July 25, 2014
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Crisis in Ukraine
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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.

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