MH17 crisis: Day Six

Congregations across Ukraine are praying for an end to the bloodshed in their country. It became an international tragedy last week when a Malaysian commercial airliner carrying 298 passengers was shot down by a missile over eastern Ukraine. (Photo, caption courtesy Christian Aid)

Congregations across Ukraine are praying for an end to the bloodshed in their country.
(Photo, caption courtesy Christian Aid)

Ukraine (MNN) — It’s been six days since the Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 crisis began in eastern Ukraine. Christian Aid Mission, your link to indigenous missions, urges you not to forget the families who lost loved ones in this disaster.

While the plane held 298 passengers from 10 nations, a majority of the souls aboard Flight MH17 — 193, to be exact — hailed from the Netherlands. Many were significant AIDS researchers on their way to a conference in Malaysia.

See who was aboard Flight MH17 so you can pray for their families.

“We are weeping,” says a Christian Aid ministry friend from Ukraine.

“The church leaders I talked to are in tears over what happened to the plane. People from Europe, Asia, Australia, and America have died. This is crazy.”

On July 17, Flight MH17 was struck by what officials believe was a surface-to-air missile. The plane crashed 25 miles from the Russian border in a separatist-controlled area near Donetsk.

Western nations say there’s growing proof that rebels shot down the plane using a missile supplied by Russia. Leaders are pressuring Russian President Vladimir Putin to use his influence on separatist rebels for more cooperation with investigators.

Thus far, rebels have allowed remains to be taken from the crash site, as well as the plane’s black box. However, there are concerns that rebels are altering evidence.

Meanwhile, fighting has intensified this summer as pro-Russian militants battle Ukrainian government forces for control of the eastern half of the country.

Separatist violence
“We need peace in Ukraine. We are a peaceful people,” says Christian Aid’s ministry friend.

Although the exact death toll is unknown, estimates vary from several hundred people to thousands since the start of the conflict in April. Many of the dead are civilians.

As the conflict rages, Ukrainian churches have stepped up efforts to minister to the hurting and to boldly share the message of salvation through Jesus Christ. Read about their work on Christian Aid’s Web site.

“People are afraid. They don’t know when they will breathe their last breath,” he said. “We want to bring hope to people, especially during these uncertain times. Whatever happens, we want them to experience the peace that only Christ can give them.”

Christian Aid’s ministry friend requests the following:

  • Pray for grief-stricken families of the 298 individuals who were aboard flight MH17.
  • Pray for an end to violence and that peace will be restored in Ukraine.
  • Pray for encouragement for pastors and their congregations who are caught in the crossfire.
  • Pray that believers will have an opportunity to share Christ with those who don’t know Him.

More Ukraine updates here.