Ukraine unrest leads to unity

(Image courtesy Slavic Gospel Association)

(Image courtesy Slavic Gospel Association)

Ukraine (MNN) — Tensions are escalating again in Ukraine following yesterday’s announcement that February’s sniper killings in Kiev were ordered by then-President Viktor Yanukovych. Over 100 protestors were shot and killed by Berkut riot police.

But there is a positive side-effect to the ongoing Ukraine unrest, EFCA ReachGlobal claims: Ukraine’s divided Church is starting to come together.

Since yesterday’s announcement, Russia has withdrawn its ambassador to NATO and the Northern alliance is considering its options for resistance.

“The [Russian] force that is at the Ukrainian border now to the east is very, very sizable and very, very ready,” NATO’s military chief shared on March 23.

“You cannot defend against [a Russian invasion] if you are not there to defend against it. So, I think we need to think about our allies, the positioning of our forces in the alliance, and the readiness of those forces in the alliance, such that we can be there to defend against it, if required, especially in the Baltics and other places.”

Russian soldiers in winter.  (Photo cred: Za Rodinu via Flickr)

Russian soldiers in winter.
(Photo cred: Za Rodinu via Flickr)

While an exact number is unknown at this time, between 30,000 and 80,000 Russian troops are amassed at strategic locations along the Ukrainian border. According to CNN, U.S. officials stated last week “the buildup [of Russian troops] was seen to be reminiscent of Moscow’s military moves before it went into Chechnya and Georgia in both numbers of units and their capabilities.”

It’s creating a strange atmosphere in Kiev, shares Richey.

“It’s almost eerie at moments. Everybody functions like there’s nothing wrong, but you know that there’s danger lurking very close,” she says. “Pray for peace, and that God would hold back the armies.”

Ukraine’s immediate future is uncertain. But the insecurity is having positive side effects, Richey notes.

“None of us know what tomorrow holds. But I am still very hopeful that God will continue to show His grace and His mercy on Ukraine,” says Richey.

“It has come to the Church’s attention…to stand up and be the Church.”

Unity plays a major role in that stand.

“The denominational barriers in Ukraine are very, very strong. There tends to be some pretty big silos, and some pretty big lines in the sand,” Richey explains. However, a recent prayer meeting began erasing those lines.

“Any denomination was welcome, and they prayed together through the night. Leaders from all throughout Ukraine came together and prayed for unity of believers and for the Gospel to be forwarded…and that there would be no more bloodshed.”

Please continue to pray for Ukraine.  (Image courtesy Sergey Rakhuba via Facebook)

Please continue to pray for Ukraine.
(Image courtesy Sergey Rakhuba via Facebook)

ReachGlobal’s prayer tents are even bringing nonbelievers into the fold. The ministry established one in downtown Maidan when unrest began last fall. Now, they’re expanding and have set up prayer tents in two more cities.

“Donetsk, in particular, is a city where many of the government thugs have come from in the past. It is known for Russian and Ukrainian mafia,” says Richey. “One evening [at the end of March] when they were packing up some of the items from the prayer tent and going home, they were shot at while they were going home.

“The spiritual warfare is very great.”

Will you join Ukraine’s church leaders, congregations, and even nonbelievers in prayer for their nation? Set an alarm on your phone and pray for Ukraine at 9 pm every evening. Richey says, “It’s a time when [church leaders] encourage believers in Ukraine and all around the world to pray for Ukraine: to pray for the unity of believers and to pray for the stability of the country.”

Pray for peace and stability throughout Eastern Europe.

“It’s not a civil war per se, but there would be elements of that,” Richey shares.

“[Ukraine is] a miniature melting pot of the former Soviet Union. And whenever you have very specific clashes between countries, it’s important to remember that…the Church knows no international boundary.”

Write a prayer for Ukraine on our Facebook page.