Partners in the Gospel,
When I was in Ukraine recently, I spoke with the UECB leadership and they are most concerned about a new threat facing their churches in the eastern conflict zones. After losing their churches in Crimea, new legal restrictions have come into force that could potentially cause them to lose even more in eastern Ukraine. They are in a position where defying the new law may put them at great risk.
Please pray for their protection. Having visited the conflict zone myself, I can say from firsthand experience that the work they are doing from a physical and spiritual standpoint is critical. I thank the Lord for every one of our supporters that is helping us to meet their needs. Many people in their distress are coming to saving faith in Jesus Christ because of the work of these brave Christians. Below is the official statement from the Ukrainian UECB, and I thank you in advance for your prayers.
For our Savior,
Statement from the Ukrainian Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists
The Baptist churches of eastern Ukraine have faced enduring hostilities for the fifth year. The situation has now become more complicated following the adoption this past February of a law in the Lugansk region, which is under the control of the separatists. From now on, it is forbidden for our churches to conduct worship, hold small groups, or meetings in homes. Also, each religious organization must obtain new registration by August or it will be outside the law. A church can only be registered if there are at least 30 believers permanently residing in the area.
Among other troubling provisions is that distribution of religious literature even among churches is prohibited without the personal written permission of the authorities. Distribution outside of the churches is not even referenced. Our pastors are concerned, and there is lack of clarity on how to act at all, because this new law can be used to blame local churches for espionage, extremism, or terrorist activity. One of our pastors went to the authorities asking for an explanation, and he was told to go to local deputies, who in turn sent him back to the top leadership. Everything goes round in a circle.
Please pray for our pastors and churches, asking God for wisdom in how to lead His churches under these new conditions.