After a couple of requests this week we realized that it was past time for another update. So much has happened and is happening that it is hard to get our heads around everything. Let me first say that we continue to be safe and far away from the conflict. Life continues as “normal” for us. We moved into a new rental home at the beginning of July (you can take a virtual tour on Sarah’s blog, “Sarah’s Snippets “. This has consumed much of our time and energy, but we are beginning to see “light at the end of the tunnel”. Tonight we are having about a dozen kids (missionary kids and embassy kids) over for a Star Wars movie marathon. Tonight and tomorrow morning we’ll watch all six films (in the order they were released, of course :)). Next Friday we are hosting my colleagues and their families for a good old American cookout. Life goes on.
In the midst of that we were shocked, abhorred, deeply saddened – what other words can I use – at the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight 17 by the Russian insurgents fighting against Ukraine in the East. We’ve watched coverage on TV and online in shock and disbelief. We’ve been angered by the blatant lies, disrespect for human life and for the victims of this senseless tragedy, and by the unbelievably weak response of the international community to this atrocity and war crime committed by the lawless “Donetsk Peoples’ Republic” and their patron, Vladimir Putin. The best word I’ve seen used to describe the West’s response is “pusillanious” (had to look that one up!).
While the shooting down of flight MH17 has taken over the headlines, the fighting has not let up in the East. Key prayer points:
1. for the Evangelical churches in the conflict zone. A pastor, his two adult sons and a deacon from one church were brutally tortured and murdered by the Russian insurgents. Part of the philosophy that drives Putin is a belief in the purity of Russian Orthodoxy. This leads him to promote the persecution of Protestants in the region as they are seen as “Western” by default. Pray for the church to have wisdom and strength to persevere during this time of terror.
2. for the refugees. The UN has counted around 110,000 refugees at the current time. The number continues to grow. But getting a sense of the exact need is very difficult. Many have fled the conflict zone to relatives in Ukraine or Russia. There are around 40,000 or so refugees from the Crimea and the eastern regions that are living in temporary facilities who need help. Our ministry partners, Russian Ministries and the Association for Spiritual Renewal, are addressing the needs of refugees and also the needs of people who have been recently liberated by Ukrainian forces. There are many people who have been left with nothing and are struggling to survive. We are working now with our partners to begin to address these needs. Hopefully we will have more to share with you about this soon.
3. for the Ukrainian government. Yesterday the ruling coalition in the Ukrainian parliament (Rada) collapsed. This has mixed blessings – it forces early elections which was something Ukrainians want. But it also adds some instability on top of all of the other problems – military conflict, plane crash, brink of economic collapse. Ukraine needs our prayers and the support of the global community!
4. for global leaders to stand up to Putin and to put an end to his reign of terror in Ukraine. For anyone who wants to understand this better I would recommend reading the following article: http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/christophermajka/2014/07/blundering-ukraine-putins-strategic-debacle
Thank you for your care and concern for us and for Ukraine. We need your prayers and so does this great nation.