70 Years of Missionary Service

SGA[UK] celebrates seventy years of missionary service in 2020. The UK branch was born in 1950, sixteen years after the Mission was founded in the USA by a Russian immigrant, Peter Deyneka. As a teenager he heard fellow-Russians in Chicago preaching the Gospel in the open air. He began to attend Moody Church and was brought to know Christ as his Saviour.

He was gripped by the desire to share his faith with his fellow-countrymen and undertook many journeys back to Russia to preach the Gospel which had transformed his life. His burden led him to establish what is now the 'Slavic Gospel Association'.

In July 1950 Peter met with spiritually-motivated Christian businessmen in England, and SGA[UK] was established as a separate branch of the Mission. His daughter, Ruth, wrote:

I remember that there was great enthusiasm and a wonderful spirit of determination to form a group, an organization, that would take the Gospel to Russian-speaking people… That day the newly-formed British SGA Committee determined, with God’s help, to move ahead and work towards winning many Russian souls for Christ.

At first SGA[UK] mainly supported existing ministries such as Russian broadcasting, and the production of Bibles and Christian literature. Early SGA workers also visited WWII refugees from Eastern Europe in ‘displaced persons’ [DP] camps, mainly in Austria, Germany, and England. They supplied humanitarian aid and also responded to the persistent requests for Bibles and Christian literature.

Mission representatives began to make difficult visits through the ‘Iron Curtain’ to countries from which these people had fled, and where the Communist authorities were attempting to stamp out all religious belief. By the 1970s these journeys were part of a planned schedule. Again, humanitarian aid along with Bibles and Christian literature were provided.

Workers stopped to pray for God’s protection before every border crossing. The visits were treasured by believers there. Fellowship with SGA staff members was precious beyond words.

The churches pleaded specifically for the training of leaders, and SGA’s Biblical Leadership Training programme, now operating in eight countries across E. Europe and C. Asia, developed from small, secret teaching sessions in Romania. When freedom came the training was intensified and other countries requested the Mission’s training programme.

Today, although some subtle opposition persists in a few countries, SGA ‘Mission Schools’ fulfil a crucial role in preparing men and women for a wide variety of ministries.

Arad School
Arad Mission School
Friends who gathered in Balti, Moldova, to give thanks for SGA UK's 20 year ministry
Balti Mission School

Alongside its core ministry of training, the Mission fulfils other key ministries.

Leadership Support: practical and financial assistance to Christian leaders in need.

Literature Ministry: supporting ‘in-country’ Christian publishers and writers, and the translation of useful books and resources.

Crisis Response: ministry to the needy including ongoing support for orphans and widows.

For seventy years God has faithfully provided what is needed to assist churches in SGA’s mission fields ‘to fulfil the Great Commission of Jesus Christ and make disciples of their own people’. Thousands have come to know Christ as Saviour. Hundreds of churches have been established. Generations of Christian leaders have been trained for service. Many have been helped financially and materially in Christ’s Name.

SGA has launched a 70th anniversary project to raise prayerful and financial support for 70 new church planters across the countries of our ministry. We long that this will result in more churches being established and many unbelievers brought to Christ for the glory of His precious Name. For more details, click here!

This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.
Psalm 118:23