With the coronavirus disrupting life in the United States, it can be easy to forget the impact it is having in the rest of the world, such as Russia, where the expected peak is two weeks away. The Slavic Gospel Association (SGA) has launched a global campaign – “Christ Over COVID: Much Prayer, Much Power” – calling for prayer and urgent relief for orphans, widows and families.
“Right now, God is using COVID-19 to open hearts like nothing we’ve seen since the fall of the Iron Curtain,” said Michael Johnson, president of SGA. Prayer warriors are needed more than ever as COVID-19 spreads across Russia, Georgia, Ukraine and other Slavic nations, as well as threatening the Russian-speaking community in Israel, he said.
As Americans cope with the economic pain of widespread layoffs and unpaid furloughs, millions of people in Russia and neighboring countries are in dire straits, with no safety net or stimulus package to help them. Even in normal times, the average monthly salary in Russia is about $500, with many surviving on much less.
Most of the former Soviet bloc is on lockdown, with martial law in some areas of Georgia, extended quarantine measures in Ukraine and potential imprisonment for quarantine violators in Russia, where tankers are spraying disinfectant over Moscow’s streets. Reports suggest the eventual death toll will be severe.
“People in the villages are saying, ‘only your church helps us,'” said Johnson, whose Illinois-based organization supports a grassroots network of evangelical missionary pastors and churches in cities and rural villages across a 4,170-mile landmass stretching from Eastern Europe to the Bering Strait off the coast of Alaska.
“Everything is in God’s hands,” said Stas, a Slavic Gospel Association-supported evangelical pastor in Russia. “We are trusting in the Lord, that he will not abandon us.”
Go to www.SGA.org/COVID to sign up to pray and receive updates about how God is working through evangelical churches in Russia during the crisis.
–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice