Two years ago, I made a mini-documentary about L’viv and people’s hopes for the future here and stuff. It offers an interesting perspective and background to the current news / events. You can tell that a lot of people back then were hoping to be a part of the EU. If you would like to see a little more of the bigger picture, please watch.
Imagine being on a trip and staying over at a friends house… You wake up late, roll out of bed with your wife, walk into the kitchen to find your friends already waiting for you with a plate full of eggs and a mug full of strong, black breakfast tea. After rousing conversation about recent events and finishing the contents of the aforementioned plate and mug, you get changed and walk outside to the sight of snow falling softly on the ground, people making there way to work, and the normal hustle and bustle of a large city…
That really sounds like a typical morning on a visit to a city in the middle of a revolution, doesn’t it?
No! What the heck is going on here?
Just in case you missed the news, Ukraine is in the middle of a literal political revolution, but it’s a different kind of revolution. Now, as a foreigner, I try to stay completely out of any and all politics here. I don’t think it’s my place as an American missionary to comment, protest, etc.; however, I think it’s the responsibility of every Christian to pray for the country where they live and the politicians that lead it.
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions,
and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and
all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful
and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is
good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior.
– 1 Timothy 2:1-3
I’m currently based in a city in Western Ukraine called L’viv (the “i” is pronounced “ee” like “bee”). It’s a wonderful city full of life and culture, and it’s far away from the capitol city, Kyiv (pronounced in English as “Ki-yeev” with the first vowel like the “i” in “kid”). There have been protests, riot police, and all kinds of crazy things happening here since the trouble started, and that’s all we see on the news all the way over in far-away L’viv. I was a little scared to come to Kyiv actually. (Katya and I were there to get her visa to America, so we had to make the trip either way.) My father-in-law even gave me a small can of pepper spray “just in case”.
All that to say, just like any other revolution, I expected stuff like:
- Pickpockets and a rise in crime
- Problems with transport and infrastructure like buses or the subway working poorly or not working
- General unrest and tension in the people there
- Businesses not working
Wouldn’t you expect the same? In America, when we hear the word “revolution”, we think AK-47’s and Che Guevara or something. This is totally different.
One of the things that really surprised me and changed my perspective about this revolution was our friends, Andriy and Katya. They were Katya’s small group leaders in L’viv, so we have known them as close friends for a long time. They were so peaceful and so sure in their positions. They were able, in love, to even explain, without fighting, their positions to others of opposite views. This is all in the middle of a real revolution.
Another thing I have been impressed with is a prayer tent that has been set up downtown on the square where the riot police beat a bunch of protesters about a week ago. The ministry there has been amazing – people coming and going, prayer around-the-clock, people even spending the night in the winter on the square downtown to pray for others and for Ukraine.
(Here I took a day or so break from writing this article…)
Unfortunately, as I’ve been in the middle of finishing this article, a lot of the situation has changed. The riot police have come out again in Kyiv and they are just standing in ranks next to the people downtown. We all have our eyes glued to the TV to see what they are going to do. Please, please, please be praying for all that is happening in Kyiv right now. It looks like they might be trying to make a siege of the main square, or they could be preparing to storm the square.
I also really want to encourage church leaders to step up and pray, call your churches to pray, and take this opportunity from God to preach the Gospel to the people around you! When people go through hard times like these, they realize that their hope has to be in something other than themselves and their government. People are hungry for the Truth and hungry for Jesus. Let’s answer the call.