Austin church leader Christian Ray Flores has lived in both Russia and Ukraine, and here he gives three snapshots of the unfolding crisis inside Ukraine.
“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.” – John 3:19
I could hear the fatigue of two sleepless nights in Alexey’s voice. As I was talking to him via WhatsApp, I heard another loud explosion in the background. Alexey is an elder in a strong community of faith in Kyiv and a dear friend. He and his family are staying in their apartment, hoping for the best.
This is Alexey’s account of the first two days of the Russian invasion of Ukraine:
“It was a terrible day. We woke up from strong explosions. There were rocket attacks on military installations and critical infrastructure. No one has slept since 5 am. Brothers and sisters called and wrote all day. The country has declared martial law. I don’t know yet, but they talked about the complete mobilization of men from 18 to 55.
All day there were strong explosions. Gostomel Airport is 12 miles from us. Helicopter troops landed there and there was a strong battle all day long. Sometimes even our house shook. Planes and rockets fly by with a wild noise and whistle. Honestly, it’s scary. When you listen to every explosion, everything freezes. Exits from the city are clogged with cars, huge traffic jams. Our friend was driving with children from the city 10 miles for 9 hours.
“Planes and rockets fly by with a wild noise and whistle. Honestly, it’s scary.”
Lines at gas stations.
Stores only ask for cash.
During the day, we contacted the leaders of churches in Ukraine. They are all fine.
The church in Lviv and Chisinau are ready to accept those who were able to leave.
In the evening, a zoom call was held for ministers of house churches of the entire community.
We supported them, our leading evangelist made a teaching, split into virtual rooms and there they said what strengthens us from the Scriptures, and who goes through this time. We prayed together.
We praise God for His mercy and salvation.
We hope and trust in Him.”
The largest conflict in Europe since WWII is happening in Ukraine. A humanitarian catastrophe is sure to follow. We will remember February 24th, 2022, as a tectonic shift in history.
“The largest conflict in Europe since WWII is happening in Ukraine.”
Pavel’s internet connection was going in and out. He was driving his family out of the city. In a brief conversation, he told me they had just barely missed Russian tanks moving to encircle Kyiv from the direction of occupied Chernobyl, the site of the biggest nuclear disaster, back in 1986. Pavel is an entrepreneur, Christian leader, and a friend.
Matvey Ganaposky is one of the leading journalists in Ukraine and famous throughout Russia. I have known him for over 20 years. The epitome of a professional, he has the status and resources to leave and has decided to stay in Ukraine in an undisclosed location. I worry for his safety. He tells me an invasion of this scale will lead to much bloodshed; he also tells me Ukrainians are determined to resist.
“He has the status and resources to leave and has decided to stay in Ukraine.”
I have deep ties to this land. I have lived in and enjoyed both Russia and Ukraine. My grandmother is Russian; my grandfather is Ukrainian. My two oldest daughters were born in Moscow; my youngest daughter was born in Kyiv. I have led churches in both Moscow and Ukraine. As an entertainer, I have toured extensively all over Ukraine and love its people, music, and food. Both countries and cultures have been intimately connected for centuries. Both Russians and Ukrainians are horrified at the unthinkable notion of war between them.
So am I.
So what can we do in the face of such evil, bloodshed and needless human suffering?
Raise our voices for peace.
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” – John 1:5
From christianrayflores.com. Used with permission.