Christians inside and outside Ukraine are rallying spiritual support for the beleaguered nation.
TWR and its partners are joining national and international church groups in taking up the tools of prayer, fasting, words of encouragement, and media content to craft a better future for the Eastern European country. A brand-new pastoral series, Reconciliation for Ukraine, is already in development by TWR Ukraine and will address issues of bitterness, forgiveness and healing.
Vyacheslav Nesteruk, president of the Baptist Union in Ukraine, called for his Christian brothers and sisters to fast and pray during the week of March 2-9, 2014.
“Our country has to stay one and whole, and we cannot even allow the thought of division, confrontation and faction,” Nesteruk said in an open letter. “On the contrary, we have to do everything to build up and develop our country to make it spiritually grow and be safe for every citizen.”
Nesteruk urged believers to pray for their countrymen to turn to God in the midst of the crisis, for the election of political leaders who don’t “despise God’s laws,” for peace, and for the stabilization of Crimea, a Ukrainian peninsula overrun by gunman linked to neighboring Russia. The turmoil has pitted those who favor aligning Ukraine more closely with the European Union against those who favor closer ties with Russia.
Oleksandr Turchynov, the acting president of the nation and a member of a church affiliated with the Baptist Union, issued a statement saying, “We are all Ukrainians and we have to join hands for our country. No provocation, looting, mob law. We have to keep faith, assurance and unity. May the Lord bless Ukraine and everybody in it.”
A TWR Ukraine leader reported March 3, 2014, that many churches are gathering twice daily, morning and evening, to pray for the political situation and that one positive outcome of the crisis so far is a widespread renouncement of corruption. At the same time, he added, prices are rising, currency value has slipped and many people have been placed on unpaid vacation.
“Our TWR staff is continuing to work,” the TWR Ukraine leader said. “We pray and produce programs. We are not sure about our local transmissions; surely there will be changes. But so far we are on the air.”
Some TWR Ukraine programming already on the air deals with concerns related to the current instability. But staff hope to persuade TWR supporters locally and around the world to help fund Reconciliation for Ukraine, which is expected to go out to the nation over the airwaves and on the Web and social media.
One of TWR’s oldest partners, ERF Medien of Germany, is gathering prayers from TWR staff around the world to share with Ukrainian Christians and with ERF’s own supporters.
“The primary goal of this initiative is to collect prayer support from within the worldwide TWR family to encourage our Ukrainian TWR partner and to communicate to the Ukrainian listeners (via Ukrainian radio programs) that Christians worldwide care and pray for them and that TWR Ukraine is part of a worldwide family,” wrote Thorsten Grahn, head of ERF international and staff development. “What is unique in this initiative – at least as far as I can see it – is that these prayer requests shall be aired over the radio so that they can possibly impact and inspire hope within the Ukraine.”
More support came from the continent as the European Evangelical Alliance on March 3 echoed the Baptist Union’s call for prayer and fasting and declared, “Ukraine has suffered enough.” The EEA’s news release suggested several specific needs to pray for:
- For courageous peacemakers to stand strong across the whole country: politicians, journalists, security officials and ordinary people.
- That Christians would continue to be agents of reconciliation, peace and hope.
- For the protection of all who work for peace.
- For people’s eyes to be opened to the truth and to what horror could be unleashed if people choose to move further towards conflict.
- For a miracle to happen, making Russia and Ukraine good neighbors that don’t fear each other.
- That Ukraine can again become a stable nation with fair and honest government.