September 16, 2014
Crisis in Ukraine
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Dorothy Patterson sees Ukraine's burdens
FORT WORTH, Texas (BP) -- Dorothy Patterson, in a visit to Ukraine and Georgia, saw firsthand that women "have a very great burden to bear" in the two Eastern European countries.
Crimean tension stirs call for prayer, Bibles
CRIMEA, Ukraine (BP) -- Crimean pastor Kostya Bakonov said he believes the conflict in Ukraine is not only a political battle, but a battle for souls as well, calling for more Bible and more prayer.
Ukraine-Russia tensions expand ministry
KIEV, Ukraine (BP) -- Tensions rose to dangerous levels as Russian forces occupied Ukraine's Crimean peninsula in late February, but Ukrainian Baptists aren't slowing down their ministry to a nation battered by months of internal crisis.
CALL TO PRAYER: God-honoring fasts
Pastor Ronnie Floyd shares about the importance of both prayer and fasting and how they are "important and integral ingredients in the lives of His followers."
Believers in Ukraine hopeful as Baptist becomes president
KIEV, Ukraine (BP) -- A Baptist preacher has been elected as Ukraine's interim president, prompting calls for Christians to pray for the beleaguered nation and its new leader.
New interim president Oleksandr Turchynov was the right-hand man of Yulia Tymoshenko, the former prime minister imprisoned by Viktor Yanukovych when Yanukovych became president in 2010. The former prime minister was released immediately following Yanukovych's removal from office Feb. 23, an ousting that came on the heels of a three-month-long protest movement in Kiev, the nation's capital. Parliament voted Turchynov interim president until early elections take place in May. "We need to pray for him," said Nik Ripken,* an expert on the persecuted church and 25-year veteran with the International Mission Board. Baptists in Ukraine have a reputation, a moral base, that dates back to their witness to the government during the days of the Soviet Union, said Ripken, who visited with many of Ukraine's Baptist leaders in 1998 to hear and record the stories of their faith and persecution in that era. "Now they [Baptists] are reaping the rewards of that witness and moral fiber," he said. "We must pray that they do not lose in power what they held so dear in opposition." Tim Johnson,* an IMB worker in Kiev, said Turchynov is generally well liked by the public and has a reputation for being honest and trustworthy. Turchynov has been in touch with the leaders of Ukraine's union of Baptist churches, and they are supportive of his appointment and committed to pray for him, Johnson said. "My Ukrainian friends have expressed pride that a Baptist can hold such a role in a majority Orthodox country," Johnson said.
WORLDVIEW: Weary of the world's suffering
RICHMOND, Va. (BP) -- Did you see the picture of Marwan, the 4-year-old Syrian boy recently found wandering in the desert near the Syria-Jordan border?
Ukraine volunteer team intent on staying
Church's Ukraine volunteers "are not going to come back early unless they are forced to."
-- Pastor Byron McWilliams
ODESSA, Texas (BP) -- A Texas Baptist volunteer team in Kiev remains in Ukraine's capital despite riots that began ravaging the city Tuesday (Feb. 18) after weeks of peaceful protests.
Ukraine's violence escalates; churches share Scripture & pray
KIEV, Ukraine (BP) -- Scripture portions helped provide a flicker of faith as violence escalated in Ukraine on Feb. 18. At least 25 were killed and hundreds injured as government forces acted to forcibly remove protesters from Kiev's Independence Square. The dead include civilians and police officers. The Interior Ministry demanded that protesters leave the square by 8 p.m. Tuesday. When the deadline passed, riot police dismantled barricades with the help of armored vehicles, water cannons and stun grenades.
"(W)hile they are praying for peace in the land, God is trying to bring peace into people's hearts."
-- IMB worker in Kiev
Some protesters responded by throwing Molotov cocktails and paving stones dug up from the streets. But churches near the mayhem responded differently. "Thousands of Scripture portions have been distributed and the prayer tent on Independence Square is very active," said International Mission Board worker Tim Johnson*, who was in close proximity to the violence Tuesday. Many churches have been using a tent-based outreach in Independence Square to pray for individuals, serve hot tea, hand out tracts and share their faith during the three-month upheaval in Ukraine and its capital city, Kiev. It is unclear what sparked the mid-February sudden rise in violence, with each side blaming the other. Protests began Nov. 21 when Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych backed away from a trade deal with the European Union in favor of accepting financial aid from Russia. The conflict has now been named "EuroMaidan," Ukrainian for "Eurosquare." "Tensions in the center of Kiev are extremely high," Johnson said. "I was downtown when the metro system was shut down so I joined the ranks of the walkers, trying to find a bus that would stop. Since they were overloaded, there were dozens of people at every stop trying to board, but only one or two might crowd in. I walked two hours from downtown to our apartment, but it was a good time to prayerwalk." Johnson said all IMB personnel in Ukraine are safe and in contact with local believers to support their efforts to share Christ in the midst of the violence. Brady Sample*, an IMB worker who lives in Kiev, said God is at work even amid the violence. "This past month we have seen an amazing outpouring of God's Spirit," said Sample, who works closely with the Ukrainian Baptist Union ...
Ukraine's 'EuroMaidan' protests escalate
KIEV, Ukraine (BP) -- As conflict in Ukraine heads into its third month, Ukrainians are losing hope for a peaceful resolution due to mounting hostility.
Troubles began when the Ukrainian government failed to sign a trade agreement with the European Union and, instead, signed a deal for financial assistance from Russia that is opposed by many Ukrainians.
Ukraine's religious freedom at risk, some warn
KIEV, Ukraine (BP) -- Amid months-long protests that recently turned violent in Ukraine, observers are warning that hastily-imposed anti-dissent laws inadvertently threaten religious liberty and the future of Christian ministries in the Eastern European nation.
The unrest began in November when protestors began demanding the president's resignation over accusations of corruption and a decision to strengthen ties with neighboring Russia rather than agreeing to a modernizing trade deal with the European Union.
EDITOR'S JOURNAL: Leaked reports, ballot votes & being Baptist
Kelly Boggs, editor of the Louisiana Baptist Message, reports and comments on further details about Louisiana College's trustee vote to exonerate the college president, Joe Aguillard, of charges of misappropriation of funds and of misleading trustees.

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