Saturday, 21 May 2022 17:38

May 20, 2022 News Update

20 May 2022

Dear Friends,

The war continues. Missiles continue to rain down in almost every region of Ukraine. According to Radio Free Europe the last Ukrainian soldiers holed up in Mariupol's Azovstal Steelworks say they were "ordered" by Kyiv to stop fighting as Russia intensifies its assault on eastern Ukraine, relentlessly pounding the Donbas region that President Volodymyr Zelenskiy says now resembles "hell."

After more than 12 weeks of fighting since Moscow launched its invasion, Ukrainian authorities said that "massive" artillery barrages by Russian forces continued to target civilian infrastructure, including residential districts.

Ostensibly the order to surrender was given to save the lives of the soldiers. This comes after a three-month siege that completely devastated the city and killed thousands of civilians. Almost 2,000 Ukrainian soldiers who valiantly defended the sprawling Azovstal steel plant have surrendered.

According to the Red Cross, those who surrendered are registered as prisoners of war and should be treated accordingly. They will be transported to Russian controlled areas and put into concentration camps, where, according to reports, the conditions are horrible beyond description. It is said that people are being tortured and starved in violation of Geneva Convention rules.

The military town of Desna, about one and a half hours drive north of Kyiv and 40 miles south of the Belarusian border has been the target of many Russian missiles, killing civilians and soldiers alike. This city has a church pastored by one of my former students from Ukraine Bible Institute. Pray for the continued ministry of this church and the protection of the Christians there.

Vova is one of our church members recently deployed to eastern Ukraine where the fighting is fierce. Pray for his protection and for his witness to the men with whom he is serving. Pray for Vasily, Ivan, Anatoly, and Yuri who are also active military.

We hear wonderful reports of the spread of the gospel among the armed forces and continuing Bible studies among soldiers and refugees. Of course our prayers are for an end to this horrible conflict so that there might be peace in the land. But even more our prayer is the Lord will be glorified through His people as they exhibit faith and focus on pleasing Him in every circumstance.

We may complain about many things in America, but our conditions pale in significance as we think of millions who have been driven from their homes, who have left behind family and all material things. Gas prices are high, but I received a letter yesterday saying that after a 5 hour wait at the gas station he was only allowed to purchase 2 gallons of gas. Many places have no gas at all. “But my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

All by grace,