Friday, December 24, 2004

Prayer needed for Ukraine

The following letter is from a missionary in the Ukraine who is supported by our church. ~ The Billy Goat ~

"Dear praying friends,

The angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord."..... Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests." Luke 2:10, 11,13

Urgent! We ask that you remember to pray for God's peace and guidance for these precious people of Ukraine as we pass through difficult days.

Here in Odessa, there are few signs that Christmas is even approaching. Part of that is due to the fact that Ukrainians do not exchange gifts until New Year's Day, then celebrate Christmas on January 7th. Another reason is that Ukrainians are heading to the polls for the third time in two months, and the tension is felt everywhere.

While you celebrate this Christmas season, we would again ask you to pray for the country of Ukraine as we head into elections on Sunday, Dec.26 (appropriately named "Boxing" Day in Canada). The stakes have never been higher in this country of 48 million.

The Supreme Court nullified the results of the second round of presidential elections, citing massive and systematic fraud in favour of the government-backed candidate, who had been declared the winner by a narrow margin. Since then, measures have been taken to avoid government interference in the public media, and the laws have been changed to assure more honest elections. A record number of international observers are descending upon Ukraine to assure that the elections are fair. All of this is being hailed as a victory by the millions of supporters of the "orange revolution" in favour of the opposition candidate.

There are fears and rumours that the government is planning violent incidents if the election does not go their way, which could bring Ukraine into a state of emergency and a return to the previous president. There are also fears that if the government-backed candidate wins, the "orange revolution" will intensify and lead to an economic crisis. Please pray for calm and a peaceful resolution on and after Dec.26th.

Pray also for God's moral will to be done in the selection of a new president. The result will significantly impact our ministry in many ways:

- freedom of religion
- relationship with the West
- economic level of the country, which could enable or hurt Ukrainian churches in becoming self-supporting
- reforms that would facilitate or hinder the development of businesses

Thank you praying, and we wish you all a Merry Christmas as we celebrate the birth of our Saviour and Lord!"

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