Ukrainians seek comfort in church


Eastern Europe


Nadezhda Dolya, 65, retired saleswoman, gestures in front of a church in the Russian village of Maslova Pristan outside Belgorod, a few kilometres from the Ukrainian border. Photo AFP, Alexander Nemenov

As tensions between Ukraine and Russia rise, Ukrainian Christians are strengthened in their faith. “People are open to Jesus like never before.”

About 40 kilometres from the Russian border, in the Kharkiv region, pastor Anton Tishenko and his church – the New Generation Church – are having 21- day period of prayer and fasting. “As a congregation, we gather at seven in the morning to pray for peace in Ukraine, for rebirth. We do not cease our prayer and fasting. And we believe that God will protect us because he is very faithful”, he said according to Chrezescijanin.

Tishenko notices that, despite the tensions, people are turning to faith like never before. Last year, 27,000 people gathered at the Kharkiv stadium for a church-organised evangelistic crusade. “People are open to Jesus Christ like never before”, Tishenko says. “More than 10,000 people accepted Jesus as their Saviour.”

Message of hope

Despite the Russian threat, the pastor wants to continue spreading the Evangelical message of hope. “It will be a great opportunity for us to preach more, pray more and see how many people come to the Lord.”

In 2021, the Ukrainian Bible Society carried out the “Handwritten Bible” campaign in which more than 30,000 people participated. Participants came from all over the country, including areas occupied or annexed by Russian separatists Bibel.no writes.

Pastor Ruslan Kukharchuk also participates in the 21 days of prayer. And there is also an initiative where people gather every Friday to pray for the country, he tells Dagen.

Need is growing

Kukharchuk, who also leads the Christian media organisation Novomedia and is the president of an evangelical family organisation, feels the tensions of the situation. He sees how the need for humanitarian aid is growing. “Needs have increased because the conflict causes our currency to decline in value.”

Kukharchuk also notices that evangelical churches have gained public trust because they contributed to humanitarian and spiritual aid in difficult situations.

Most church activities can continue, according to the pastor. “Only foreign speakers cancel their participation.” Even though it is hard for foreigners to come to Ukraine, there is one thing they can do to support the local churches. Kukharchuk: “Feel free to pray for us. Such help is appreciated.”

Responsible for 20 children

Because of the threat of a military conflict, many foreign workers leave Ukraine. Except for the American missionary Jane Hyatt, Chrezescijanin writes. “I watch and see how things are going; we’ll just trust God and see what is next”, she told CBN News from her home in Kiev.

Hyatt runs a Christian rehabilitation home for children. She feels too responsible for them to leave. “I have been living here for 26 years, and as of today, I do not plan to evacuate. We have over twenty children here; I feel I have to do as much for them as I can”, she says.

She also prays for “peace, for some sort of resolution, for Putin”, she adds. “I prayed with the words of Proverbs 21:1: That God was holding the king’s heart in His hands and guiding it like flowing water.”


At the same time, the CBN service Orphan’s Promise, which has 32 projects near the border, plans to evacuate all its employees in the case of quick deterioration of the situation. “We are ready to work with refugees in the western part of Ukraine. We have everything to keep our people safe”, Olga Buznitsa from the CBN service says.

The chairman of the Russian Union of Evangelical Christian Baptists, Petr Mitskevich, calls for prayer for mercy, InVictory reports. During a meeting with the leaders-pastors of the brotherhood, he emphasised that the church must “continue to seek comfort, preach God’s Word and be faithful to Christ. Let us be spiritually vigilant, not afraid, but let us testify of the Lord, abide in His Word and prayer.”



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