Supporting our Brothers and Sisters in Ukraine and Russia
March 11, 2022
The invasion of Ukraine by Russia has rightly caused international outrage. We are witnessing a massive humanitarian crisis. Thousands of people are being indiscriminately killed and more than a million have fled their homeland. Every day, more and more people suffer in cities without food, water and other basic services. In the midst of all of this, the courage of the Ukrainian people has been astonishing.
Like everyone, we follow news and social media coverage but, even more importantly, we are connecting with friends on the ground so we can better understand how to pray, support and offer practical help.
A long history of Gospel partnership
InterVarsity has a long friendship with our sister IFES movement, CCX Ukraine. Barrett Horne, a retired InterVarsity staff, started a Global Partnership between Canadian and Ukrainian students in the 1990s. One of the students who participated in those early trips now runs a program for orphaned and street children in Ukraine. Jamie MacArthur, our current Atlantic Director, served as associate general director for CCX Ukraine for several years. Barrett served as Regional Secretary for Eurasia for 10 years, just as countries such as Ukraine were breaking free of the Soviet Union and becoming democratic and free.
Two years ago, one of our Canadian staff members, Vera Ivakina, moved to Poland to serve with our sister IFES student movement, ChSA. During COVID, Vera has been facilitating online Bible Studies with students in Ukraine and Belarus. Now she is helping co-ordinate refugee help, particularly caring for International Students fleeing Ukraine.
Ukraine holds a special place in Canadian hearts. The IFES movement in Ukraine has been one of the bright places in the region.
The invasion and subsequent war has torn this apart. Even so, we hear almost daily stories of Ukrainians responding to the crisis with courage and faith in spite of incredible pain and suffering.
Specific Prayer Requests
Daily we receive prayer requests, including:
- Many CCX staff have left Ukraine for safer places. Pray for them as they find family housing and school options for their children.
- Some CCX male staff have sent their families to safer places while they serve with the resistance troops. One staff shared he is in a place that is constantly being bombed, with shortages in food and water. Pray for provision and courage.
- A pastor with whom Vera works asks for prayer that there will be light in darkness. Pray that the best in the Ukrainian church is seen through this conflict. Pray that Christians will truly be a light in the darkness.
- Ukrainian staff have been asking students are you prepared spiritually? Please pray as students and other believers minister to their neighbours and preach the love, peace and comfort of Jesus, many would turn to God, find answers to their questions and comfort in Him.
- Many people in Russia do not support the war. A few days ago, we heard from a Russian staff as he grieved the war and described the pressure and fear many Russians are facing. Please pray for protection for Russian believers as they speak truth and that they would have courage to stand against evil.
- Many international students are fleeing Ukraine and facing discrimination at the border. Please pray for their safety, that God would give them favour and protection as they travel, that accommodations would be provided and they would be able to transfer to different universities in Europe to continue their education.
What Else Can We Do?
IFES movements Ukraine, Russia and across Eurasia are facing very dark days. We believe that light shines in the darkness and that the darkness does not overcome it. We stand with our brothers and sisters as they face significant challenges.
We have created a fund to support our brothers and sisters through this crisis. We will disburse these funds between the IFES Ukraine Emergency Fund, the work that Vera is doing in Poland with students and refugees, and other movements in Eurasia
We have already sent funds to help support the work with refugees in Poland.
In the face of such enormous need, we clearly cannot do everything but we can do something. Our priority is resourcing our friends on the ground to multiply their impact and support their ministry.
We Can Give
Join us in contributing to the Ukraine Emergency Fund. Click here: ivcf.ca/ukraine