Ukraine (MNN) — Earlier this month, the United Nations came out with a report on the rising violence in Ukraine.
Rise in Violence
From February to April, the violence related to the Ukrainian conflict rose 48 percent. This means there’s been a significant increase in civilian injuries and even deaths.
“The Ukraine conflict really has been going on and on since it broke out. I think it’s going into its fourth year now. And there will be these little lulls in the conflict or fighting from time to time, and then it flares up again,” Slavic Gospel Association’s Joel Griffith explains.
“They’ve had periodic peace talks that other nations have tried to broker. Eventually, those cease-fires get violated by one side or the other. So, the conflict never really has stopped.”
Although the increase in violence is not a surprise — the violence is still of concern. And this is a reason why SGA has a Crisis Evangelism Fund used to help churches in Ukraine reach out to the Ukrainian people.
Helping Ukrainian Refugees
The Ukraine conflict has created millions of refugees within the country. The conflict has forced many people to abandon their homes and towns in efforts to survive.
These same people need food, clothes, and other physical needs which Ukrainian Evangelical churches strive to meet by using the funds supplied through SGA. However, the most important need is the Gospel’s good news.
“So it really is just a humanitarian tragedy that continues to impact lives to this day. And our concern is certainly to help the churches reach out in the name of Jesus Christ, not only with physical help that’s needed by these people effected, but also with the Gospel,” Griffith shares.
With hearing the Gospel and knowing Christ comes a peace and joy that may never be possible living in the circumstances that have become everyday life for these Ukrainians. But through the Crisis Evangelism Fund, Ukrainian Evangelical churches can meet people in the darkest days and share a bit of Jesus with them; not just in word, but also in action.
“The way it works is we help provide the funds to the churches and then the churches get whatever aid they need there and they’re basically what we would call ‘regional hub’ churches,” Griffith explains.
“They’re in different locations in Ukraine and they will send out teams of missionary pastors and church workers who like to go out and assesses the needs and then distribute the needs as they arise.”
The Crisis Evangelism Fund
Although the Crisis Evangelism Fund is used to help a number of countries in need — its resources have been focused in Ukraine because of the great needs the country has.
However, with the Ukraine crisis not often in the media, a significant amount of incoming funding from SGA supporters has diminished for the Crisis Evangelism Fund. This has made it harder to send out teams to care for the physical needs of the Ukrainian people, as well as give them the hope of Christ.
“That’s something that we’re definitely hearing from the churches and the teams that go out. The Church is the one in the name of Jesus, rendering help to these shattered lives. We’ve seen people come to Christ as a result of it and that certainly gives us much joy,” Griffith shares.
So please, would you consider donating to the Crisis Evangelism Fund? Even just $5 can go a long way and open a door to share the Gospel.
Intercede With Prayer
However, regardless of donating, please pray without ceasing.
“Our motto is ‘much prayer, much power’, as it was the model of our founder Peter Deyneka. Keep this in intercessory prayer. Pray for peace to come to Ukraine, for this conflict to be settled, and that the ministries of the churches can get back to normal and that peoples’ lives can get back to normal,” Griffith asks.
“And pray for openings for the Gospel. Even as we help the churches distribute the aid, our prayer is always that we’ll have open doors for the Gospel and that people’s lives could be changed, and that new churches could be planted, and that we could continue to see revival in Ukraine.”
To donate, click here!
For more ways to pray, click here!
Thank you for this article and it is good to see that people are still providing help to the Ukrainian refugees. I have recently returned from Ukraine and the city of Chernivtsi, after living there for 3 months to start a business and bring the word of God to its people. The business was solely as a means to live without having to ask for donations but after the business was unable to produce the required income and I was unable to extend my visa, I had no choice but to return to Australia. Whilst I was there I made many new friends and also taught English voluntarily at a local college.
In reading this article, I have noticed one important factor that has not been mentioned in this article about the Ukrainian refugees and that is the discrimination of the people from Eastern Ukraine. Now don’t get me wrong, the Ukrainian people are a lovely people but unfortunately there is a deep-seated discrimination towards their countrymen from the Donbass region of Ukraine. I witnessed this discrimination first-hand whilst I was there as I fell in love with a refugee from Donetsk. Below is an excerpt from an article that I wrote whilst I was living in Ukraine.
Let me tell you what other Ukrainian people think of people from Donetsk. Well in four words, they don’t like them. Now as you may or may not know, Donetsk is in the east of the Ukraine and the Russian-backed separatists have taken over that area and self-declared it as the People’s Republic of Donetsk. These people are now at war with the Ukraine, including the People’s Republic of Luhansk. Since this war began in 2014, the Ukrainian government has said to have registered 1.6 million refugees from the Donbass region (Eastern Ukraine). These people have had to integrate into other Ukrainian cities. I have been told from local Ukrainians that since this internal refugee crisis, crime in their cities have increased. They believe that this is due to the Russian-speaking refugees moving into their cities. I believe that the increase in crime rate is probably due more to the spike in inflation, with prices more than doubling and wages remaining either stagnate or decreasing. But that is just my two cents worth.
Anyway, so people here do not like their Russian-speaking eastern Ukrainian countrymen. This dislike goes as far as not employing them to even discriminating them with renting properties. I have actually seen advertisements for apartments that state things like ‘eastern Ukrainians need not apply’.
When my fiancé first told me her story and where she was from, she told me not to tell anyone here in the Ukraine. At that time, I thought she was just being paranoid as she too is a Ukrainian citizen but now I have witnessed this discrimination for myself and completely understand her secrecy.
So now I have returned to Australia with very little money and looking for work here so I can return to Ukraine asap to help the people and support my fiancé.
I am also looking at other opportunities that will enable me to return and continue my original mission of bringing the word of God, through Jesus Christ to the Ukrainian people.