Ukraine (MNN) — Two weeks ago, Ukraine surpassed 1 million total COVID-19 cases, though some believe the actual number to be far higher. Authorities have not carried out enough contract tracing to track the spread of the virus.
Ukraine’s new cases reached a peak in late November, and have been slowly declining. However, the number of critically ill patients has increased. A new surge may follow the holidays. The health system has come under incredible strain.
Eric Mock of the Slavic Gospel Association says, “A lot of the pastors and ministry workers that we work with have contracted COVID-19. We are aware of some pastors who have died as a result of the virus. So what we are hearing from the churches over there is that the virus is hitting them pretty hard. It’s very real. But even with the restrictions, the ministry continues on.”
In the warmer months, many churches met outside to lower the risk of infection. During winter, Christians in more urban areas are able to use the internet to connect virtually.
COVID-19 has been especially hard on the Donbas region, which has seen continuing conflict between Ukraine and Russia. Mock says, “Given the fact that support can’t come from very many different resources that are there, it comes through the local church. By God’s grace, we’re able to assist them in this. The challenge is a lot of the [Christians] that are normally bringing aid into that region have contracted the virus themselves and are struggling these last few weeks.”
Ever since the outbreak of COVID-19, SGA has supported Slavic churches ministering to those in need. SGA’s Christ over COVID program has enabled these churches to distribute food, medicine, and other aid to families in desperate straits. To donate or learn more about the program, click here.
People living in the Donbas region live under the constant threat of violence breaking out again. Their infrastructure has already been largely destroyed, but they can’t rebuild until peace arrives. Fighting has dragged on since 2014.
Ask God to heal Ukrainian Christians struggling with COVID-19, and pray the country will see cases plummet in the coming months. Most of all, pray many Ukrainians would see the love and hope of Jesus in the actions of their Christian neighbors.
The header photo shows a Ukrainian woman wearing a mask during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Wereskowa, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)