The Rewards of Long Term Gospel Ministry

You will have read by now that this year SGA celebrates 70 years of Gospel service. It is a celebration of God’s grace and goodness, but it also shows that SGA and its supporters have believed that Gospel ministry is a long term commitment.  This is worked out in SGA’s four core ministries of Leadership Support, Biblical Leadership Training, Biblical Literature, and Crisis Response.

Polish School
books Stack
Food Foodbox Aid

One ministry in which SGA has seen the benefits of the long-term approach is that of Bread of Life [BOL] in Serbia.

Born out of conflict in the 1990s, BOL has been supported by SGA through three decades. BOL’s ministry demands time for those to whom ministry is extended are among the most broken and abused people in society. They are of all age groups, both old and young.  Those who don’t easily fit in or have too many problematic issues, society often ignores.

Some groups include drug addicts. Some are old widows for whom no-one has concern. Some belong to Roma communities. 

Roma people first came to Eastern Europe centuries ago from far eastern Asian regions. They settled and quickly set up family units, yet they never managed to merge with the nations among whom they lived. They became despised as illiterate thieves, and a scourge on a modern developing Europe. Not much has changed since the days of their arrival. 

Bread of Life thinks differently. It thinks long term. To reach Roma people, they realised the need to start with the young and slowly change the culture. BOL desires to make the Roma not so much “Serbian”, but Christ-like and citizens of His Kingdom.

The lives of two young Roma girls who are now young women exemplify BOL’s approach. With the education provided for them by BOL, both Monika and Amela now have lives and a future that are very different.

Both came from poor families, from a background of no literacy and poor communication skills.  What hope would they have even to survive in the world, let alone dream of anything more? Both went to the early years school provided by BOL.

Both began to develop good skills and a good outlook on life. By the time they had completed their secondary school education, they were ready to take a lead in changing their own young people. They became assistants in the schools - a first for their area.

Who would have imagined a Roma teaching a Roma? Yet more developments came. One of the girls, Monika, showed keen enthusiasm to go further. After many personal trials she secured a place at university and graduated as a professional social worker.  She represents her people at levels of society and government, previously unimagined for a local Roma girl.

Helping out at Tekeris Camp

Both girls put their success down to the Bread of Life team, who nurtured skills to change their lives, but also offered the Gospel. Both girls love the Lord, and this is their motivation to change their own people to love Christ, and also help society to love their people and love Christ.

These truly remarkable stories are the fruit of long-term ministry. Change takes time. People take time to change. The Gospel too often takes time to work through a nation. This is what SGA has been doing for seventy years, and this continues to be its desire for the years to come.