As the situation in Kiev continues to spin out of control, our staff have continued trying to visit their contacts but it is more and more difficult to navigate the downtown area. The metro, the main means of transportation, is closed. On February 18, Tolik, our branch leader in Ukraine’s capital city reported,
“Today was a hard day. I just got home from visits. I could not drive from downtown, so I left my car there and went on foot. The traffic jam was colossal. Morning started with the police beginning to shoot and fight with the peaceful protesters. Eight civilians and two policemen were killed; dozens of cars were burned.
“It took Edik [another of our missionaries] six different busses to get home. Taxi agreed to go anywhere for a minimum of $100 and up (the usual rate begins at $10.) Please pray for our situation, the society is very stressed. Fighting continues downtown. I live next to a police station and I can see that only one person is working there – everyone is on duty…”
Ira, another of our staff reports, “Praise God, none of us [staff] live downtown! We can move about freely (except to downtown). Those of us with cars do our best to avoid any sight of policemen because they have been armed with Kalashnikovs and they stop cars for no reason at all. We hope we will continue to have Internet but we are not sure, of course. Some TV channels, Internet connection and cell phone connections get cut off, then get restored, and then get cut off again. Not sure how it will continue.
“Yes, we continue to visit our contacts. Tolik is the only person whose caseload is mostly people downtown. I think he has switched to phoning his contacts there, after getting stuck after a visit last night. The rest of the people are making visits in other areas of Kiev. Some of our contacts seem more open, while others are more closed, more afraid than anything.
“Another issue is that groups of ‘titushki’ – young men of criminal background who are helping the police – burn cars throughout the city, and sometimes attack lone walkers. We are told not to walk alone.”
Here in the states we might have even more up to date news about the numbers killed than our own staff inside Kiev. Please pray that all this turmoil will turn many of our people’s hearts to God, and that He will grant our missionaries there the safety and opportunities to reach them.
Note: photo by Christopher Miller was taken in a corridor by City Hall