It’s now been 6 long weeks since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and as atrocities committed against civilians come to light in towns near Kyiv, we grieve with our friends and partners over the evil being done. Some have shared that they do not want to become bitter, and they seek God to help them in this. Please pray for them. The spiritual battle is significant.
We are aware of at least one Ukrainian missionary who has been kidnapped, and on March 28, our friends at Mission Eurasia learned about the loss of their ministry headquarters building in Irpin. They share, "After our building was destroyed in tank crossfire, Russian troops threw any remaining stockpiles of Bibles and Christian books from our warehouse at the back of the building on the ground and burned them."
"From our headquarters warehouse, millions of copies of God’s Word including Bibles and other Scripture versions filled with the truth, love, and hope of God have gone out across Ukraine and all of the former Soviet Union over many years. This will continue...Nothing will stop the spread of the gospel in Ukraine and across the former Soviet Union, as had been happening from our headquarters...The gospel is indestructible."
The physical battle in Ukraine continues to be intense as well and is currently focused particularly on the eastern Donbas region. Officials are urging residents there to flee the area while there is still the opportunity. Yesterday our ministry partner, Pastor Gennadiy, and his team evacuated around 150 people who had gathered at a church in the city of Slovyansk. Please pray for their protection as they travel to a safer area and for God's comfort and provision for these people who are now among 9 million internally displaced Ukrainians.
In recent days, analysts at the Institute for the Study of War have said that efforts by Russian troops to capture Slovyansk, a city of 125,000 people, “will likely prove to be the next pivotal battle of the war in Ukraine.” This is not the first time Slovyansk has come under attack. In 2014 when armed conflict broke out in eastern Ukraine, Slovyansk was a stronghold of pro-Russian separatists. In the midst of their own suffering, Christians in the city worked tirelessly to serve and share the love of Jesus with others.
Slovyansk is also significant as the epicenter of Ukraine's national adoption movement. Pastor Peter, our ministry partner there, shared with us years ago that "After a few years of running our orphanage, we realized that the best for children is not in an institution, but in a family. God began to open our eyes to the importance of adoption." With a vision to see Ukraine without orphans, the Church there has been an encouragement and inspiration to others in the orphan care movement worldwide as well.
Please pray with us for:
- Those who are still trapped in Mariupol and other besieged cities, as well as people in Slovyansk and the surrounding Donbas region who need to evacuate.
- Protection and endurance for Pastor Gennadiy and his team of chaplains who risk their lives day after day evacuating people and delivering food, medicine, and Jesus' love to civilians and soldiers on the frontlines.
- Our Ukrainian friends/WWO staff members and their families. They remain in the country and continue to care for and assist evacuees as they move further west and into other countries.
- The gospel to go forward and for many people to know Jesus.
Thank you for continuing to remember Ukraine. Your prayers and support are deeply appreciated.
“…For I will turn their mourning into joy. And will comfort them and give them joy for their sorrow.”