Michael Johnson of the Slavic Gospel Association (SGA) says when war broke out in Ukraine, some Russian Jews immigrated to Ashkelon, a city about 30 miles south of Tel Aviv that has been bombarded by thousands of Hamas rockets in recent weeks. They had just resettled there.
"They fled one war," he relays "Now they're in Israel, and they're in the middle of another war."
Pastor Oleg, a missionary for SGA in Ashkelon, explains that unpredictable and frequent rocket attacks have confined many of the area's residents to their homes. So under the cover of night, the ministry has been delivering food, medicine, and other needed items to the people who remain in his community.
"People started to open their doors, and they listen," he shares. "We use this war situation here to help people."
In an environment where many residents fear leaving their homes for any reason, the deliveries provide an opportunity for the missionaries to share the gospel.
"They ask us, 'Why you come to bring us some food and to comfort us?'" Pastor Oleg accounts.
That, he says, is the nature of Christ and His followers.
The Slavic Gospel Association began under a different name in the 1930s, when Soviet dictator Josef Stalin intensified persecution of Russian churches. The ministry is at work in Israel now because Russian Jews make up about 15% of Israel's population and because Ukrainian Jews have been resettling in the area over the past couple of years.
Pastor Oleg asks that fellow believers join SGA in praying for the area, including his church workers as they minister to the Jews in the war region.