Perhaps images of Eastern Europe pop into your mind, or of Andrei Shevchenko, or possibly the current gas crisis with Russia? At UCCF Forum in September 2008 there was an appeal which raised a substantial amount of money to help fund a gospel distribution project amongst Ukrainian and Russian students. It would be good for us to pray for out brothers and sisters in Ukraine too. Giving them a financial gift is fantastic and we should give from our abundance more. Yet at the same time, and contrary to worldly wisdom, we believe that prayer is so much more effective than money in transforming lives! If you’re anything like me you may find it difficult to pray for things without a reasonable level of knowledge about what you’re praying for, even if God knows the needs and situations already. So here is some info for anyone interested in praying for the student movement and the church beyond our little country…
What do you think of when I mention the nation of Ukraine?
Population: Roughly 50 million.
Economy: Rich in natural resources.
Politics: Communist era ended in 1991, yet relations towards Russia still a contentious and devisive issue.
Religion: Under Communism the evangelical church thrived despite severe repression. It was the Bible belt of the Soviet bloc. Today freedom of religion is granted yet traditional religions of Catholocism and Eastern Orthodoxy hold sway. Ukraine has sent 906 missionaries to abroad, whilst receiving 463!
The student movement in Ukraine, established in 1992, is called CCX. Whilst students in Ukraine are more restricted in preaching the gospel and have far fewer full time workers than we have in Britain, christian students are still faithful in sharing the good news with their friends and coursemates. This has to be done through private Bible studies with friends rather than using university rooms, where it is illegal to hold gospel meetings. CCX runs an English camp each summer which also enables them to show and tell the gospel to their non-christian friends. ‘Identity’ is the name of the gospel project that British students helped to fund. Like the ‘free’ project in Britain, it will enable Ukrainian (and Russian) students to have a well-designed, attractive copy of Mark’s gospel which they can read with their non-christian mates.
Please pray for…
An end to the current gas crisis, which is causing inflation and leaving many with no heating in the winter. Pray for christians to be firm in their faith in such turbulent times.
CCX ‘to increase their fruitfulness in reaching out with the good news of Jesus in a world that seems to offer only bad news’ (from IFES prayer-line)
‘Identity’. That students would have a personal encounter with Jesus Christ as they pick up a copy of Mark’s gospel and read it through.
Much of the information used to write this blog entry came from IFES and Operation World.
Operation World: www.operationworld.org/country/ukra/owtext.html#1-1