayed for was such a comfort... “In such extreme circumstances, I learned first-hand the principle ‘Much Prayer, Much Power’. As I was preaching to unbelievers that wouldn’t think twice about killing a man, I started to realise my need for the power of the Holy Spirit.”
With a burden in his heart for the Chinese, Victor is now preparing to make another dangerous mission trip...“During the last ten years, the Lord has burdened my heart to pray for the Chinese. There are many believers but not many Bible teachers.” Victor would like to use his gifts to serve the persecuted church. “I was warned right away that it could very well be a one-way trip: there is a standing possibility of not coming back.”
How wonderful it is to see our Russian brothers and sisters now sending missionaries into other lands. Having been blessed, they now bless! Remember to pray for Victor. “I covet your prayers”, is all he asks.
02 November 2016
New Addition to Pastor Timur's Family!
Praise God for the Official Guardianship!
Good news! Little Nadia* in Uzbekistan has become an official part of Pastor Timur’s* household after calling him ‘Papa’ (and his wife, ‘Mama’) for long time! Pastor Timur is overjoyed at having this new “fosterling” officially placed under his care after all the rig moral of getting medical checks and certificates for good conduct.
This little girl is an 11 year old Tatar by birth. She was raised a Muslim by her former parents and grandmother from whom she has been removed. Pastor Timur is going to use this God-given opportunity to help Nadia overcome her “prejudices and the superstitions of Folk Islam”. He says, “With God’s help I hope to correct this state of things and implant genuine faith. She knows both Uzbek and Russian and eagerly comes to church with us.”
Pastor Timur has a heart for orphans and has others stay in his home for short terms as well. Meanwhile, he travels to churches and ministers to young and old. Four young adults were baptised last month and another four older people received Christ as their Saviour. This is encouraging news coming out of such an Islamic area. Evangelism in Uzbekistan is restricted but Timur is working hard to spread the Gospel. “Please pray for all of our ministry activities,” he asks. “Pray for my family and me!”
*Names have been changed
04 August 2016
From Prisoner to Prison Chaplain
Anton Nazotovic was given a copy of our magazine
Recently, two of our supporters visited Ukraine for a short, self-funded mission trip. They met Anton Nazorovic who shared his testimony with them. In 1974 Anton was studying engineering in Ukraine when he began suffering from kidney disease. There was no doctor where he was, so he felt he should pray. “God, if you exist and heal me, I will be your servant” he prayed. The kidney disease left him, but Anton forgot about his promise to God. After graduating he obtained work as chief engineer in a manufacturing plant.
One day a fire broke out and came very close to a gas tank which could explode. Suddenly Anton remembered his promise to serve God, so he prayed again and asked God to divert the fire. After this incident he went to a pastor and said “I want to serve God now, not later”. During this period of time Leonid Brezhnev was Secretary of the Communist Party, and it was a very difficult time for Christians. Anton said “I repented and was accepted by the church. My baptism took place in the dark of night - in winter! The river was frozen, but I was on fire for Jesus, and I literally jumped into the icy water.”
Because of his faith Anton was sentenced to 3 years in prison (1982 – 1985). “There were no Bibles but I remembered Bible verses which I had memorised. After I was released I returned to the factory and also continued in Christian ministry. Today in the Volyn region of Ukraine we have 17 chaplains going into 3 prisons” Anton said. “On Saturday mornings we have 15 to 22 prisoners attending our meetings and they receive gifts of clothing and Bibles. We call the prisoners to repentance and faith. Several prisoners who were baptised are now in Christian ministry. Victor is another young man who was also in prison and praise the Lord, he is now an evangelist.” Pray for Anton, Victor and other pastors as they reach out to inmates behind prison walls.