Compassion & Presence

  • In NEWS
  • December 6, 2022
Compassion & Presence

The number 1 socio-political issue of 2022 for the EEA family is, of course, the war in Ukraine. Russia’s renewed invasion and the resulting destruction, atrocities, trauma, injuries and deaths.  It has been remarkable to see how Christians have led the way in welcoming and caring for those who had to flee the country. But, in this article, we want to focus on the Ukrainians themselves within the nation. Their example is humbling.


Already at the end of 2021, Ukrainian Evangelicals sensed that more trouble was coming. They had been caring for internally displaced people (IDPs) from the parts of the country occupied since 2014. And they suspected that a new wave of refugees would be moving westwards. Evangelicals prepared in prayer and with practical plans for more humanitarian mission.


24th February brought the new Russian invasion and it was the churches who were the immediate responders – evacuating refugees and providing food and shelter, helping people both leave the country and to stay.


Very quickly, the Ukrainian authorities wanted to partner with the churches. The ongoing humanitarian effort is huge. Evangelicals have been seen to be the ones who are present and who care. They are trusted. And doors have opened to cooperate ecumenically and with other partners. Along the way, unity among the 13000 Evangelical churches in the country has strengthened beautifully.


More than 7 million Ukrainians left the country but there are 7 million IDPs in the nation and 13 million people are in warzone areas. Under Russian occupation, Ukrainian Evangelicals have been presumed to be western spies and suffered extra surveillance, physical abuse and confiscation or destruction of church buildings. Other faith communities have suffered similarly. You can read more details here.


In the midst of the horror, the Church has been tending to emotional and spiritual needs, sharing the hope of the Gospel and seeing two to three times more people attending church services. Army chaplains are caring on the frontline. More people are being trained to deliver psychological assistance.


Partnership with Evangelicals outside of Ukraine is, of course, sustaining the efforts. Prayer, finances, provision of goods and training are all vital. With the arrival of winter and the critically low levels of basic utilities, keeping people alive is becoming even harder. The resilience of the Church remains strong. But we really need to pray for pastors who are under such immense pressure.


Ivan Rusyn, President of the Ukrainian Evangelical Theological Seminary in Bucha was interviewed in the summer. This short film expresses both the horror of war but also how the Lord is using His Church. Christians suffer the same scars as everyone else and they do not have all the answers. But compassion and presence are enough.


We all know it is only the Prince of Peace who can bring this war to an end with justice and healing. Let’s keep praying.


Give here to the World Evangelical Alliance’s Ukraine Winter Survival Fund.


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