The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those
who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken
those who seek you. Psalm 9:9-10
The Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 has brought immense suffering to the Ukrainian nation. So many reports have reached us all of the terrible cost of this outrageous and cruel war.
But what you might not be fully aware of is the fact that this conflict has led to the persecution and oppression of evangelical leaders and believers in Ukraine by the Russian forces and those supportive of the invasion.
During this last year in the occupied areas of Ukraine, evangelical pastors have been arrested, interrogated, tortured and even expelled from their towns.
Church buildings have been confiscated and used for purposes that fit the agenda of the occupying forces. Christians have received harsher treatment at Russian military checkpoints.
Right now, evangelical Christians living in both the occupied and contested areas of Ukraine are experiencing severe oppression and fighting for their survival.
And our brothers and sisters in Christ who are sharing the Gospel and serving those who are suffering while risking their own lives need our help.
Will you make a gift today to Release International’s mission partners in Ukraine and other restricted and hostile places, to help oppressed and persecuted Christians?
Your gift today will enable church leaders like Ivan to provide food, shelter and pastoral care to oppressed Christians. And to share the gospel with non-believers too.
Pastor Ivan’s* story of trusting God in times of trouble
Before the war Pastor Ivan led a growing congregation of over 200 people in a town* in the Kharkiv region of Ukraine. He also supported a thriving network of five evangelical churches in the area.
Last spring when the Russians got close to the town many fled, including lots of families with young children. Only some elderly people remained. Pastor Ivan and his wife Viktoria* stayed behind too.
They felt called by God to serve the elderly and vulnerable people in their occupied town. So, they did what they could to provide food, prayer, and comforting words from the Bible to them.
But the Russian forces responded with brutality and violence.
One day they came to Pastor Ivan’s home and arrested him. They threw him into prison and tortured him, accusing him of being an American spy, just because he was an evangelical pastor.
Enduring their beatings, Pastor Ivan tried to talk about God with them. And, even when he was stuck in a tiny prison cell with eight other people, he prayed for the other prisoners. Two days later the Russian soldiers interrogated him again and beat him badly. This is what Pastor Ivan recalls from what happened to him in May 2022:
“I felt so ill after that second interrogation that I thought I was dying. Other prisoners tried to help me and called for help. The Russians sent me to a hospital, which I believe was divine grace and intervention. I believe God saved my life through the Ukrainian doctors who helped me.”
After two weeks, Pastor Ivan went home where he recovered slowly. And, when the Russian grip on their town began to tighten Pastor Ivan and Viktoria left for Poland.
As soon as the town was liberated by the Ukrainian forces, they returned home.
Thanks to the generosity and kindness of supporters like you they received pastoral care and medical help in Kharkiv region from one of Release International’s mission partners.
Right now, Pastor Ivan is leading a congregation with over 300 people, many of whom have not gone to church before. God is using him and others like him to share the gospel and to help people in practical ways in the liberated areas of eastern Ukraine.
Will you join forces with pastors like Ivan in Ukraine and elsewhere who are helping oppressed Christians by giving £30, £50 or even £100 to Release International today?
Here are some of things your generosity and kindness can make possible:
Your gift of £30 could help provide food, shelter and warm clothes for vulnerable oppressed Christians to survive the winter.
Your gift of £50 could help frontline Christian workers like Pastor Ivan in Ukraine, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and many other countries, to serve those who are being oppressed for their faith in Jesus.
Your gift of £100 could help provide heaters and generators for oppressed persecuted Christians who have endured exploitation, humiliation and suffering, simply for their love for Jesus.
You can make a gift securely online by
clicking the Give Now button.
We deeply appreciate your prayers, love and support, whatever amount you can give.
Your generous help could lighten the burden of our oppressed brothers and sisters in Christ in Ukraine, India, Malaysia, China, Central Asia and elsewhere. By giving today you can be an answer to their prayers and help them see that God’s love for them knows no bounds.
Thank you so much for caring,
CEO, Release International
* Names have been changed, photographs are from a library; and we are unable to disclose the name of the town in Kharkiv region, for security reasons.
Donating through Release International is safe, secure, and easy with many payment options to choose from.
Lord we pray for all our brothers and sisters who, like Pastor Ivan and Viktoria, have become caught up in so many conflicts around the world.
Father, we ask that you continue to walk with them and sustain them as they seek to care for themselves and others caught up in these conflicts.
Dear Lord, grant them your peace that passes understanding as they struggle to survive and build Your church in spite of the bitter cold, lack of food and violent oppression from hostile military forces.
Help us, Father, to help them with our prayers; and with gifts of money which can be used to support them both spiritually and physically.
Thank you for their faith in You, bless them and help them survive and to break out of this crushing cycle of oppression they have to live with.
In Your precious name we pray.
Please pray for oppressed Christians everywhere
Please pray for God’s protection for Christians in Ukraine. Pray that God will give them emotional, physical and spiritual strength to be agents of His love and compassion.
Pray for the safety of frontline Christian workers who travel to the war zones in Ukraine and to other hostile and restricted places where Christians are being oppressed for their faith.
Please pray that our partners will be able to host a retreat for Ukrainian victims of religious persecution who need to experience God’s healing hand.
Praise God for the amazing witness of evangelical Christians in Ukraine and elsewhere. Praise God for our brothers and sisters in Christ who sacrificially serve their nations and the gospel, often risking their lives.
Pray for the families of those who have already paid the highest price with their lives. Pray that God will shelter, encourage, comfort and sustain them.
If you wish to give by cheque, then please make it payable to Release International and send it to: Release International, PO Box 54, Orpington, BR5 4RT.
Or you can call 01689 823491 to give securely over the phone.
If you have any queries about giving to Release, please contact our Supporter Relations team on: 01689 823491.
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