Persecution of the Church in Ukraine

By Jon Eide, Christian Worker assigned to Ukraine

There are as many reasons people give to persecute Christians as there are countries where they are persecuted. In the conflicted region in eastern Ukraine, the current reason of choice for persecution is that Christianity is a Western religion. It should be kicked out along with the McDonalds franchises and American-made toys. Of course, this overlooks hundreds of years of history of the Protestant church, and more specifically, the Reformed church in Ukraine. But this seems like a small matter to those who are forcing churches to close and who raise fear in pastors for their lives and for their congregations.

Our family has been ministering in Ukraine for 13 years. We are heartbroken over the current state of the country, and the church in it. Pastors we know have told us that if there is, in fact, a full scale invasion by Russia, they will be forced to disown us, to have no further contact with American missionaries, and would be unable to accept Western donations. Although this is understandable, it’s hard to hear from friends.

Recently someone mentioned to me the sacrifice missionaries like us make. Not long before that, I had talked to a Ukrainian pastor who works less than 50 miles from the Russian border. I asked him what he would do in the event of an invasion. He told me that he would pastor his people in whatever country he happened to be in. Our risk and sacrifice pales in comparison to his. May we all realize that as we live the “American dream”, many are living a persecuted nightmare.