Ukraine at the crossroads

November 29, 2004

AS WE SEND OUT THIS WW, THE UKRAINIAN HIGH COURT IS CONSIDERING THE ALLEGATIONS OF FRAUD DURING LAST WEEK’S ELECTIONS. It could be several days before any verdict is announced. Meanwhile, the tension continues on the streets of Kiev where supporters of Viktor Yushchenko keep vigil, demanding a just outcome. Our YWAM teams from Kiev are out on the streets giving out hot tea and even clothing. They say it’s one of the most exciting times they have ever lived through.

Al Akimoff, regional leader for YWAM Eastern Europe, and a veteran for over three decades of ministry into Eastern Europe, is following developments with great interest, as his parents and grandparents had to flee from the Ukraine under Stalin, in a 25-year trek that took them across Siberia to China-where Al was born-and eventually to America.

Like his family story, the story of the Ukraine is one of perseverance and survival. Al has just sent in the following report and call for prayer:

A thousand years ago, the Ukraine was the center of the first great Slav civilization, Kievan, Rus. Shortly after it was invaded by the Mongols from the East. Over the next seven centuries, Ukraine was dominated by its neighbors: Lithuanians, Poles, Russians, Austrians, and Tartars.

This continued on through more modern times with Russia’s wars with Sweden, Civil War and Nazi occupation. With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 Ukraine finally won it’s independence.

This past decade has been an incredible one for Ukraine. Churches have flourished and some of the largest evangelical churches in Europe today are in Ukraine, the largest with over 25.000 members.

In YWAM Ukraine we have seen some of our most wonderful releases. Our Kiev base is our main hub (in Eastern Europe) for our University of the Nations. Hundreds of Ukrainians have been trained and are today serving all over the former Soviet Nations and the world. Ukraine is especially blessed in the role of sending missionaries; this was true even before 1991.

Today Ukraine stands at the crossroads. It has moved toward independence and democracy. This election was to be a further step in that direction. Instead, there has been a move to once again bring Ukraine under control. To see the normally docile Ukrainians rise up in the manner they have these past days has been incredible! They need our prayers.

Please pray for:
* Our YWAMmers in Ukraine, as they are out in the streets feeding, clothing and ministering to the masses.
* Pray for a just resolution to the conflict. For wisdom for the leaders in Ukraine and from abroad that are there to monitor the situation.
* For freedom, peace and prosperity, three ingredients almost non-existent in the entire history of this nation.

Al’s son Tim worked as an intern journalist on the Kiev Post this past summer. My three sons were also in Kiev in the spring, with their band Eleven. They were invited by the Dutch embassy to be part of a Europe festival, and played to 50,000 in the same square where the crowds are gathered right now. It was evident then how much the younger generation were looking to the west for more freedom, peace and prosperity.

Of course, that can be an illusion too. Let’s pray the Ukrainians will find what they are looking for in Jesus, the way, the truth and the life.

Till next week,

Jeff Fountain

Till next week,

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