“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” (NLT)
Since the earliest of days, the Slavic peoples have suffered. This is not the first conquest of Ukraine, it is one of many in the long history of this part of the world. The Mongol empire of the 13th century included most of the borders of the Soviet Empire but went all the way to India and included China. These are the same powers in the dark world trying to take control over what they have always felt was theirs.
As I watch the news and see refugees pouring across the borders into Poland and Romania and Moldova, I can’t but think of my own family escaping the horrendous starvation that Stalin imposed on Ukraine in the 1930s.
Ukraine has always been a thorn in the empire’s side. It is the spiritual center of this part of the world. Accepting Christianity in 988 AD it became a beacon of light. In the 1920s and 30s revival came to Ukraine and thousands became believers and were filled with the Holy Spirit. Among them my grandparents, who became some of the first missionaries in modern times, reaching out to the Cossacks. Thousands of others from this revival were spread across the Soviet Union as Stalin sent them off to Siberia and the far corners of the empire.
My generation followed, their example and we went out under Youth with a Mission. Many of us Slavic YWAMers are children of refugees who fled the grasp of the empire. My own family, many of whom served in YWAM including brothers, sister and our own children, Peter and Luba Iliyn and Kelly Hoodikoff, George Davidiuk, just to name a few.
YWAM began its work in Ukraine while it was still under Soviet domination. Underground Discipleship schools that were held in Estonia in the mid 80’s, were recorded by Ukrainian students and smuggled across Ukraine.
With the fall of the wall and the open doors that came with that, YWAM Ukraine thrived. Thousands came from all over the world to preach the gospel openly. Kelly and Vicky Hoodikoff came from YWAM New York and planted a base in Kyiv. That base became an important training base that eventually housed the University of the Nations campus that serves all of Eastern Europe.
Other bases were established in all the corners of Ukraine including Crimea. Ternopil became another center for the Western part of Ukraine. This was established by a team from Salem, Oregon led by another Ukrainian refugee from Canada, Deborah Skalinder and her husband.
Darlene Cunningham came to help us lead a Leadership Training School that brought 120 young leaders to Kyiv from where dozens of new bases and initiatives spread out to all of Eastern Europe.
In saying all of this, Russia too experienced this spring time of freedom and the spread of the gospel. For the first time in centuries places that had been robbed of their language, music and culture were found and restored. Some of our larger Ywam bases are in these places.
Today, there is a new generation of YWAMers across Eastern and Central Europe and Russia who have not lived under the rule of Communism and are not afraid to step out to do new things in new ways to reach their lands. They are not afraid of speaking out during this time and many are risking their freedom to stand with their Ukrainian brothers and sisters. Let’s pray for them as well.
Would you join us in prayer for Ukraine?
Most of our workers have been evacuated form Kyiv. Some have chosen to stay to care for the campus and are taking in refugees that are losing their homes.
Our base in Ternopil is now the main refugee processing center for the city as well as housing many of the YWAMers coming from Kyiv and the east. They need help with food, bedding, and other supplies for themselves and the many thousands they are serving.
Pray for our YWAMers that have left the country, many to Poland, Romania, the YWAMers in those countries are taking them in. Men from 18 to 60 are not allowed to leave the country so many of these leaving are mothers with their children. They too will need much financial help.
Many miracles are being reported and let’s pray for many more and be aware of where our battle lies, not with flesh and blood. As YWAMers let us pray as the Holy Spirit leads us and go deeper than just what the news shows us.
We will continue to update you as much as we can from our people in Ukraine and those who are now in safe havens who are getting reports from family and friends.
They need financial help and you can go to the following website to give. These will be distributed by our Ukrainian YWAMers and 100% will go to the needs in Ukraine and those who are refugees outside.
Click Here To Donate: www.ywamslavicministries.org/donate
For the Kingdom,
Al Akimoff and the Slavic Ministries Team