A mission dedicated to reach the “forgotten” in Russia who were once under the strongholds of atheism of the former Soviet Union is expanding opportunities for U.S. churches to partner with evangelical churches located in the world’s largest nation and its neighbors to the south.
Seeking to expand its outreach across a nation that spans 11 time zones, Slavic Gospel Association (SGA) appointed veteran pastor Rev. Larry Pauley as its new director of church relations last week – coming several years after his participation in a first-ever national pastors’ conference in Russia.
"God's primary vehicle for working in the world is the local church," Pauley asserted in an SGA press release. "When American churches and churches in the former Soviet Union partner together to help those who are forgotten and advance the gospel, God is glorified."
With SGA’s partners forming an extensive network consisting of more than 6,500 evangelical churches ministering to millions, God’s Word is seen spanning some 5,600 miles – from Russia’s westernmost border in eastern Europe to its easternmost border on the Bering Strait across from Alaska.
For nearly 90 years, SGA has shared the gospel and cared for the physical needs of the “forgotten” orphans, widows and families in Russia, the former Soviet nations of Eastern Europe, Central Asia and Russian-speaking immigrants in Israel.
Its Orphans Reborn outreach works to support evangelical churches that serve more than 150 orphanages and shelters in Russia and the former Soviet Union by distributing food, Bible materials and hope to more than 12,000 forgotten children across two continents.
The Illinois-based ministry also helps equip the regions’ churches to spread God’s Word, plant new churches, train pastors, run kids’ summer camps and deliver crucial aid directly to hurting children, families and others who are in dire need.
SGA – founded by a Belarussian U.S. immigrant in 1934 – has also assisted those who have suffered since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic by partnering with local Russian-speaking Christians to deliver free groceries and supply more than 4 million meals to desperate families.
"It's truly amazing how God has used the pandemic to open doors for the gospel in Russia and other ex-Soviet countries, and it's a wonder how he's drawing together the hearts of Christians in America and believers in Russia – who've never met each other – to fulfill the Great Commission in the Russian-speaking world," SGA President Michael Johnson shared.
In addition to meeting physical needs, the partnership has distributed Bibles and “Jesus Loves You” Christmas ornaments to tens of thousands of children and parents – an outreach that has shared the gospel with more than 35,000 people who have never heard or read God’s Word.
After pastoring numerous churches in the U.S. with congregations comprised of Russian and Ukrainian immigrants, Pauley understands how powerfully God works through those who have come from regions with atheistic roots.
"Through partnerships between evangelical churches in the U.S. and their counterparts in the former Soviet Union, God does amazing things," Pauley recounted.