Updated: Mar 24, 2022
NRP Apostolic Team Leader
I’m going to Ukraine with Pastor Steve Crombie. Let me tell you why. Actually, we will go to Romania, the two areas of the border with Ukraine where desperate people who only want to live and protect the life of their children are fleeing. Their crime for the impending death penalty is being a Ukrainian. Having a certain nationality that is not Russian is all that is worthy of execution as the world watches, wondering who will be next. Wanting to live free from tyranny, these people understand it well.
Millions of Ukrainians were murdered by Hitler. It is estimated that 1.6 million people within the boundaries of Ukraine were executed (mostly by mass firing squads). They were simply in the way of Hitler’s global appetite. Ukraine was strategic land on the way to Russia. Ukraine was once called the breadbasket of Europe, with its rich fields and mines of natural resources. Mile for mile, Ukraine is some of the most endowed real estate on the planet. Stalin also targeted Ukraine for its wealth of food production to feed its socialist machine. The result was almost 4 million Ukrainians died, primarily of starvation. Anne Applebaum's classic work “Red Famine” chronicles the hatred and prejudice aimed at Ukraine.
I was arrested in Ukraine in 1986. It was obvious to me then, having traveled through other parts of the then Soviet Union, that the Soviet spite of these people was on display. Not much has changed.
Ukraine is still rich in all its natural resources. It's still a Thorofare to Europe and has a strategic position on the Black Sea that under Russian control could easily block the imports and exports of many of the smaller nations around Ukraine that depend on them and their ports.
Ukraine has also led most former Soviet states in religious liberty; some of the largest gospel-preaching churches in Europe are in Ukraine. The current President, Zelensky, stopped local governments from registering churches in 2020.
Ukraine has always had a high percentage of Jews. During my ministry there, it was common to meet converted Jews in the churches. Even then, they had an evangelistic fever. My dear friend, Evon Lubchanko, was born to Polish parents in Ukraine and spent 25 years of his life in the Russian gulag, three separate jail sentences, for preaching the gospel. He’s the man that asked this question to me, “Is your church more American or Christian?” That was a game-changing question!
So that’s why I’m going to the Ukraine border. God has a people there, precious people, who need love and encouragement.
On the strategic side, we have good contacts in Romania. My goal is to see what Romanian pastors we can partner with to offer aid and ministry teams. The Romanian church, with limited resources, has turned their sanctuaries into a place for people who have lost everything, that they may have a place to lay their heads. In the years to come, there will be much work to do. Jesus said, “As much as you have done it to the least of these, you have done it unto Me.”
I actually had someone, more or less, suggest to me that (in their words), “Because Ukraine was the most corrupt country in the world, they might have this coming to them!” First, where they get their statement is preposterous and ignorant. Obviously the country right next door to them, Russia, is more corrupt. How about Iran or Iraq or Azerbaijan or El Salvador or Kazakhstan? How about Mexico or Venezuela or North Korea or China or Colombia? The list goes on. I could mention America that has murdered over 60 million preborn little boys and girls. That’s 20 million more than the whole population of Ukraine. To say such things is not only totally contrary to the heart of God, it is completely disregarding the facts. I’m not suggesting Ukraine is Zion or a pinnacle of righteousness. What I am saying is that we are our brothers keepers, and we have a gospel opportunity.
I feel like I must go so we can give and work with confidence that what we’re doing is really going to make a difference in the days to come. Please keep me in your prayers. There's a good chance as you read this that’s where I’ll be. If you would like to help with this effort, you can do so by giving HERE. We need an outpouring of generosity. Please do all you can.