Tuesday, December 28, 2004

From the International Partnerships HQ:

December 27, 2004
Dear Friends,

Thank you for your continued prayers for Ukraine! We still haven’t heard the final count of votes, but as I am writing this we know that with 99.89% of votes counted Yuschenko (good guy!) wins by 8 %! We are VERY happy and VERY excited! We are also thankful that God allowed us to be participants in making this victory! It is such an awesome privilege!

Ps 3:8: “From the Lord comes deliverance, may your blessing be on your people”.

“Ukraine has been independent for almost 14 years, but it became free only today”, said Yuschenko at 3:00 am while speaking to 50,000 people that gathered on Independence Square to celebrate victory together. Thousands of people spent the whole night there as one big family, cheering and congratulating each other. Nick and I wished we could be there too, but kids were sleeping and we just couldn’t go. Yuschenko finished his speech with his usual words: “Glory be to God!”

We spent most of last night between TV, internet and phone calls to friends trying not to miss any important details of what was going on as the voting places closed and committees started counting the votes.

We trusted the Lord because we knew it was all in His hands. Our prayer for Ukraine was similar to one in Ps 130:5-8: “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning. O, Ukraine, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love. He Himself will redeem Ukraine from all their sins.”

But even though we gave all our concerns, dreams, hopes to God I have to confess we could not help but worry. Two of our staff, Tolic Korzhov and Igor Samohin (from Odessa team), went to Donetsk (a very dangerous place during these elections) to be members of election committees there. We were praying for their safety as we heard about cases of Yuschenko’s representatives in Donetsk being beaten up or kidnapped.

We were also concerned about threats that we had heard from Yanukovich (the other candidate ) that if he doesn’t win there will be 35,000 self-organized armed men coming to Kiev to defend him. The Orange Revolution has been peaceful so far and even though we now know that a couple times our existing president was very close to giving orders to the military to attack the crowd, he didn’t dare do it. But, these threats from Yanukovich sound very serious since everybody knows that there are criminal gangs standing behind him.

When we heard results of exit polls last night and then results of actual vote count we rejoiced! This is what the Orange Revolution was for - transparent and honest elections. But it’s still not over.

Yanukovich announced that he is going to try to prove that elections were not legitimate and will appeal to Supreme Court. He has no chance to win, but it seems that his strategy is to further destabilize Ukraine. Please pray that he will just give up and let Ukraine enter this New Year with new hopes and optimism, instead of the frustration and irritation everybody is feeling right now toward him.

We also want to ask you to pray for people in Eastern and Southern regions of Ukraine. I think we shared with you earlier that propaganda in those regions tried to set people there against the rest of Ukraine. They were successful. There is a great deal of aggression in those regions. My brother’s wife’s parents live in Donetsk region. They call their daughter and verbally attack her on the phone. Our relationships with many friends we have in Donetsk are very strained.

Half of IP teams are in the Southern and Eastern regions. They tell us about a very heavy atmosphere of fear and aggression. They say it feels like darkness.

Pray that we can love those people in the East and South so much that they see the truth. During the revolution when men from Eastern Ukraine came to Kiev, people here took food and warm cloths to them and won their hearts -not with logical arguments but with love and care. We need to keep winning with love those people who have lived in informational isolation during these past couple of years. As Romans 12:21 says: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good”

Please, keep praying for Ukraine! I see the other part of my country full of passion right now. People who participated in the revolution are inspired by victory, they are proud of making their contribution in changing the future of Ukraine, they are full of hopes and optimism! This is wonderful! But we know that if people just put their hopes only on the new president (even a good one like Yuschenko) eventually they will get disappointed.. We don’t want our people to fall into despair again. We know that what they really need is Christ; only in Him their hopes are secure.

Pray for our staff both in those regions that are in darkness of fear and aggression and in those regions that are in joyful celebration of victory. Pray that God will give them wisdom to use whatever circumstances people are in to help them find Christ.

Thank you again, our friends, for being with us through your prayers and support! We hope you feel how God is greatly using you in bringing change to Ukraine! You are in our prayers too!

In Christ,

Nick, Maia and IP staff

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