A history of pervasive secularism has left Slavic people hungry for the truth about the Creator and his salvation.
From the time he was a child, Eric Mock wanted to be a part of the space program. In 1995, his lifelong dream was fulfilled when he led a team of engineers working with different countries, including Russia, to integrate computer hardware and software used in the International Space Station.
Today, Eric lives in a rural village, sharing the gospel and the Creator as a pastor and missionary in the countries of the former Soviet Union. How did his life take such a drastic turn?
Eric says that although he grew up in church and claimed to know Christ as his Savior, his dreams and ambition to be in the space program took priority over devotion to Christ.
His life took a drastic turn after he and his team members had loaded the first American-made section of the space station (the Unity module) into the space shuttle Endeavor. Eric was out celebrating (inappropriately) when a friend asked about Jesus Christ and the gospel. He was caught off guard but gave a fumbling answer he remembered from his youth. “That’s exactly what my father used to tell me,” his friend responded, “and you are as big a hypocrite as he was! How can you claim faith in Jesus but live the way you do during the week?”
That comment cut to his heart. A few months later—and in answer to his wife’s prayers—he finally turned to Jesus in life-changing faith.
The idea of full-time missions immediately captivated my heart. After coming to faith, all I could think about was serving.
“The idea of full-time missions immediately captivated my heart. After coming to faith, all I could think about was serving.”
But he didn’t know where. Then one day his pastor told him about Slavic Gospel Association (SGA), which works in Russia of all places.
SGA provides training and resources to help indigenous churches in former Soviet countries, while enabling individuals and churches in North America to support ministries in these countries. (That includes translating and distributing creation materials.) They also help churches aid orphans and impoverished people in Slavic lands.
“Whether among the pagan cultures of far East Russia or the war-torn regions of Ukraine, SGA is a conduit for North American Christians who want the joy of encouraging and serving faithful Bible-teaching churches in these often-oppressed lands,” Eric says.
And his engineering background, as well as his firm belief in God’s recent creation as revealed in Genesis, comes into play as he serves both as vice president of SGA and as a local pastor in his village. In modern, science-oriented Slavic countries, where so many believe in the big bang and evolution, people need to understand that the answers to life’s big questions are found in God’s Word, and Genesis is foundational to this understanding.
“Often, we see science as separate from faith. Yet, every moment and action in this world can be put in proper perspective only through the lens of Scripture. And there is no text more important than Genesis 1–11 for our understanding of the world around us.”
“We teach people to see that theology can inform their foundational assumptions in science.” And this, in turn, will reshape how they see the world around them, the origin of our problems today, and their need for the Savior. The fact that he gave up his dream job to serve in Russia gives him a ready platform to discuss what really matters in life.
Knowing the Creator through the saving grace of Jesus Christ means that a space-age engineer can find fulfillment in Christ—and help others find that fulfillment—in the US as well as on the other side of the world.
“Wherever God places us is where he desires for us to bloom. Serving God in the place he puts me has far exceeded any dreams I once had for my life.”