Ukraine: 25 years of Independence

By August 24, 2016

Ukraine (MNN) — Today, Ukraine celebrates the 25th anniversary of its independence from the Soviet Union.

(Photo courtesy Wikipedia)

(Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

It arrives during an escalation in tensions between Russia and Ukraine. Slavic Gospel Association President Bob Provost says, “There are still people in leadership across the former Soviet Union who would like to see the Soviet Union reunited.”

There have been rumblings. Provost says they’re hearing there could be some opposition this time around.

“That faction doesn’t like the celebration of the 25th anniversary because it’s showing strength for the separation from the Soviet Union. So, there can be some protesting, serious protesting, going on.”

Two years ago, on Ukraine’s Independence Day, August 24, Moscow-backed insurgents launched a comprehensive attack in the war in the country’s east.  This year, Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Crimea, an area they annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

At the same time, fighting erupted in Eastern Ukraine, making observers wonder if the 2015 Minsk agreements are all but dead.  The conflict is between Russia-backed separatists and government troops, costing the lives of over 9,500 people in the last two years.

(Photo courtesy SGA)

(Photo courtesy of SGA)

Despite 2015 peace accords signed in Minsk, Belarus, which initially helped to halt the fighting and then lower its intensity, international monitors have reported more clashes in the past weeks, some involving heavy weaponry.  Says Provost, “Russia has placed 40,000 new troops on the border with Ukraine, ready to go in. Some people were speculating that Russia wants to do something major to take more of Ukraine before our election.”

As the region becomes more unstable, SGA’s chief concern is for the evangelical churches they serve, the protection of the churches, and praying for God’s blessing as they share the love of Christ and the life-changing Gospel.  In the days ahead, a traditional approach to ‘missions’ may not be possible.

SGA is equipping the equippers. “Ukraine is hosting a missions forum next Thursday and Friday,” explains Provost, adding, “It’ll be a very large event with probably five or six thousand people there, motivating their churches to send people to other countries as missionaries.”

SGA Crisis Evangelism Fund

SGA Crisis Evangelism Fund

Here’s why: “Many of the countries that Ukrainians can go to are countries in the Middle East where Americans can’t go as missionaries.”  For example, Ukraine’s evangelical churches have sent workers to Egypt. “Ukrainians are able to get visas, and are able to go there.”

Urgency fills the days ahead.  As much as there is a physical battle coming, there is one on the spiritual front too.

“Pray for the Lord to continue to sustain the faith of the families; they’ve got their children at-risk.”  As you join SGA in lifting this matter before the Lord, also please prayerfully consider a gift to SGA’s Crisis Evangelism Fund to help refugees with urgent needs, and to minister to them in the name of Jesus.

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