Angelic voices trumpeted this refrain over sleepy shepherds outside of Bethlehem. This message propelled them to go and witness the scene the angels had described: the baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in the manger. Having seen the promised child, the shepherds hastily began proclaiming what they had seen to all who would listen.
The angels’ refrain told of peace on earth. Lasting peace is only found in the gospel message. The Great Commission compels us to tell the gospel—even during days of war—to the ends of the earth.
The conflict that has devastated the country and people of Ukraine in 2022 has also produced a revival, as many Ukrainians have heard the gospel and turned to Christ, recognizing that he is the only true source of peace and hope. The Prince of Peace has brought an eternal calm in the midst of chaos and death. Heaven rejoices with those who find forgiveness and rest in Jesus.
One of our national partners, Pastor Zhenya, recently described how God is bringing peace to the hearts of Ukrainians through a church outreach ministry to internally displaced people.
We do this outreach once a week, on Thursdays. We started this type of ministry at the end of April and we continue to do it now. . . . At each meeting before we distribute the aid, we have a service, we sing, preach the gospel, and call people to repentance. People are very open, praying, crying and giving thanks for the help. There are people who have started to come to Bible study, women’s group, and Sunday services. Now in the Sunday service, 70 percent are new people. My church team and I are very tired physically because not all of the church members are in Ukraine or Kyiv. But we want to continue to serve as long as we have strength, health and financial resources. Please pray for our ministry that God would give us the strength to continue the ministry.
Christmas in Ukraine
Ukraine celebrates two Christmases: December 25, which has been an official holiday for Protestants and Catholics in Ukraine since 2017, and January 7, for those who are Eastern Orthodox. However, atheistic roots from the former Soviet Union tied certain Christmas traditions to New Year’s Day celebrations instead: the tree, lights, presents, and Grandfather Frost (Santa Claus). Therefore, Christmas is a relatively uncluttered day for celebrating Jesus’ birth at church—sometimes on both Christmases. Our kids love to visit the Christmas market and decorate the house for the season.
Prayer Requests for Ukraine:
- Pray for spiritual and physical peace in Ukraine—and in Russia.
- Pray for physical safety for those who are serving in dangerous places.
- Pray for perseverance for the churches and pastors that labor in the harvest.
This Advent season, learn how God is working around the world to bring the hope of Jesus to those who have never experienced him before. Download our free new resource, Give Joy to the World: An Advent Devotional from the Mission Field, for you and your family to enjoy this Christmas.