“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matt. 28:19-20
Have you ever considered the first verb in this scripture? Go. Notice it doesn’t say: “Wait”. Notice it doesn’t say “Plan”. Notice it doesn’t say “Fundraise”. The Bible is so beautiful and simple in its clarity: “Go… The LORD Himself will be with you—even to the end of the age….” Ponder this for a moment!
At the end of time, the LORD desires bold action!
The Gideon Rescue Company (GRC) is a disaster evangelism ministry. God has blessed us with medical skills, rescue skills, search and rescue K-9s, rescue boats, vehicles, planes, cranes, and so much more. BUT the greatest blessing we have been given is our message as Seventh-day Adventist Christians living at the end of the age. Our only tactical advantage is in our name as a people: a people who keep the commandments of Jesus Christ and believe this same Jesus is coming soon!
When war broke out between Russia and Ukraine many of us never thought God would call us to the literal front lines of a conflict zone. We quickly realized the principles we have been learning in natural disaster response apply equally to the man-made disaster scene of war. Millions of people would be hurting—spiritually. Is there a balm in Gilead?
In 2019, GRC was interviewed on 3ABN Today regarding disaster response and evangelism. There we were asked what we needed as a ministry and we prayerfully responded: 1 million GLOW tracts. Greater than ten years of disaster response and we have recognized the desperate need for truth-filled literature in the wake of a natural disaster. God did not immediately grant our request for 1 million GLOW tracts.
A few days after war broke out, a small group of GRC team members made a choice to be bold in Christ for the sake of vulnerable souls in Europe. A number of individuals from different families, different backgrounds (none with military training), and different walks with God; all joined together with one mission in their hearts: “The refugees that are fleeing out of Ukraine need to know the Love of Christ and that He is coming soon!”
Knowing that this was very much out of our comfort zone or experience, we pleaded with the LORD would give us definite confirmation that he would send us into an active war zone. It was a struggle for each of us as we did not want to err on the side of presumption. Yet we could not avoid a plain thus saith the Lord: “Go.”
God had already provided His answer in His Word. He even assured us with His personal promise: “I will be with you—even in Ukraine.” Did we trust God’s Word to be faithful?
We each purchased a flight to Poland in faith that the Holy Spirit would be our Captain on the field of battle. We were met by individuals from all over Europe that were on fire for Christ. Their prayer was to help bring hope in Christ in a time of tragedy. The Seventh-day Adventist church in Rzeszow Poland was very loving and played the perfect host as our team sought God’s will before entering Ukraine.
God soon opened the doors for our team to travel into Lviv, Ukraine to spread the Word of God. God’s strategy is always perfect. We were positioned at City’s train station in Lviv which became a hub for 50,000 souls fleeing west for safety. When we arrived in Lviv, the local Seventh-day Adventist Church graciously shared from their own stockpile bibles, Steps to Christ, The Great Controversy, The Desire of Ages, and Glow tracts on a variety of different topics. The receptivity rate at the train station was nearly 100%.
What is the greatest need in any disaster? Is it safety? Shelter? Food and water? Doubtless, these are great needs—and ones that our Saviour did not overlook on this earth when he fed countless thousands with two small fish and five loaves of bread.
But what is the greatest need of humanity? The scriptures say as Christ looked across those countless souls he was moved with compassion because He saw them as sheep without a shepherd. His heart was touched by their spiritual condition. The LORD gave His people the Sermon on the Mount and left the organization and operation of FEMA to the governments of men.
We know that man can survive weeks without food, days without water, even a few minutes without air—but not even a moment can humanity survive without hope. We understand we need help quickly when dialing 911—but do we understand the importance of quickly responding spiritually as a church in the wake of disaster—large or small? Our GRC team calls this the Spiritual Golden Hour—and time is running out.
In Liviv at the train station, we soon faced a dilemma. After a full day of placing hope in the hands of hurting people, we ran out of literature. We all looked around at an ocean of people, seeing the hurt and anguish in their eyes, and we felt their hopelessness. We fell on our knees and again pleaded with God for His help.
“Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” Matt 7:7
The same day, we received a phone call from the States. An anonymous donor had contacted GLOW and paid for one million GLOW tracts to be printed in the Ukrainian language right there in Poland! Needless to say, God answers prayers—even from 2019! Now the dilemma we faced was a lack of hands to give the cup of life-giving water!
But the Lord wasn’t done. Over the course of the month, we had nearly 20 individuals answer the call to come and be the hands and feet of Jesus. Graduates from Union College and International Rescue and Relief, a 74-year young woman who committed 6 months serving the people of Ukraine, countless teachers who volunteered to teach zoom English classes, a former New York City Firefighter and veteran of 9/11—now a newly baptized Seventh-day Adventist, and the young son of one of our GRC team members who was only 11 years old! God does not call the qualified, He truly qualifies the called.
Over the course of March and into April, God was able to use many hands and many platforms to distribute the first 1 million GLOW tracts across Ukraine and beyond into Europe where countless are seeking refuge. We may never know the impact of one small paper tract this side of heaven—but one plants and another waters but in the end, God gains a harvest!
God continued to give us platforms to reach people not only at the train station but in the city of Lviv. A Great Controversy was given to the Mayor of the city, and our team was invited to a Civil Defense Training Academy to teach tourniquet application and basic first aid on the battlefield.
Each class had approximately 30 students and at the end of the class, we were able to share the reason why God would send a team from the far reaches of the earth to let each of them know that God loves and cares for the people of Ukraine—including every tribe, nation, kindred, and tongue. With tears in their eyes, they readily accepted the literature that God had provided in their own language: “God Cares When I’m Hurting”, “The Power of Prayer”, “What Happens When I Die?”, and “Signs of Christ’s Soon Return”, these were the topics specially prepared for the people of Ukraine.
“Then he said to His disciples, ‘The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” Matthew 9:37-38
My brothers and sisters in Christ, we are living in the climax of earth's history. Soon and very soon, we are going to see the King! Do not delay or slumber any longer! When God says “Go”, trust and obey! There is no other way to be happy in Jesus. May the LORD guide and direct His Church in these last days. May we be found faithful even as He is faithful.
NOTE: The mission continues in Ukraine as we currently have three team members on the ground at the time of this publication. Andre Ves was a young man our team met while passing out tracts in the community and he has been so moved by the Holy Spirit that he is bravely continuing the literature evangelism work in Liviv with 40-50,000 Tracts that were left to supply him in his mission. Pray for the church in Ukraine! Pray for God’s Word to go forth with power!
by Greg Simpson & Brock Mayer
Greg Simpson is a certified flight paramedic and a team leader in the Gideon Rescue Company, based in Ardmore, Oklahoma
Brock Mayer is also a certified flight paramedic and registered nurse plus logistics coordinator for the Gideon Rescue Company, based in Ardmore Oklahoma