Sunday, March 02, 2014

Pray for Ukraine

It has been a tense and often bloody past few weeks in the former Soviet country of Ukraine. Things ratcheted up when Russian troops took control of the strategic Crimean peninsula in the country's south.

The BBC has a fairly good breakdown of the stakes in this new conflict between the West and Russia. And caught in the middle are millions of people—the majority of whom would rather just live their lives in peace than be caught up in a geopolitical battle.

I am concerned, because I have friends and fellow missionaries in Ukraine. I'm also concerned for the future of religious freedom in this very strategic country once known as the "breadbasket" of Europe. To date, Ukraine has been the freest of all former Soviet republics for evangelical churches and individual believers. Pray for our brothers and sisters there. Another thing to note—Alexander Turchynov, the acting president of Ukraine after the ouster of Viktor Yanukovich, is a Baptist pastor; remarkable for a largely Orthodox Slavic nation. Baptists and other evangelicals have been subject to much persecution and pressure through the years, and you can bet that the leaders of other former Soviet nations are watching this situation closely. Pray that Mr. Turchynov will have abundant wisdom in his transitional leadership of the country, and that other political leaders will not use the events in Ukraine as an excuse to crack down further on evangelicals. The churches there want peace and reconciliation in their country, and freedom to proclaim the Gospel. And as Scripture makes clear, there are many adversaries out there.

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