This week I had the opportunity to spend some time in the City of Kiev in the Ukraine. If you have been watching the news you know of the current standoff between the people and the leader of the Ukraine, President Viktor Yanukovych, around issues of corruption and abuse of power. The situation is complicated by the pressure being applied by the Russian President Putin, to put down the rebellion and align with Russia.
We were in Kiev meeting with Church leaders from all over the Ukraine. We learned some more about their history, from the murder of Jews during the II World War, starvation of the population under Stalin and the oppression of the modern Soviet State before the fall of communist in 1991.
Our new friends took us to see Maiden (pronounced Maydawn) where the town square has been blocked by barricades. The protesters have taken over the city center occupying city hall and a number of other government buildings (they say they belong to the people). The youth are leading the protest, but there are those of all ages, and from all appearances, they seem willing to give their lives for the freedom of their country.
As we walked past the barricades, the tents and cooking stations we saw a people resolute in their cause. The local population supports the protesters by daily bringing food, firewood, clothing, supplies and money to meet the needs of those fighting for the cause of freedom.
The streets of Maiden could not help but make me think of Les Miserables, the story of the French Revolution and those who gave their lives for freedom there. I hope the situation in Kiev has a better ending.
Nothing like a stroll behind the barricades to make you appreciate the freedom we enjoy in the United States and those who secure it for us. This experience made me appreciate again the men & women of the United States armed forces who fight to keep our nation free. Not only do they fight for our nation, they fight to keep people free all over the world.
I would ask you to pray for the people of the Ukraine and especially those who control the government. Their future as a nation is in the balance, pray that God would intervene and there would be a peaceful resolution to this crisis that advances the cause of freedom in this country and region. It is a powder keg and has the potential to ignite something effecting all of Europe, Russia & the United States.