On Wednesday, 27 August, I had visitors from Ukraine. Ivan Khrypta, Sr., the Pentecostal Bishop in western Ukraine who I first met more than 21 years ago during my first Ukraine trip came to see me. He is visiting his son who immigrated to the Seattle area about ten years ago. Bishop Khrypta (now retired), with his son serving as our translator, told a sad story of atrocities being committed by Russian separatist terrorists in Eastern Ukraine. They have particularly targeted Evangelical Protestants. In one of the villages, overrun and annexed to what they call ‘New Russia’, these separatist terrorists set up their military headquarters in the commandeered Baptist church. This was one of the villages later freed by the Ukrainian army. In the basement of the Baptist church serving as Separatist headquarters they found stacks of Russian ammunition
He said the goal of the Russian Separatists, supported by Russian Army troops,
is to terrorize and intimidate all faith groups but Russian Orthodox. Many refugee Christians have fled to West Ukraine. In the village where the Bishop lives many Christians have opened their homes to their displaced brothers and sisters. One refugee pastor told of the slaying of his son. A mother with eight children told how her husband was killed as they were forced to flee.
This morning (September 3) I received an email from Bishop Balyuk, a friend now in Kiev with whom I have worked for many years.. He writes: “Concerning Putin, you can trust him as much as you can trust a criminal. He is proclaiming to the whole world that there are no Russian troops in Ukraine. At the same time Russian tanks have completely destroyed two Ukrainian villages next to the Russian border. There were 20 Russian troopers that were captured by Ukrainian soldiers. Regular Russian army has entered Donetsk and Lugansk. Citizens of Mariupol–Ukrainians and ethnic Russians including pastors –are outside their city digging trenches to protect themselves from the Russian military aggression.
“In 1939 in the town of Brest, German and Soviet troops had a joined parade after dividing Poland between the two countries. It is clear that Putin is moved by a spirit of fascism. He became possessed. If he is not stopped now he will do a lot of harm around the world. This is not a war with Russian people – it is a war with devilish ideology. The Ukrainian church is fasting and praying. We believe there is victory in God. His plan and his will shall be done. He has everything under control!”
The war in Ukraine has come even closer to home. One of the young men from the Eunice Brown Home was recently released because he has attained majority (18 by Ukraine law) I have been informed he is now in the Ukrainian Army. If Putin has his way, he will eventually be part of the Russian Army. God forbid.
Join with the Ukrainian Church in
Published on on September 4th, 2014