Since November of last year, Russia has built up nearly 100,000 troops on the border with Ukraine. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will visit Ukraine this week amid fears of a Russian invasion.

Throughout January, Russia has shipped dozens of people out of its Kyiv embassy back to Moscow. The U.S. and other Western countries have strongly warned Russia against an invasion as political tensions mount.

Eric Mock with the Slavic Gospel Association says, “From a national perspective, whether it’s a Russian perspective, or it’s a Ukrainian perspective, or an American perspective, there’s a lot of guesswork. There’s a lot of tensions, there’s a lot of fears. Yet, for the pastors and the leaders in Ukraine, they find themselves faithfully discharging the ministry that the Lord would have them do, even in the midst of these hard times.”

Ukrainian Christians

Local Christians believe the fear and uncertainty will bring an openness to Jesus in Ukraine. Mock says, “Those that are older remember the days under the Soviet Union when there was a persecution of the believers. And during those days they prayed for those who persecuted them. They were people who led with love, who led with faithfulness.”

“If this year is going to be filled with heightened conflict, the pastors in Ukraine are convinced it presents a heightened opportunity for the Gospel.”

That’s a consistent attitude for these churches, Mock says. They see every hardship as an opportunity to bear witness to Jesus. Mock says, “We had one pastor that was literally having a portion of his leg removed due to an infection. As his leg was being removed, he was so excited that the Lord gave him an opportunity to share the Gospel with the surgeons during the procedure.”

Pray for peace in this region. Ask God to strengthen and grow the churches.


Written by Kevin Zeller. This story originally appeared at Mission Network News and is republished here with permission.