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Ukraine: A Nation in Crisis

In the day of my trouble I shall call upon You, for You will answer me (Psalm 86:7)

Thousands filled Kiev’s “Maidan” Square at the height of the protests.

Thousands filled Kiev’s “Maidan” Square at the height of the protests.

The nation of Ukraine is in crisis. It all began last December, when then-Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich backed away from signing a trade agreement with the European Union in favor of Russia. It wasn’t long before angry protests broke out in the capital of Kiev. Thousands filled the central square in Kiev called “The Maidan,” demanding Mr. Yanokovich’s ouster.

More than 100 people were killed in riot police actions prior to the topping of the Yanukovich government.

More than 100 people were killed in riot police actions prior to the topping of the Yanukovich government.

The unrest eventually turned bloody, with the government sending troops to drive the protesters from the square. More than 100 people were killed, and that sent the protests into fever pitch. Eventually, President Yanokovich fled the country, and the Ukrainian parliament elected its Speaker, Alexander Turchynov, as acting president until new presidential elections could be held in May. This was an historic decision, because Mr. Turchynov is a committed Baptist believer—the first time ever that an evangelical Christian has headed a former Soviet country.

Russia massed troops along the border with Ukraine, and seized the Crimean peninsula where they have a naval base.

Russia massed troops along the border with Ukraine, and seized the Crimean peninsula where they have a naval base.

Sadly, the unrest did not end with the old government’s ouster. Russia holds a naval base in Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, and soon moved in to take Crimea over. Then a controversial annexation vote followed, where the majority of Crimea’s residents allegedly voted to join Russia. Violence broke out in eastern Ukraine, where there are many ethnic Russians and support for Russia is strong. Refugees from the east and Crimea flooded into the rest of Ukraine. The situation sparked Cold War-style tensions between Western governments and Russia, with mutual sanctions imposed. Both Russian and Ukrainian Christians found themselves caught up in the turmoil, praying for peace and direction toward a godly response.

The Church’s Response: The Crisis Evangelism Fund

Gifts to the Crisis Evangelism Fund will help local churches reach people whose lives have been shattered by the crisis.

Gifts to the Crisis Evangelism Fund will help local churches reach people whose lives have been shattered by the crisis.

Leaders of the faithful Ukrainian churches—made up of both Russian and Ukrainian Christians—prayed about how best to reach out to the refugees and other victims in the love of Christ. Missionary pastors in the zones of conflict needed urgent help, and above all, they didn’t want to miss an opportunity to share the Gospel—the only thing that can bring lasting peace and reconciliation. The churches reached out to SGA partners, and so we created a Crisis Evangelism Fund to help them seize this opportunity to reach their hurting people.

The people of Ukraine—in doubt of what will happen to their country, and desperately needing the Gospel!

The people of Ukraine—in doubt of what will happen to their country, and desperately needing the Gospel!

The Crisis Evangelism Fund provides assistance for the churches to send crisis response teams, who will help local pastors who have few resources. The local churches will be enabled to distribute food aid, Bibles, Christian literature, and other essentials as needed and available. Most importantly, distressed families and individuals will hear the life-changing Gospel and experience the love of Christ. If you would like to help, please call SGA at 1-800-BIBLE-50, or visit our website at www.sga.org. And above all, please pray! So many broken people—individuals and families—are seeking answers as their lives have been disrupted beyond imagination. We want to reach them and love them . . . in His name!

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