Ukraine (MNN) — There hasn’t been much activity in Ukraine’s war zone since September 1.
However, a ceasefire doesn’t equal peace.
“A little bit of that Soviet-era thinking seems to be creeping in to the occupied areas–the separatist areas–in the East, where some of these churches are really being pressured,” shares Eric Mock with Slavic Gospel Association.
What’s going on in Ukraine?
For those who aren’t aware, the past year-and-a-half of drama in Eastern Ukraine has unfolded like a bad break-up.
The abusive relationship between Ukraine and Russia began in the 1920s, and for decades millions of Ukrainians suffered horrific abuse at the hands of Mother Russia. A bloody history recounts man-made famine, mass executions, and multiple rounds of genocide.
Freedom came following the break-up of the U.S.S.R in the early ‘90s, and Ukraine has been establishing stronger ties with Europe ever since. Russia has been there each step of the way, trying to pull Ukraine back under its power.
It all came to a head in late 2013 and rapidly escalated into a new–allegedly civil–war. Though Russia has denied its involvement and support of separatists, tangible proof suggests otherwise.
Fast-forward to today: a weapons withdrawal in the eastern war zone marks the most significant step of de-escalation in violence in 18 months. Hopes of a peaceful resolution between Ukraine’s government and Russian-backed separatists are growing.
There’s also a growing hunger for Truth.
“There’s just this great sense of reliance on something more than the world around us,” shares Mock.
Ministering in a war zone
There may be a temporary lull in Ukraine’s war zone, but that doesn’t mean local believers are holding back.
Using supplies provided through SGA’s Crisis Evangelism Fund, Ukrainian Christians are delivering tangible and spiritual hope to families living in the war zone.
Marinka is one of the communities helped by SGA and its evangelical partners. Located in the “gray” war zone–a section where arms are laid down–Marinka was captured by separatists in the spring of 2014 and saw heavy fighting again this summer.
One of the churches, says Mock, “used to be 25% to 30% full.
“Now, people are standing in the hallway looking for answers, crying out to God.”
What Mock saw during his recent visit to areas like Marinka “was something almost like revival.
“Some have lost family; they have lost homes, they have lost possessions. But now they have hope, and that hope is unshakable.”
- Please continue praying for men, women, and children affected by Ukraine’s ongoing crisis.
- Pray that their hearts will begin to understand the Gospel Truth being shared by local believers, who bring help and hope in Jesus’ name.
- Ask the Lord to strengthen and encourage believers building His Kingdom in Ukraine’s war zone.