For Immediate Release
April 11, 2023
CONTACT: Clem Boyd
FRANKLIN, TENNESSEE – Good morning. On this day 2,000 or so years ago, the disciples were marveling at having seen the risen Jesus. From a mockery of a trial to a terrible, unjustified, and public execution to the most unexpected and world-changing story twist in the history of mankind, the followers of Christ had ridden a roller coaster of emotions for 72 hours.
Like the patriarch Joseph, what man had intended for evil, God had turned for dramatic, lifechanging good. And in a few weeks, the miracle would continue with the birth of the church on Pentecost.
In Ukraine, they have also seen God bring life out of death.
Igor Bandura, Vice President of International Affairs for the Baptist Union of Ukraine, shared how God is moving in Ukraine during a virtual gathering in February that was hosted by Mission Eurasia to mark the one-year point of the war.
Russia has targeted faith-based locations all over Ukraine. Pastors have been killed. Churches have been emptied because Ukrainians are fleeing for their lives.
But the church is growing. The God of the resurrection and the God of Pentecost is the answer.
There were 4,000 baptisms in 2022 in the Union of Evangelical Christians – Baptists alone, and this is happening across every evangelical denomination.
A lot of believers left eastern Ukraine to escape the withering Russian attacks. Many congregations were decimated as families understandably tried to find safety in western Ukraine and across the border in Moldova and Poland. But now churches are packed to overflowing.
At the Love of Christ Church in Mykolaiv, not far from Kherson, which was liberated last November, crowds of people have been seeking help, Bandura explained. This was a church of roughly 300 before the war, but when the war started, Pastor Edmund Rudnytskiy and the church planned to close their doors.
Love of Christ Church was down to 40 to 50 in attendance, but they decided to give it two weeks. And now the building is not big enough to hold the 500 people who are coming on a regular basis on a weekend.
In the midst of this terrible tragedy, God is moving hearts and minds, and bringing people to Himself. Despite the efforts of the enemy, the church will not be destroyed. God is building His church.
Russian Pastor Boldly Stands with Ukraine in Spite of Grave Risks
Pastor Yuri Sipko, former president of the Union of Evangelical Christians -Baptists in Russia from 2002-2010, is standing with Ukraine and fiercely criticizing his homeland.
During a Zoom conference organized by Franklin, Tennessee-based Mission Eurasia to remember the one-year mark of the Russian invasion, Sipko praised Ukrainian believers for their “incredible example of courageous Christianity.”
“My brothers of Ukraine, I’d like to express my sincere regret, my sincere apologies for us, the Russians, who became participants in this crime against Ukraine,” he said. “We continue to pray constantly for the Lord to stop this bloodbath.”
Sipko made his remarks even while acknowledging that Russians can now be arrested for speaking out against the war.
Mission Eurasia, headed by Sergey Rakhuba, who was born and raised in Ukraine and who lived in Russia for many years, organized the conference. Mission Eurasia is a church planting and disciple making ministry serving the 13 former republics of the Soviet Union and also Israel.
To set up an interview with Sergey Rahkhuba, president of Mission Eurasia, Igor Bandura, Vice President of International Affairs for the Baptist Union of Ukraine, or with Yuri Sipko, please email Clem Boyd at email@example.com or text or call 724.930.4003.