Pray for Ukraine

Dear Friends,

Josiah Venture staff serve in 13 countries, but right now the one that I think about every day is Ukraine. Sometimes I feel like we are back at the start of World War II, when Hitler annexed Czechoslovakia on the pretense that the ethnic Germans living there were being mistreated. Other times I flash back to the Cold War, when Russia and the West stood with very large guns pointed at each other, waiting for their opponent to make a false move.

But this is 2014. I’m not just reading far away history. These are my neighbors and my friends.

All but one of the churches that were planning to send teams to our English camps in Ukraine this summer with JV have canceled. I don’t blame them – I might make the same decision if I were in their shoes. People are nervous and afraid of the future.

Every day I pray for a peaceful solution to the conflict and for lasting reform that will restore stability and health to the country. However, there is something else I am praying for even more.

“In this world you will have trouble,” Jesus said, “but take heart! I have overcome the world.” More important than removing problems is the accomplishment of God’s purposes. Paradoxically, difficulty opens more opportunities for the gospel, and trouble creates richer conditions for spiritual growth.

Because of that our team is pressing ahead with plans to do 15 evangelistic camps and launch two new Fusion choirs in the next months. God has provided 15 summer interns for Ukraine and all of them are still coming. They will be shouldering a heavier load – and trusting God for more fruit. Our team is viewing the current crisis not as a setback that must be endured, but an opportunity that must be taken advantage of.

On Easter Sunday the interim president of Ukraine preached a sermon on the resurrection in a Baptist church. Christians all over the world are being mobilized to pray for Ukraine because of the current crisis. All this is not an accident.

I hope you are praying as well.

Dave Patty President, Josiah Venture