BY TIM CASPERS – GUEST COLUMNIST
As pastor of CrossWinds Community Church in Stillwater, one my passions is to make sure we are representing Jesus Christ in our community, the region, our country and around the world. This desire is inspired by the teachings of Jesus when he said in Acts 1:8, “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the Earth.” To that end, CrossWinds helped established a new church start up near Cherkasy, Ukraine in 2005.
This sister-church relationship enables CrossWinds to be involved with the mission of Jesus Christ a world away. Over the years, we have prayed for our sister church, given financial support for their children and youth summer day camp and have sent short-term service teams for hands-on ministry.
Because of our relationship with Ukraine, we have been saddened to hear of the political unrest in that country over the last months. Ukrainians have endured months of violent protests. Lately, it became deadly in the capital city of Kiev. During this upheaval we received an invitation from Pastor Vladimir of our sister church to join them in prayer for peace and God’s intervention in the unrest. Since then Ukraine had a whirlwind week that set the country on a course that could dramatically change its future in the coming years.
The parliament voted to impeach president Viktor Yanukoych, who fled from Kiev after two of the bloodiest days in Ukraine’s recent history. In his place Alexander Turchinov, a politician in Ukraine as well as the pastor of a Baptist Church in that city was elected interim president until May 25. Turchinov was Speaker of Parliament. During the days of protests, he encouraged the Christian community in Ukraine to be salt and light for both political parties. He encouraged doctors, nurses, cooks, students and other Christian groups to help whenever there was a need.
As Christians around the world prayed, Ukrainian churches and even denominations were united in prayers and fasting for peace and God’s intervention. People started crying out to God, and even the Ukrainian media spoke about the role of the church and God in their country.
On Feb. 27, I received another email from Vladimir. My Ukrainian pastor friend wrote,
“Thank you so much for your prayers. God hears and answers. There are changes here in Ukraine. Our brother in Christ Alexander Turchinov is now acting as President until elections. The confrontation and bloodshed is stopped. Thanks to God! Still, the situation remains tense and difficult enough. Pray for unity and peace and stabilization. May the Lord give His wisdom for leadership to a new Transitional Government of Ukraine.”
Perhaps, after seeing God move so dramatically in Ukraine, those who follow Jesus Christ in this country will be praying and asking God for unity, peace and stabilization in our own country. Let’s ask God to change the headlines in America through our own commitment to God and prayer.
Tim Caspers is the lead pastor at CrossWinds Community Church in Stillwater.