A Year Of Celebration
What a blessing and encouragement it is to look back and take note of what the Lord has enabled us to do in His name. The 60th anniversary year of SGA UK was marked with many activities and achievements.
Biblical Leadership Training
The training of nationals continues to be the main focus of SGA’s ministry, with 400 students attending the Biblical Leadership Training courses in 8 different countries. Many of these former and current students have tremendous opportunities to reach out with the Gospel. However, with meagre resources their efforts can be greatly inhibited since circumstances allow only part-time ministry. Some, unable to support themselves, are compelled to emigrate.
Leadership Support offers practical and financial assistance to Christian leaders who cannot be supported by the groups or small churches which they serve. Last year SGA supported 122 national workers in different areas of ministry and also provided a Pastors' Fund in Poland and Bulgaria. We are very grateful to individuals and church fellowships across the UK and Ireland who help sponsor these workers. We try to keep the sponsor informed by regularly forwarding ministry reports and prayer requests. Our goal is to see all the churches and workers become self-supporting and operating independently of foreign finance, but this is still some way off. At least 40% of those funded by SGA still require sponsorship.
Houses Of Prayer
We are amazed at the number of Prayer Houses the Lord has enabled SGA to provide in locations where Mission School graduates are serving. Aware that it is impossible for village congregations to raise this money, Slavic Gospel Association has funded 21 such buildings in Moldova, 3 of which were purchased last year. On Saturday 27th November 2010 an SGA team travelled 50km from Balti to Maramonovca and Dominteni to visit two of these Prayer Houses. The final 5km require leaving the main road and travelling along a rough dirt track before arriving at Maramonovca where two current students serve the Lord. This is a community with no evangelical witness. However, the brothers were hopeful that the building would be opened in January. Meanwhile, twenty people were travelling from Dominteni to another village as they had no meeting place. This provision will be a great blessing to this group of faithful people, giving them a much needed Prayer House, which is required for effective evangelism in this village of 3,500 people. Fresh requests for Prayer Houses are being considered so that other congregations will have a building in which to worship.
SGA regards the translation of literature and writing by nationals as vitally important to help in the work of the Gospel and in the strengthening of the Church. From its Literature Fund, SGA helped with the publishing of several much needed books in Romania last year including, ‘Toward Rediscovering the Old Testament’ and ‘Toward Old Testament Theology’ by Walter Kaiser. Funding was also made available for the publishing of a number of Bible Commentaries written by Dr Ben Faragau including Ecclesiastes, Genesis, Messianic Psalms, Deuteronomy and Hebrews. We have also helped in Poland and Slovakia where ‘A Call to Spiritual Reformation’ by D.A. Carson and ‘Nothing in my Hands I Bring…’ were published. Over the next months we will focus on Biblical material for Hungary, Poland and Ukraine.
The Romanian and Polish ‘Voice of the Gospel’ radio broadcasting ministry continues to be a vital means in the spread of the Gospel. SGA continues its commitment to help sponsor these tools for ministry.
SGA continues to meet needs and emergencies through which the love of Christ is ministered in practical ways. Since 1991, Bread of Life, a Christian humanitarian organization has provided for many refugees in Serbia. Last year SGA supported this vital ministry amongst the most vulnerable in society. It also supported orphans and widows in many countries, and responded to emergency situations where financial help was required. An example of this was the serious flooding in Eastern Romania. Again, SGA sought to stand with the believers by providing financial support so that the testimony of those who go to help people in their time of need may be used of the Lord to spread the Gospel in these very needy areas. We are overjoyed to be able to report that during the winter of 2010/11 in excess of £29,000 was distributed to widows in Romania, Moldova, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Ukraine, Serbia, Poland and Central Asia. Since this project was launched in 2000, more than 6000 widows have benefited from the fund. SGA, working in conjunction with Bibel Mission, Germany, sought to give hope in Central Asia by funding Christmas presents for children of poor families. For many, it was the only Christmas gift they would receive. With much excitement they unpacked their gifts of toys, sweets etc, but most importantly, a Children’s Bible. Non-Christian families had the opportunity to listen to the Good News of Jesus Christ and many contacts between believers and non-believers were established.
A highlight in 2010 was the culmination of SGA’s 60th anniversary celebrations at the Babbacombe Residential Conference in November, which incorporated the SGA bi-annual International Directors' Conference. It was a great joy to welcome guests from America, Canada, Germany, including Ruth Deyneka-Erdel accompanied by her husband Paul. The conference was not only a time of giving thanks to God for His faithfulness to all the SGA offices in their fields of service across Eastern and Central Europe, Russia and the CIS, but also a time of united rejoicing in God’s faithfulness to SGA UK during 60 years of its existence. We were stimulated by all we heard and came away with a renewed dedication to be more active in the spread of the Gospel.
These highlighted activities and achievements reveal something of what the Lord has enabled us to do in His name. We are so conscious of His providing and sustaining hand upon us. However, you are very much a part of these achievements as you stand with us in prayerful and practical support in the work of the Gospel and we sincerely thank you.