With tens of thousands of people killed and millions forced to flee their homes since Russia launched an invasion of Ukraine in late February, Adventist churches around the world responded with an outpouring of compassion for the besieged nation.
“Pray for Ukraine” began trending, and doors were flung open to welcome the four million who have fled Ukraine. Many of them were welcomed into other countries, where they are now receiving food and accommodation from other church members.
As a thank-you for this support, the Ukrainian delegation to the 61st General Conference (GC) Session showed their appreciation by greeting delegates entering the dome with gifts of small Ukrainian flags and magnets.
“We feel we are one family and really appreciate this constant support from our world church,” Stanislav Nosov, president of the Ukrainian Union Conference (UUC), said. “We want to express our gratitude to all churches around the world.”
The Ukrainian delegation is seated with GC delegates at the Session. The GC Executive Committee voted unanimously in April to attach the UUC, the church’s administrative region covering the country of Ukraine, directly to the GC until other comprehensive arrangements can be made. Previously, UUC was part of the Euro-Asia Division (ESD).
Nosov explained that the UUC has continued to receive prayers and generous support from the General Conference and, as a result, is providing 90,000 loaves of bread daily, clothing, and gasoline for people to drive out of dangerous areas. The houses of worship are now converted into places of shelter.
Amid the turmoil, the church faces mounting challenges. Seven members were declared dead. Eleven are missing. Five hundred houses owned by members were destroyed. Five thousand two hundred apartments or homes were partially destroyed.
But through all of this, leaders are seeing God keep His word to watch over His children. Prayers are being answered, and the evidence is hard to miss. Many Bibles were donated, and people are opening their hearts to God’s Word.
“There is a spiritual revival happening,” Nosov says.
Church buildings are packed. In May 2022, more than 150 were baptized. Last Saturday (Sabbath), 36 people were baptized. “We still see that God is in control, and it’s great to see that in our country,” Nosov adds.
If there’s any doubt that God is still accomplishing His purpose, Nosov says, you need look no further than the Ukrainian delegates’ presence at the Session.
Currently, Ukraine has a ban on men ages 18 to 60 leaving the country in anticipation that they may be called on to fight. The conference leaders prayed and took a leap of faith by purchasing plane tickets to travel to St. Louis before special permission was received. With less than a day left before they were to leave, the minister of culture himself called to grant permission.
Follow the proceedings of the 61st General Conference Session at adventistreview.org.