July 30, 2014
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KHARKIV, Ukraine (BP) -- "Our city is under God's wing of protection," Nadia, a Ukrainian believer, said.

Nadia said she feels it when she goes to the main square of Kharkiv each morning to pray for the city and for Ukraine.

The eastern Ukrainian city, located just 20 miles from the Russian border, was expected to be one of the first to fall to pro-Russian separatists. But even though major cities in neighboring areas are controlled by separatists and embroiled in bloody battles, today Kharkiv remains relatively peaceful and residents say public demonstrations on both sides have all but subsided.

For more than 130 days, believers in Kharkiv have started each morning on their knees in prayer. They believe God has honored their prayers.

"This is not about us," Nadia said. "It is not about our prayers. But God has been faithful to hear our prayers and to keep our city peaceful and safe."

The Kharkiv "prayer circle" began at the onset of the EuroMaidan revolution in Kiev. Started by a small group of evangelical believers -- mostly Baptist -- the group has grown and some days swells to nearly 200 people.

Joy Burnett*, an International Mission Board worker based in Kharkiv, said the group has been faithful to meet regardless of weather or other conflicting factors.

"In the days between the Maidan revolution and when violence broke out in the east, we were not sure what would happen here in Kharkiv," Burnett said. "There was lots of fear and uncertainty."

And for a time Burnett left the city as tensions between pro-Russian separatists and the Ukrainian army rose.

"I really missed being with the group during that time," Burnett said. "I may have been living somewhere else, but at seven o'clock each morning my heart was always with my brothers and sisters in Kharkiv. I really wanted to be with them on the square praying." Read More
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Crisis in Ukraine
The Persecuted Church
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