From the Desk of Gary Kah
Monday, February 28, 2022
Much has happened since my bulletin of ten days ago. Russia has launched a full scale attack against Ukraine. So far, most of the strikes have been directed at specific military and strategic targets, thereby limiting civilian casualties. As of right now approximately 500 Ukrainians, and as many as 1,000 Russian soldiers have died. Since a propaganda war is being waged by both sides, it is difficult to know exact numbers, and rumors and false narratives are flying both ways.
Regardless of what is true and what isn’t, after five days in Ukraine, Putin’s forces have had ample time to destroy any strategic targets – including any alleged bio-weapons labs. For Putin to continue with a military assault at this point, he would intentionally have to go after Ukrainian civilians in an effort to subdue this sovereign nation. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions would die. Putin would have to level entire cities. It would be a bloodbath – not only for Ukrainian civilians, but also for Russian troops who would pay an enormous price. The Ukrainians are a courageous people and will fight for their freedoms. They are no pushovers.
Some friends contacted me over the weekend asking me what Putin might be thinking, given the current circumstances in Ukraine and the heavier than expected resistance he’s encountered. Here is part of my response:
…Given the strong resistance Putin is getting from Ukraine, if I was one of his advisors I would urge him to look for a clever way out of the situation in order to save face. Something like this: Putin should announce that he expects only a few more days of shelling to accomplish his mission of taking out the strategic targets that he was concerned about. Then he should begin pulling his troops out of Ukraine, perhaps keeping under Russian control the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, which have large Russian populations. This way he could take a small “victory lap” so to speak, while declaring “mission accomplished.” This approach would limit further bloodshed as well as embarrassment to him. This scenario would be the best possible outcome under the current circumstances in my opinion. However, I fear that Putin could do just the opposite by unleashing his complete fury against Ukraine – turning to rubble entire cities…
We must pray that Putin would not follow his instincts to crush Ukraine, but rather would show restraint by pulling back. Peace talks held near the Belarus/Ukraine border ended just hours ago without a resolution. We’ll see what happens next.
If Russia continues with an all-out assault, NATO might soon become more directly involved, which could trigger World War III. Meanwhile, China and Iran are closely watching developments, assessing responses from NATO and the West. There have been military rocket exchanges between Israel and Iranian forces in Syria (near the Golan Heights) that have gone largely unreported by the media. And, China has been flying reconnaissance missions over Taiwan, itching to attack that island nation. It’s like a powder keg waiting to explode.
Close to Home
While Ukrainian government and corporate leaders have displayed more than their fair share of corruption over the past few decades, the people of Ukraine are special to my heart and have been instrumental in taking the gospel of Christ to the Slavic nations. A little known fact: There are more Christian missionaries currently in Russia from Ukraine than from any other country. In fact, Ukraine has been the eastern European hub for our ministry. In 2002, we established a close-working relationship with a large Christian publisher in Kiev which requested permission to translate and publish my book. In 2003, the Russian translation of my book En Route to Global Occupation began rolling off the presses. The first printing of 5,000 copies sold out within weeks, prompting more large printings. Long story short, tens of thousands of Christian leaders and pastors in both Ukraine and Russia have received and read my book. The entire effort was coordinated by a brave and determined Bible-believing head of the Christian publishing house in Kiev.
I personally have been to Ukraine twice, the first time as part of a mission trip with my daughter and some church friends (we spent 10 days at an orphan’s camp sharing the love of Christ – many of these kids accepted Jesus and were saved); the second time, as a speaker at a Christian youth convention at a church in Kiev, and to meet with my publisher.
We are connected into Ukraine in yet other ways. Our son’s best friend, Vlad, is the son of a pastor in Ukraine. Please pray for wisdom and protection for Vlad and his family who have had a huge impact for Christ throughout that country. Our family has also been supporting several American missionaries (personal friends) in Ukraine. One of these families was visiting in the US when the war broke out. The father of this family, Artyom, who is a native Ukrainian, headed back to his country last night – leaving his wife and children behind in the US for safety. Another missionary friend, Rosalynn, has chosen to stay in Ukraine with the children she has taken in and is caring for. She is in the city of Zhytomyr.
In addition, we are part of an effort (through an organization on which I serve as a board member) to help Ukrainian Jews who have arrived at the Polish border. We are working closely with the Jewish Agency to process and assist these families in making their way to Israel – an estimated 3,000 currently needing assistance. I could go on and on…
As you can see, for us, what is happening in Ukraine is very personal; it hits close to home. Please pray for our dear friends who have been serving the Lord so faithfully in that country. Also, let’s be praying for the many Christians in Russia who have been serving faithfully throughout their country and never wanted this war. A sobering thought: There are Christian men in the armies of both nations who may be facing off against each other without realizing it. This war is incredibly tragic!
Much of what happens the rest of the way will depend on what Vladimir Putin decides to do in the next few days. I continue to pray and hope for the best, but I am bracing for the worst. If the war continues to rage, cyber attacks will almost certainly result against the US and Europe, possibly crippling financial institutions and our supply chains, which are already under duress. Electricity and water could also be disrupted in such a scenario. I am urging our readers to prepare now if you haven’t already done so. This should include keeping some cash and precious coins on hand (in your home) for short-term purchases, should a banking crisis occur.
Allow the Lord to lead you. Be obedient to what He calls you to do; and do not delay! May the Lord guide you and keep you in His peace as you walk in His presence during these challenging times.
Your Servant in Christ,
Love the Lord, all his saints! The Lord preserves the faithful, but the proud he pays back in full.
Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. — Psalm 31:24
Hope for the World, PO Box 899, Noblesville, IN 46061