We just received this breaking news update from the General Secretary of the Ukrainian Bible Society. Please continue to pray that the Bible's message of peace would provide hope to all people in the region.
Dear sisters and brothers,
The last few weeks have been filled with tragic events, rapid changes and serious challenges to Ukrainian society’s unity and integrity. Most of us have never experienced anything like this: to realize that war could break out at any time; that our sons, husbands and friends could be taken into army and killed or injured, to see how certain political powers influence people’s minds and how whole nations are used in cynical games for political and economic control.
The situation is still very fragile. On March 1, after Russia reportedly sent 6,000 troops to Crimea and authorized President Putin to use military forces ‘to protect lives and interests of Russian citizens and Russian-speaking population ALL OVER UKRAINE’, the danger of war was extremely high. Thankfully, the Ukrainian army and the new government were wise enough not to respond with force. That allowed some time for the international community to apply pressure on President Putin and warn him of severe consequences to Russia in case of war with Ukraine.
Another very dangerous aspect is that the Russian actions also affect the Tatar Muslim minority. Tatars suffered violent genocide and deportation after World War II and were able to return to their homeland only after Ukraine became independent in 1991. Therefore, Tatars are very loyal to Ukraine and equally negative towards any idea of going back under the Russian rule. According to media reports, radical Muslims in Russia have already warned they would resort to extremist measures if Tatars suffer in the current tensions.
Amidst all these circumstances, Ukrainian churches and the Bible Society feel their ultimate responsibility is to actively work with all those involved in and affected by the recent events and to try to bring the message of peace, encouragement and consolation from God. Interconfessional prayer meetings are taking place all over Ukraine, especially in Crimea, Southern and Eastern Ukraine. The Bible Society, which has branches working in these areas, is hoping to be able to urgently produce more Scriptures in both Ukrainian and Russian.
At the same time, we now see the importance of having the Bible translated into Crimean Tatar. Overall, this ethnic group has a very limited amount of printed books in their language and does not have the full Bible. That affects their identity and explains the fact that very few of the young people can read and write in Tatar. The translation is being carried out in cooperation with Pioneer Bible Translators and the Institute for Bible Translation, while the Bible Society will be responsible for its production and distribution. It is currently being edited and is expected to be ready for production in 2015.
On behalf of all Christians in Ukraine, we would like to ask for your constant prayers for our country, for the unity and harmony among its citizens and for peaceful resolution of the current tensions. We also pray that God will use these difficult events for his glory so that his message of peace and love reaches even more hearts.
In His service,
General Secretary, Ukrainian Bible Society