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What a strange period of time we are living through.  Recently, we sat around a fire and it felt like if we weren’t talking about war and Russia, the topic was on the edge of our thoughts.  It felt somehow wrong sitting around a fire in peace and enjoying the clear sky and the sparks flying upward and good friends and knowing that there is a strong likelihood that this country of ours will explode into war any day now. 

Ukraine is currently acting like the skinny new boy at school who is being bullied by the ugly fat bully who doesn’t care what others think and fears no retaliation.  When will we take a swipe at the bully who keeps on encroaching on us?  And Russia is definitely encroaching on many fronts and in different ways. 

Recently, 10 of us guys gathered at a local sauna and shared breakfast and sweat.  It was a sobering thought hearing them talk about being called up to serve and defend their country.  Will any of these young guys suffer deep mental anguish and physical pain over the next several months as they serve to protect?  Will they leave wives husband-less and children father-less?  Will their faith stand up under the pressures of godless company?  Ura, pictured in the centre of the group of guys in the sauna was called up last Tuesday.  He was told he will be contacted some day in the next two weeks and will need to report for duty.  Sergei, (second from the right), is already in the police force and has said that should war break out, there is a good chance he’ll be required to stay working at his local job – but no guarantee.  He could be sent to the front.  Today after church we were talking…  Sergei said that the local police had received word that Ukraine should expect numerous terrorist activities last night as Russia seeks to find a justification to “save Russian speakers living in Ukraine”.  They expect Russia to invade Ukraine any day.  No terrorist activities were reported last night, so the focus moves on to tonight.  If nothing happens tonight… I guess they just keep on expecting and hoping nothing at all happens in the way of major incidents and Putin decides to go home.  (I must admit though, that Putin’s words and actions have, for the first time, caused me to feel like there is the potential of seeing Russian soldiers in our part of the country within the week.)


Today, we gathered again at the local market to pray and to let people see that we are praying.  There were four churches represented there.  We did this last Friday as well.  Here’s a pic I snuck during Friday’s gathering.  Very few people stopped or joined us, but some did!  We prayed that the hearts of people would be turned towards God and that He would have mercy on Ukraine.photo (40)   A few weeks ago, Bruce initiated a meeting for Christians to gather to pray for Ukraine.  Then last week, an old local pastor suggested we pray publicly and the mayor gave the go-ahead…  Initially, I wasn’t real keen on the idea, but have come around to accepting the additions to simple prayer as things God probably also puts up with… so I can do the same. 


We would like to get an Orthodox priest or two to join us… but this would be a surprise if it happened.

This morning just before we started praying, a man came up to me and informed me that we needed to do things and not pray.  I agreed with him and said that we definitely needed to do things, but also needed to pray.  He answered that there is no point because there is no God.  My questioning raised eyebrow was response enough for me.  I will pray because I believe that God hears and cares.  That’s all. 

photo (41)We sent Jesse off to Australia on Tuesday.  We held a graduation ceremony for him Monday night and By Tuesday night, he was away on his epic trip through Dubai, Mumbai, Changi and then on down to Brisbane.  Thanks to a change in one of his flights, it ended up taking him over three days to get there!  But get there he did and he will start work this week.

Here’s a photo of the group that celebrated at the Georgian restaurant in a nearby village.  It was a special evening. 

If you want to pray for your brothers and sisters in Ukraine at this time, pray that we will use this time to glorify God and point people to a relationship with Him.  Pray that Christians would learn to trust God during this time of waiting and wondering.  Pray for those brothers and sisters who will be in positions of danger in the expected war.  Pray that God would give them courage and peace.  I talked with a young brother who has been thinking about what he will do if he is called upon to shoot to kill if we are invaded.  He realized that amongst those who he will kill may be brothers in the Lord.  How absurd it would be if he killed a fellow believer!  Thoughts such as these weren’t even considered one year ago.  Yet now, people are thinking very differently and doing things to prepare for real war!  Thanks for praying.