Ukraine (MNN) — If you’re confused by the Russian President’s sudden desire for peace in eastern Ukraine, you’re not the only one. But the Ukraine crisis is actually benefiting a church in Sumy, says SEND International missionary John Paetkau.
“This is creating phenomenal opportunities to share the Gospel,” says Paetkau.
“Sumy Grace Church was contacted and asked if they could host refugees…. Some are believers, many are not. And it has created all sorts of unique opportunities to reach out and minister to these people.”
Yesterday, the Russian President put forth a seven-point plan he proposed would end the Ukraine crisis. He also had a phone conversation with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. Leaders came away from the talk with differing conclusions, though, creating temporary confusion: Poroshenko tweeted about a permanent ceasefire, while Kremlin representatives denied any such truce deal.
Poroshenko’s office later issued a statement revising the ceasefire claims: “The parties reached a mutual understanding on the steps that will facilitate the establishment of peace.”
A United Nations (UN) report released at the end of August contains the most recent Ukraine crisis statistics. Over 2,500 people have been killed since mid-April, while another 260,000 people have fled from the battle zone into different parts of Ukraine. Russia reports at least 814,000 Ukrainian refugees have crossed its borders.
“No one in Ukraine–six months, a year ago–would’ve believed that this type of conflict could’ve been possible,” notes Paetkau. “Now, they’re in the midst of a war; they’re in the midst of the country on the verge of being split.”
The humanitarian toll is monumental, but there is a silver lining.
When refugees enter Sumy Grace Church and others like it, they see Christ’s love in action in the form of food, shelter, clothing, and more. They also get to study His Word and hear the Gospel, many for the first time.
However, caring for refugees is maxing out Sumy Grace Church’s resources.
“There is a specific need for finances to help take care of these people, because there are no other outside sources,” Paetkau says.
Most importantly, continue to pray about the Ukraine crisis. “Pray for peace, but pray especially for the believers,” requests Paetkau.
Pray specifically for these four things: