Stories from the Field

Ukraine's War Boils in Freezing Temperatures

February 2017


Tragically, within 24 hours of President Donald Trump’s first phone conversation with the Russian Federation’s President Putin, war has exploded once again in Eastern Ukraine.  While there has been continuous low-grade fighting during the Minsk “Peace Treaty”, Ukraine has not seen this kind of might thrown against it since the war began in 2014.

You may not be hearing the news about Ukraine because Russia’s attacks in Syria are a great distraction.  But war in now boiling once again in Eastern Ukraine.  In the city of Avdiivka, 12,000 residents are at risk, including more than 2,500 children, because water, electricity, and heating supplies were all targeted for destruction.  In the below freezing temperatures, this is disastrous.  Propaganda is rampant and rabid against Ukraine.  Daytime is eerily quiet, by many accounts, but as soon as dusk comes, the shelling begins.  Even OSCE observers can no longer keep count of the thousands of violations of the Minsk agreements.  Read more about this crisis at this UNICEF website.


The Ukrainian Church is called to be on the front lines physically and spiritually.  One of the many ways the Ukrainian Church has responded to this latest crisis is by setting up “heating tents” and providing hot food for the residents of Avdiivka, located not far the line demarking Donetsk and the “Donetsk People’s Republic,” backed by Russian separatists.

The American Church is called on to be on the front lines on our knees.  Or by sending our resources or workers.  God can show the American Church how it can respond.  But, above all, it must pray!


The decisions made in Washington DC and Moscow have a real impact in Ukraine and around the world.

PRAY for wisdom for President Trump and his new administration.

PRAY for the peace of Ukraine.

PRAY for divine intervention.

PRAY for the rescue of widows, children, orphans, and those with special needs.

PRAY for the efforts of commanders, soldiers, and volunteers.

PRAY for the response of God’s people.

PRAY for the salvation of many souls.

I am confident that God is in control of all nations and their leaders.  He has His plans and purposes that will be fulfilled.  This latest war has not caught our Sovereign God off guard or surprised Him.  He told us that there would be wars and rumors of war, and that these would be the beginning of the pangs of birth, then Jesus would return.  So, we hope in God and pray to Him as Ukraine’s war boils.

The above article was written with some excerpts and photos taken from a recent newsletter from a missionary colleague in Ukraine, our sister-in-Christ, Renee Flory.

Bill Arvan

In 2002, Bill, and a handful of other men involved in sister-church partnerships with Evangelical-Baptist churches in Ukraine, formed READ Ministries.

Bill and his wife, Susan, reside in St. Cloud, MN. Susan is the director of Harvest preschool in Sauk Rapids, MN. They have three adult children and two delightful and energetic granddaughters.

After graduating from Dallas Theological Seminary, Bill served in pastoral ministry from 1976-2000. In 2000, Bill was commissioned as a missionary by Calvary Community Church in St. Cloud, Minnesota. From 2000-2005, Bill served as a full-time Field Representative for Short-Term Missions Ministries with the Minnesota Iowa Baptist Conference (BGC/Converge).