The need - hope for the hopeless!

Boys in line

For many years SGA has been involved in children’s ministry in the countries of Ukraine, Moldova, Romania and the Central Asian republics. Support has been given to God’s people to help them reach out to some of the most vulnerable and desperately poor children in their respective communities. The need for that help continues and on a recent trip to Kazakhstan an urgent request was brought to our attention.

Since the fall of communism social problems in the former Soviet republics of Central Asia have remained acute. High levels of unemployment, staggering incidents of drug and alcohol abuse, the terrible evils of human trafficking, and the devastation caused by ethnic conflict have led to thousands of families being torn apart. Tragically, in such circumstances reports abound of children abandoned by parents and left to fend for themselves. Some continue to live in their homes suffering the fallout from a broken family environment. Others live on the streets at great risk to themselves. It is clear that without education and adult supervision the future for these children looks bleak.

As God’s people prayed about these distressing problems a vision was born - to bring hope into hopeless situations, through the provision of ‘Hope Centres’.

Romanian Little Girl
Giving Hope 4
Boys in Line 2
Madina

The vision - bringing life and giving hope

The vision to provide such ‘Hope Centres’ will be realized through working in partnership with local evangelical churches, to create a secure Gospel-based environment in which believers will minister to neglected children and teenagers.

Each centre will address children’s immediate physical needs and offer a comfortable place where those at risk can stay, eat a nutritious meal and receive practical help. If necessary, centres will also provide overnight accommodation and function as emergency hostels. The hope is to provide more than mere short-term immediate care. Workers will help the children and young people with their education, and work with parents in a programme designed to prevent escalating problems. It is envisaged that each centre will be able to care for 35 children and work with approximately 30 broken families.

The project includes ministering to the spiritual needs of all who come into contact with the centres. Only the Gospel brings about lasting change and offers real hope. Therefore, using appropriate material, including some from the International Correspondence School, children, teenagers and parents are taught the Gospel. We praise God for lives which have already been transformed through this ministry.

At present our partners in Central Asia are developing Hope Centres in 6 places within Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The churches in these countries have faced growing restrictions from their respective governments and they know that any work for Christ is constantly at risk. However, despite the opposition the Lord has blessed this ministry and answered the prayers of His people. Churches report that because of this ministry people are more open to them and some have been converted by the grace of God. The testimony below is one example of living hope found through this project.

Maxim

Maxim’s story

Maxim cannot remember why his father left, but he does remember seeing his mother drunk over and over again. He would beg his mother not to drink but she would never listen. Things got progressively worse as his mother neglected the family and sold everything they had to buy more drink.

One winter they were so desperate that Maxim and his brother started begging for bread. As he did so he remembered hearing about so-called ‘believers’ who might help people like him and his brother. After weeks of begging, and with circumstances getting more desperate, they decided to look for these ‘believers’. He remembers praying for the first time: “God, if you really exist, show us the house where people pray to you and where they help poor people like us.”

Mercifully, that simple prayer was answered. One night they decided to follow a group of people who were going into a building. They could not read the sign outside but they heard people singing inside the house. They slowly walked into the yard of the building and waited. There they were found, outside the church building, hungry, cold, and in an obvious state of neglect. From that moment on things dramatically changed.

Today Maxim and his brother are in a Hope Centre. Sadly their mother died but both boys are now registered for school and being cared for. Such love has had a powerful effect and Maxim has trusted in Jesus Christ as his Saviour. He is one example of the fruit of this new and important project.

Will you give hope to needy children in Central Asia?

Yes, I want to support the Hope Centres of Central Asia.

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