This article was originally published in the June 2018 edition of ITMI Monthly.
What do you think of when you hear the name Russia? The images that are created in your mind depend on how old you are, how much news you watch, and where you were born.
Where you were born??
Yes, where you were born has a lot to do with what you think about Russia, The Bear, The Sleeping Bear, the Big Bear, and even the “big, brutal and clumsy" Bear, all names that have been assigned to that world power.
If you are Adi Ban from Romania or most of eastern Ukraine, you have some pretty strong feelings about Russia.
Adi and Ema Ban and their three boys just visited us here at the ITMI office in Tempe. Adi spoke at a Romanian Church in Phoenix, First Baptist of Tempe, and gladly connected with others who have the same passion for young families, children and newlyweds.
While Adi was sharing about meeting with one of the churches in eastern Ukraine while Russians dropped bombs about a mile away, he shared a few interesting perspectives that we westerners aren’t privy to with our manipulated news.
The current president of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, is said to have gone to a meeting with Russian president, Vladimir Putin, and proposed that they agree on the division of land.
The President of Ukraine willingly offered to step back and allow Russia to assimilate land previously controlled by Ukraine.
It was reported that Putin’s response was along the lines, “I’m not interested in the land nor in stopping this never-ending conflict,” that just continues to dribble on and on destroying one nameless and faceless Ukrainian family after another.
The apparent reason for intentionally and systematically destroying innocent lives is that somebody doesn’t want NATO in his backyard.
It seems that Ukraine was on the verge of being accepted in the Europe Union (EU). EU would then utilize NATO to help secure and protect its members.
The EU has, for its own protection, a rule that no country applying for entry into the EU can have any existing international conflict.
As long as Russia has a battle going with Ukraine, they are ineligible to join the EU and that keeps the NATO bases and military forces from coming to Ukraine.
Adi really is not interested in the reasons for the conflict in the eastern part of Ukraine. He is very interested in trying to meet the brokenness and loss of the traumatized villagers and believers who hear explosions day after long day.
Adi shares that the number of destroyed buildings is shocking. The countless stories of people narrowly escaping devastation is heart breaking. Windows and even entire rooms have been blown off houses of families, just like yours and mine.
Ukrainian families blessed with food packages through the local church.
Families that are now left to deal with homes that can’t protect them from the brutally cold winter. Yet, God is using this to reach out to the previously uninterested-in-spiritual-things community, and supernaturally draw them in droves to the church.
Adi says church buildings are packed with people newly interested in what God’s Word says and the hope that is connected with God’s people in the midst of true suffering.
Once meagerly attended, churches are full in Ukraine and families seek hope.
A newly-wed second generation believer, Ilya (Elijah), and his wife Karina, have accepted the call to pastor one of these traumatized churches.
Karina, Ilya and ITMI's Adi Ban.
For as little as $330 USD per month, the ITMI family can help this young pastor minister full time and as he lives in this community.
Adi and I would like to make a commitment to this young couple, who will be overseen by Adi and his team to help them for a two year period.
If you want to help us help the believers in Ukraine hear God’s healing truth, we would love to partner with you. Please thank God for the relative safety we experience and include our “family” in Ukraine and their protection.
Thank you and blessings,
About the Author
Steve Evers has advocated for and served the ITMI partners as ITMI Director since 2001. Approximately once a year, Steve visits with ITMI partners in their countries and brings stories back to encourage supporters. Steve enjoys photography and mechanics, (both hobbies that have greatly benefited ITMI partners!) Prior to becoming ITMI's Director, Steve served on the Board of Directors for 4 years. Steve lives in Arizona with his wife, Darlene.