How did we begin?
1950 marked the formation of the first British Council, with work centred on the Slavic peoples of Eastern Europe who had become refugees in the displaced persons camps of Austria and other Western European countries.
At that time, SGA (UK) was mainly a relief organisation and mission vehicles were packed with food, clothing and other necessities, Bibles and Christian literature, and driven overland to camps in various locations.
From these camps, SGA developed its ministry in the former Communist controlled Eastern Bloc and engaged initially in a ministry of encouraging and assisting Slavic believers and the provision of Bibles. SGA workers faced many difficulties and dangers in making their way through the Iron Curtain. However, these were nothing compared to the suffering experienced by believers in those countries who remained true to Christ.
How did our work develop?
During the 1970s SGA (UK) began to develop a more focused ministry, by responding to specific requests from Eastern European church leaders. The major change was in response to the desire for Biblical leadership training and the equipping of national believers who were working among their own people. This programme began with small groups meeting secretly in homes or in forest and mountain locations away from the prying eyes of the secret police. Other believers heard about these Bible studies and invited SGA teams to their areas. By the late 1980s there were seven groups meeting across Romania in strategic places. Similar invitations came from other countries where believers longed for instruction in God’s Word.