Friday, August 15, 2008

Slavic Churches Lift Up Christ While Helping South Ossetian Refugees

LOVES PARK, ILLINOIS-Refugee families from South Ossetia have flooded north across the Russian border into the cities of North Ossetia, and into the southern Russian regions of Kabardino-Balkaria, Rostov, Stavropol, and Krasnodar.The movement of families follows the new and bloody armed conflict between Russia, the disputed territory of South Ossetia, and the former Soviet republic of Georgia. The fighting began last Thursday in South Ossetia, which is located on Russia’s southern border in the Caucasus Mountains region of the former Soviet Union. The hostilities between the Georgian and Russian armies have already resulted in several thousand civilians being killed and an estimated 100,000 people having lost their homes.In all of these regions, the Loves Park, Illinois-based Slavic Gospel Association (SGA) sponsors church planters and partner Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists (UECB) churches, including Pastors Sergei and Taimuraz Totiev of Beslan.According to SGA president Dr. Robert Provost, the city of Beslan is no stranger to bloodshed.He said: “Beslan was the scene of the horrific 2004 attack on a school where terrorists slaughtered 330 children and adults. Both Totiev families lost several children in the attacks. In the months and years that followed, Pastor Sergei led the Beslan Baptist Church’s wonderfully fruitful ministry to the entire grieving city."Provost added: "Concerning the current crisis, Pastor Sergei told us yesterday that ‘wounded survivors and homeless refugees are everywhere. It is really difficult to comfort people whose relatives were killed in front of them’"All of the UECB churches in North Ossetia are sending people to visit the suffering injured in the area hospitals. They are trying to help the refugees with food and clothing. And you can be sure that they are seizing every opportunity to share the Gospel with them.”According to SGA, the churches say that the refugees are coming in with heartbreaking stories.A media advisory says: "They tell of bombings, people crushed by tanks, and others being burned alive. Many of them are from the city of Tskhinvali, where reportedly not one house is still standing. And some of these refugees from Tskhinvali are Baptist believers. "Temporary shelters have been set up in government buildings, but many of the families of Beslan-people who are well acquainted with grief-have taken refugees into their homes. But they cannot provide all of the food and necessities that the displaced people need. A great deal of help is needed, especially for the purchase of food and everything for children, baby foods, and hygiene items."SGA says the US Government has pledged to provide humanitarian relief to the war victims in Georgia. And the Russian Christians are accepting responsibility for humanitarian relief to the South Ossetian war victims who have fled to southern Russia.SGA is an interdenominational mission, which has been working in the former Soviet Union since 1934 and has served churches in Russia through pastor and lay leader training, sponsorship of national church planters and provision of Christian literature. SGA represents the Russian UECB and is a sponsor of the Eurasian Federation of Evangelical Christians-Baptists.SGA is asking for prayer in this crisis situation, in addition to financial contributions to help the churches with their relief efforts.Donations may be made on line at the mission’s website:
Gifts may also be sent to SGA’s mailing address below.
Please designate gifts to “Crisis Response – South Ossetia.”
Slavic Gospel Association
6151 Commonwealth Drive
Loves Park, Illinois 61111
By Michael Ireland --Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service
As in the days of Noah....