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Renewed Fighting Flares in Ukraine

Partners in the Gospel,

I am writing today with a heavy heart as news comes in about renewed fighting near Donetsk in eastern Ukraine. According to AFP and other media, separatists Tuesday unleashed a massive rocket assault following a bus shelling that killed 12 people. It was the deadliest incident in eastern Ukraine since last September, when a truce was negotiated between the Kiev central government and the separatists.

The fighting appears to be centered along a line northwest of Donetsk and the devastated village of Tonenko—population 300. The village is largely abandoned except for a hardy few who remain, but the territory is key access to the Donetsk airport.

Russia and Ukraine have traded accusations on who was responsible for the bus attack. In other developments, Kiev now also plans to apply for NATO membership, which Russia views as both confrontational and a threat to their national security.

In the midst of all this tragedy and heartache, the evangelical churches SGA serves in Ukraine continue to reach out with the Gospel and proclaiming the reconciling love of Christ. Assisted through SGA’s Crisis Evangelism Fund, teams of missionary pastors and church workers have distributed Bibles, Christian literature, and tons of aid including food, warm clothing, linens, mattresses, heating coal, and other assistance as needed. A team from Ukrainian Baptist churches is preparing for another journey into the eastern regions to distribute aid, and to assess ongoing needs.

In addition, SGA has received a special letter from Pastor Valery Antonyuk, president of the Ukrainian Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists. It expresses the deep thankfulness of the Ukrainian churches for the help rendered by SGA partners. We will soon be publishing Pastor Antonyuk’s letter in its entirety.

Please join us in prayer that the fighting and bloodshed will cease, and that God will open many hearts to the Gospel during these troubled times.

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