CC Missionaries in Ukraine Ask for Prayer

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Calvary Chapel Missionaries in Ukraine Ask for Prayer

Story by Margot Bass

As Russian troops and military armament muster around the borders of Ukraine—and the media is filled with ominous reports surrounding these movements—Calvary Chapel ministries and missionaries continue to trust the Lord and to pray for wisdom.

Whether staying or leaving, even temporarily, the decision is not easy for the dedicated missionaries.

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George and Sharon Markey serve in Kyiv (Kiev), Ukraine.

George and Sharon Markey, serving in Ukraine’s capital city, Kyiv (Kiev), have chosen to stay. “We have been seeking God daily for weeks for His guidance, and over and over again, He keeps telling us not to fear, to trust Him, and to stay in this apartment that He gave us so miraculously last spring,” George wrote recently in a newsletter to his supporters. “While this course of action might seem risky in light of the news being reported by non-Ukrainian sources, it’s worth noting that here in Kyiv, people are mostly going about business as usual. Of course, the threat of invasion is on everyone’s minds, but there is no panic or mass exodus from the city.” He and his wife Sharon have sent three of their children to stay with his brothers serving in western Ukraine; they are making evacuation plans if they become necessary.

Based on conversations with many who have military experience and reading articles by military experts and political scientists, George believes an invasion of Kyiv and Ukraine is highly unlikely. “More probable is that Russia will continue to foster hostilities on Ukraine’s eastern border and keep the country destabilized. … Our home is here, and we plan on staying until we sense there is a credible threat to our safety.”

George asked for prayers to “continually hear clearly from God, and not just about safety concerns, but also about how we are to use this time for His glory. There could be a rich spiritual harvest to be reaped during this uncertain time.”

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Daniel and Janette Carter serve in Vinnytsia, Ukraine.

Daniel Carter, a missionary serving at a Calvary Chapel plant in Vinnytsia, in western Ukraine, compared the dilemma to leave or stay to the early COVID-19 response—there are no simple answers.

“Nobody really knows what to do. I feel for every pastor across the globe who had to make decisions that were difficult for their churches. This situation is no different. Some [missionaries] have stayed and some have left, but I believe that the decision the Lord put on their hearts is the right one for them.” He and his wife made an emotionally wracked decision to take an earlier-than-planned furlough with their three children back to the States on January 31. Yet they plan to return in May if all goes well.

He explained, “Our church is small (35 people), but they’re like my baby. They belong to the Lord. They represent the lives of those we’ve invested in for the last nearly 10 years. I know that the Lord loves them more than I do. Nonetheless, it’s very difficult to make this decision—to reconcile the call to ministry and the call to my family.” He asked for prayers for the two deacons, an elder, and another missionary staying behind to run the church; he also prays for emotional and spiritual support for both his family and the church family in Vinnytsia.

                  

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Daniel echoed George Markey’s analysis of the Ukrainian mindset about possible invasion. “Many don’t think it will happen, or if it does happen, we’ll just weather it and get through it. Some are fearful, feeling like there’s nothing they can do about it. I don’t know if many think it will actually come to war.”

He said that he finds hope in verses found in 1 Samuel Chapters 6-9, when Israel overcame their enemy, the Philistines. Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its names Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far, the Lord has helped us” (1 Samuel 7:12).

“The concept that the Lord keeps bringing to my heart when it becomes overwhelmed is, Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I. The Lord has always been our help through every trial and tribulation. Because He is the same yesterday, today, tomorrow, and forever, His help isn’t going to change just because the circumstances are dressed differently,” Daniel reflected.

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David and Katya Snead serve in Lviv, Ukraine.

David and Katya Snead, who serve in Lviv, have chosen to stay in Ukraine, despite a call from U.S. President Joe Biden for Americans to evacuate the country. “It may seem stupid from America’s perspective, but we are planning on staying until we have to leave,” David emphasized in a letter to supporters. “We feel safe, as we are far away from any potential conflict areas. In fact, we are much further away than most Calvary Chapel missionaries in Ukraine. Please pray for all of them, not just us.”

He shared concerns about missionaries leaving the field in uncertain times like this. “[They] lose credibility when they leave and come back, especially if nothing happens. It shows an unwillingness to endure the hardships that the people here go through.”

In addition, David’s wife, Katya, is Ukrainian. “I can leave quite easily—I’m an American. However, I would never leave my family so easily. Katya, her mom, and her sister (all Ukrainian) are the members of our household, and it’s much harder for them to leave. If I had to leave the country, I would take them with me—we would leave together to wherever is safe for our family.”

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Wayne and Olya Zschech serve in Kaharlyk, Ukraine.

Declaring that “Jesus is Lord over human history,” Wayne Zschech, who serves in Kaharlyk, called serving Jesus in Ukraine at this time a privilege. “Jesus is Lord over human history,” he declared. “We continue to meet, worship, and pray.”

He noted, “Ukraine has been in an undeclared state of war since 2014. So, we are used to external pressure and threats. However, this situation is the most serious since then.” In 2014, anti-government protests toppled the Ukrainian government; Russia invaded and annexed Crimea, followed by fighting in eastern Ukraine by pro-Russia separatists.

“If war does [occur], our church [located in Eastern Ukraine] will take in internally displaced people just like we did eight years ago. We have experience in this. And we’ll find how to bring hope and comfort to others in our community who need Jesus and His peace and salvation. … We are praying for wisdom.”

He shared prayer requests: that Jesus would glorify Himself and use His body (the church) at this critical time; that there would be no physical war, but also for peace in people’s hearts; for physical protection if it becomes necessary; for unity and purpose in the local church in Kaharlyk; and that communication lines and electricity would stay operational.

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Benjamin and Lena Morrison serve in Svitlovodsk, Ukraine.

“This is our home, where God has called us,” affirmed Benjamin Morrison, missionary at CC Svitlovodsk, in central Ukraine. “As for our family, we do have some plans in the unlikely event of a full-on invasion and have established certain triggers for what we will and won't do ahead of time.”

Benjamin is hopeful the conflict won't escalate. “The majority of Ukrainians, in my estimation, still don't think an invasion will happen. And there are a number of reasons why any kind of serious invasion seems unlikely from Putin's side, but only God knows. Pray,” he urged. Acknowledging that Ukraine has been at war with, and under threat from, Russia for nearly eight years now, he added, “We are trusting that God is in control and praying that He would turn back any evil intentions against our country.”

                  

(To learn more about Calvary Bible Institute, visit their website or read our past coverage on the school)

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All verses above are quoted from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

© 2022 Calvary Chapel Magazine (CCM). All rights reserved. Articles or photographs may not be reproduced without the written permission of CCM. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.® Used by permission.

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