Runaway Slave producer Jo Anne Livingston sent PolitiChicks.tv the following letter, written by a missionary in the Ukraine. Jo Anne wrote, “Our Runaway Slave PR girl Lori is friends with the man who wrote this letter; she just texted me that he gave his okay to share his post.”
Here is his letter, which serves as a powerful reminder of what the people in the Ukraine have been going through:
There are so many people outside of my normal circle who have been looking after us and praying for us. I told Helen, “I got people who are praying for me, I didn’t even know were the prayin’ sort.” While I normally would just send this update to supporters, I wanted to share this with a larger world.
I’m just really glad to get this off my chest. I hope you have a moment to read it. I didn’t proofread it. I read it to my wife once and I want to give it to you raw. Somehow, this time, it feels better that way. Right or wrong, here goes…
Tensions are really high right now with Russia invading Ukraine. At this moment, we’re not in harm’s way. But it’s so much different than it was before. It really feels like I’m in a movie. Here’s a timeline.
President Yanukovich drops Europe trade deal in favor of a Russian deal.
Kyiv’s people come out en mass to protest President Yanukovich’s decision. Peaceful protests continue for months.
President sends riot police squad to chase away protestors, and more protestors come.
President enacts laws in Ukraine to outlaw protesting. More protestors come.
President brings thugs from Russia bordering towns to intimidate and incite violence.
Almost 100 people are killed in Maidan (Independence Square), some by government snipers at the top of buildings.
More… Protestors… Come.
President is impeached. He flees Country into the safety of Russian President Putin to escape crimes against humanity charges. People are visiting Yanukovich’s home (he privatized and took ownership of government property). We see the opulence… and weirdness… of how he lived, while the Ukrainian economy was tanking.
Unbelievable? A miracle? A practically happy ending, if you look past the physical and political mess that still exists. And if there weren’t thousands of people grieving from the loss of loved ones and wondering what the future will look like.
And then, just when you think hope is rising in Ukraine again, a bigger threat looms in the distance to the East. Vladimir Putin begins his machinations to claim territory in an unstable Ukraine. His Ukrainian President Puppet is backstage now and we’re beginning to see the master behind it all.
Sorry, but it reminds me of Star Wars (original trilogy, please). Except that at the end of the movies we know that the good guys will win. We have the ragtag rebels. They have superior military strength. I just hope we’re Dagobah and not Alderaan. May the Source be with us. But these references will be lost to my mom, so I’ll continue.
Crimea, which hosts Russia’s Black Sea Navy, refuses to obey this new government. Russian Ukrainians, they say, need protection from Ukrainian extremists. Russia pours abundant troops into the zone. They’ve taken over government buildings, taken down Ukrainian flags, replacing them with Russian flags. They’ve surrounded airports with armed gunmen… to protect the Russian people from Ukrainian terrorists.
No terrorists have arrived yet, though I shouldn’t blame them if they do. There are a few Muslim Tatars who have spoken out.
Even while I’m writing this, I’m reading news feeds that Russian Black Sea ships gave Ukrainian ships an ultimatum. If Ukraine doesn’t surrender by 5 a.m. tomorrow morning, Russia will attack. There are military vehicles converging on Ukrainian borders. They’ve been doing drills for a week.
I’m feeling tense. Day after day it just keeps going on. I would love to tell you, “The peace that passes all understanding just surrounds me all the time.” Maybe I need to just stop reading the news, and stop talking to Putin’s supporters.
Some missionary friends have left Ukraine already. Some have just moved west for a time to watch, just in case. Our stuff is packed up at my feet right now. Waiting. Wondering.
But what about help from our allies? Don’t worry, they’ve been on the phone. Obama told Putin he was disappointed in him. The EU is talking about sanctions. Those may have started already. But Russia’s heard the speech before. They’ve already crossed the red line once or twice. I guess they’ll worry about property values after they’ve taken the property.
So where does my help come from? I just remembered. Psalm 121.
I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper;
The Lord is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
Nor the moon by night.
The Lord shall preserve you from all evil;
He shall preserve your soul.
The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore.
To some readers, these are just words. Someone skipped down to this part just now. But I read every word, again, and again. Pulling on the meaning, like drawing the flavor out of a piece of hard candy. My help comes from the Lord.
Thank you for your prayers. We feel them. We really do. Because God is close. Closer than our enemies.
Markus and Helen