Thirty Years After

The Brandenburg Gate in 1989

On 9 November 1989, a spokesman for the Communist Party of East Berlin announced that from midnight that night, citizens of GDR (East Germany) were free to cross to the West for the first time in twenty-eight years.

Politically, the ‘fall of the wall’ in Berlin marked the beginning of the end of a cold war between east and west, and the collapse of the Communist stranglehold on the Soviet satellite countries of Eastern Europe.

Socially this collapse allowed the joyful reunion of families and friends in Germany and beyond, separated for almost three decades by this physical barrier erected by order of the Soviet-controlled East German Communist Party. It brought freedom from a system which had dominated and controlled the lives of ordinary citizens, restricting movement and activities on almost every level.

Economically it brought about foundational shifts in labour, commerce, business, and in the challenges of basic day-to-day living for many. Soviet withdrawal from many countries left their economies in tatters. Unemployment rocketed, poverty became endemic, and in many communities even basic commodities were beyond the buying power of ordinary families.

Orthodox Church Dark

With respect to religion and religious practice there was an immediate sense of freedom, and very quickly the churches of the old order began to re-establish their authority and influence, especially in rural areas.

The believers in these countries were not slow to grasp the opportunities now offered them, to preach and witness to the truth of Christ, and many thousands came to faith in what might fairly be described as Biblical, spiritual revival.

SGA’s ministry in E. Europe expanded dramatically in the wake of the Soviet collapse. Now there was freedom to travel, to import literature, to openly train and prepare leaders for the churches which had survived the Communist years, or had sprung up since that collapse. Opportunities to support Gospel work seemed almost unlimited, and many agencies plunged in, anxious to exploit the new openness.

Sadly some of these, unlike SGA which had been ministering throughout the Communist years, were not as wise as they might have been. Along with good work done, there were lamentable occurrences of friction and division arising from a lack of understanding of the spiritual ‘climate’ of the churches, and an insensitive imposition of western – rather than Biblical – values upon groups of believers.

Damaging imports of other kinds – illicit drugs, pornography, barren materialism and secularism – have contributed to a sad spiritual malaise which has accelerated in recent years. The battle for souls has intensified, and it cries out for Gospel churches to keep their focus.

Jesus Christ, and the preaching and teaching of God’s Word must be paramount. Church leaders must be prepared for faithful, consistent evangelism, Bible ministry and pastoral care. That is why SGA’s 70th Anniversary Project, aimed at supporting the ongoing expansion of Gospel ministry, is as critically important now as it was when the Communist system collapsed three decades ago.

SGA is committed to assist the churches in their efforts to bring the light of the Gospel to the many communities still in spiritual darkness. Praise God that already gifted and suitable men have been identified. Three in each of Slovakia and Serbia; Two each in Romania and Far East Russia; One in Poland; Five in Ukraine; Twelve in Central Asia!

Proclaiming the Gospel

Help us, please, by your prayers and your support to send seventy more witnesses of the One who is the ‘Light of the World’!