Ukraine (MNN) — While Russian separatists vow to move forward with a referendum for self-rule in Donetsk, Ukrainian authorities plan to move forward with a nationwide vote for a new president on May 25. The referendum is moving forward despite Russian President Vladimir Putin’s request to delay it. International observers say this referendum could tear apart Ukraine, making the May 25 election impossible.
Slavic Gospel Association not only supports national churches in both countries, but it also sponsors the Odessa Theological Seminary there. SGA spokesman Joel Griffith says, “The churches there are certainly under a lot of pressure because of this. They’re wanting to try to find a way to evangelize and reach out with the Gospel in this situation.”
Griffith says the situation is complicated even more by the fact the acting president is a Baptist. “Some of the other parties in this political dispute are falsely blaming the Baptists for this unrest, which is a false charge. It’s made it extremely difficult for the churches in some places.”
That difficulty hasn’t changed their passion for outreach. Griffith says many pastors in the crisis zones are struggling. That’s why SGA has created the Crisis Evangelism Fund to help churches in the west to reach out. “They’re wanting to be able to send crisis response teams into some of these regions where local pastors have few resources. They’re wanting to help with food aid, Bibles, Christians literature, and other essentials–and especially with a focus on evangelism.”
The money raised will help support pastors in the crisis areas and help churches reach out to refugees–specifically Muslim Tatars who are now living in the western Ukraine.
Up until nine months ago, Ukraine was one of most religiously-free nation in the Former Soviet Union. Now it’s a nation in fear, uncertain about the future of their nation.
Griffith says this is a difficult position for the entire region. “We know situations are very fluid there between now and [May] 25, and only the Lord knows ultimately what will happen. We’re praying for peace and reconciliation and peace, as are the churches.”
To support the SGA Crisis Evangelism Fund, click here, or call 1-800-BIBLE-50.