Impressions from the Maidan

We went to the Maidan today, and then on to the street that used to be called “Institutska” (now known as “Heroes of the Maidan”), where many of the protesters were shot. That was really hard to see – it was hard not to cry. We got to stand on a sidewalk where, on the news, we saw bullets flying through people. This is now hallowed ground.

Tires used for building a fire-barricade.
Tires used for building a fire-barricade.
Barricades  that protected the protesters from snipers (shooting from behind the camera up a hill)
Barricades that protected the protesters from snipers (shooting from behind the camera up a hill)
One of the "Heavenly Hundred"
One of the “Heavenly Hundred”
Bullet-holes in a telephone pole.
Bullet-holes in a telephone pole.
A monument to the heroes that died.
A monument to the heroes that died.
Pictures of the heroes that died.
Pictures of the heroes that died.
Molotov Cocktails
Molotov Cocktails
We found this hanging.
A swan hanging from one of the makeshift monuments.
Children's pictures on the Maidan
Children’s pictures on the Maidan
The hill where many of the protesters were shot
The hill where many of the protesters were shot
Pictures of the "Heavenly Hundred".
Pictures of the “Heavenly Hundred”.
On the left, it says "Jesus, protect us!", and on the right it says, "Heavenly Hundred - eternal glory!"
On the left, it says “Jesus, protect us!”, and on the right it says, “Heavenly Hundred – eternal glory!”
Katya looking at one of the memorials to the heroes.
Katya looking at one of the memorials to the heroes.
The Maidan
The Maidan
Barbed wire on one of the barricades.
Barbed wire on one of the barricades.
One of the shields of the protestors. The flower is stuck inside a bullet-hole.
One of the shields of the protestors. The flower is stuck inside a bullet-hole.
The makeshift hospital that the police burned
The makeshift hospital that the police burned

Tomorrow there will be a “referendum”…

voteTomorrow in Crimea, there will be a “referendum” to the people of Crimea. Basically that means that everyone in Crimea will be able to vote on whether or not they want to be a part of Russia; however, no one is really expecting a fair count, either, especially with Russian troops prowling the streets of Crimea and other parts of Southern Ukraine.

Please pray for this situation. Please pray that God would convict the men and women involved in this sham that they are sinning against God and their own people. Pray that God-fearing men and women would stand up against this unconstitutional vote tomorrow and that God would somehow foil Putin’s plans to annex parts of Ukraine.

Picture Credit – by liz west on, some rights reserved.

What are we doing next?

There are many people that are asking, “What are you doing next? Are you still going back?” Our answer is, “Yes.” God has called us to Ukraine. We know that He hasn’t changed that calling, so we are going back as planned on April 15th. Please pray for safe travels and that we would be able get the things we need to bring back to Ukraine. Also, please pray for favor with Lufthansa Airlines. They normally only allow one bag per person, but our travel agent said that they may allow us one extra bag because we are missionaries, but she won’t be able to know for a couple more weeks.

Click here to contact us if you would like to help.

Please keep praying for Ukraine!

1957357_827928710554498_1469620641_nKatya and I were glued to the news Tuesday night as we literally watched Kyiv burn. Thank God it wasn’t the buildings there on fire. It was the barricades on Independence Square.

I don’t know how well you can make out what’s going on in the picture, but those walls of fire are what were defending the lives of several hundred people from being killed by police.

The police are trying to take the square again, and the protestors there, in order to fend them off, set their barricades on fire. That night, they survived over 12 hours of constant attack by the police through the night. They were able to take a breath Wednesday in the daylight to rebuild their barricades.

Screen Shot 2014-01-24 at 2.42.19 PMAnother thing that’s been hard is watching Katya through all of this. Seeing her heart break as the nation, the place she knows and loves and was born in, is torn apart is something that no husband is prepared for. Please pray for us, but pray for Ukraine… They need it so much. If you would like to read more, please click on the links below… and PRAY! Please even pray for the news. I was watching Fox News this morning, and they were TOTALLY biased in their presentation against the protestors.

God, please save Ukraine.

If you would like to follow the situation on the news, please use the following links:

Oh my dear Ukraine! (Katya’s first post!)

ImageIt is so hard to be here in America when all these things are happening in Ukraine and I have no idea what Ukraine will be when we will come back.

All that to say, I see more and more that this is not all about politics any more; it is a spiritual battle against those “who call evil good and good evil,” (Isaiah 5:20,21). It is a battle for justice and truth. I love that churches have an important role and influence in this protest, so that even the government saw it and began to threaten them. A lot of priest, pastors, spiritual leaders and just believers are at the “Maydan” to share the Gospel, to preach, to pray, to encourage, to help…. and people are coming to God! Is’t it awesome!?!?! But my heart hurts, because still those people get hurt.

Let us hold fast and pray for Ukraine. These days are very important for our country.

Let us pray for:

  • That the Ukrainian people would turn to God and Jesus Christ
  • People on the square – their safety and stability
  • Security forces – so that they protected instead of hurt people
  • Changes in the hearts of the government
  • The economic weight of the protests on the nation

Thank you and God bless!

A different kind of revolution…

20131209-163944.jpgImagine 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?

20131209-164122.jpgJust 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.

20131209-164103.jpgAnother 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.

20131209-164148.jpgI 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.