We haven’t posted too much online concerning the political and military happenings inside Ukraine via our blog. This is partly due to the overwhelming information available already to everyone already. Additionally, we don’t believe our personal mission here is to take sides politically, but to promote Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God.
We grieve over the loss of life, the terror and instability taking place in Eastern Ukraine, and especially the persecution taking place towards the Christian church. We’ve witnessed refugees fleeing their homes, brothers and sisters in Christ opening their facilities, homes and hearts to those caught in the crossfires. Our own Alyosha (Natasha my assistant husband and future Cafe pizza chef) was drafted last month, and is currently close to the battles near Lugansk (he is a cook, but armed with machine gun as well). Last week I heard a local Rzhyschiv young man was killed in battle (land mine). He left behind a wife and two small children – the town gathered for memorial this past week and some say was around 1,000 in attendance. In total, there are 18 from our town fighting in the East of Ukraine, most in their early 20’s.
It’s a very complicated issue for certain, and the heightened use of heavier military equipment on both sides is distressing for those on the ground fighting, and their families. There are parallel realities being portrayed, as is usually the case in intense clashes of worldviews. The Russians accusing the US and EU of tampering and creating instability (Maiden), exploiting it and smearing Russia’s image. The US and EU accusing Russia of doing the same thing, empowering Ukrainian ‘loyalists’ to Russia (as well as sending in their own military trained personnel).
A favorite teacher used to say, “the truth usually lies between the two extremes.” I don’t know if this applies to this current political situation, but I do believe whenever one side plunges fully into taking one side, we open ourselves to brainwashing and an over-exaggeration of the facts. That’s not to say we don’t have strong personal opinions, but that they aren’t as clearly one-sided as others might be.
Many folks email or send us notes (especially family) on facebook and are genuinely interested or concerned in our welfare. So, I wanted to share a few things. Namely, that we are all doing well, and safe. The instability is pretty far from Kiev region, about 6-8hrs of driving. We do ask that you pray with us for our brother Alyosha K that he would come home soon, and strength for Natasha.
Remember, our heart and believe our calling to this part of the world is to reach the Russian speaking population in particular with the hope and life in Jesus Christ. Also, we currently getting more visas to visit Eastern Russia this fall. Tensions are high, and the information is really ratcheting down on the Russian side. We will be offering a private newsletter to our supporters soon and avoiding all public postings related to the issues in Ukraine moving forward as we seek to think long term and build lasting relationships within Russia.