PHOTO: Håkon Fagervik provides humanitarian assistance to Ukrainian refugees through the prayer center Nordic Harvest Mission. He hopes all Christians will pray for the conditions to improve.
Christian leaders with a joint appeal: Pray for Ukraine!
It is barely two weeks since the initial Russian forces entered Ukraine. The conflict is described as the largest of its kind in decades. Norwegian Christian leaders are getting involved, and hope that all Christians stand together in prayer for those affected.
Håkon Fagervik has devoted many of his years to humanitarian work in Eastern Europe. Through the Nordic Harvest Mission prayer center, he hopes to raise funds to help as many Ukrainian refugees as possible. The foundation has a help center in the village of Olegseivika. The center currently houses Ukrainians fleeing the conflict. He hopes that Christians get involved through prayer, in addition to donations:
– We must pray for God’s protection over all who are affected by the conflict. Of course, it is also important to pray for peace negotiations to succeed, so that the suffering ends, he says.
Pray for Putin too
Fagervik also includes Russian President Vladimir Putin in his prayers. He has been named the world’s most powerful man by the American magazine Forbes for several years in a row. He is also the person with by far the greatest influence on how the conflict between Russia and Ukraine unfolds further.
– I pray that God will affect Putin’s decision-making. I constantly hear testimonies from the Middle East about how Jesus touched the minds of people through their dreams. Why should God not do something like that in the Kremlin and with the Russian president, Fagervik says.
Significant loss of human life
There is great controversy about the number of casualties. Russia and Ukraine claim significantly different statistics. Jo Hedberg is the leader of the conservative Prayer List in Norway. He is also clear in his appeal to Christians:
– It is important that we ask for salvation and peace for all parties. This also applies to the Russian soldiers in the conflict. It seems that many among them have been told that they were going to an exercise. Suddenly they are in the middle of a war, he says.
Hedberg believes that the situation poses a threat that extends far beyond the regions where the fighting takes place:
– Putin threatens the whole of Western civilization and the freedom we as Christians enjoy. Therefore, it is important to ask that he does not reach his goals in Ukraine. At the same time, it is important not to forget that this war is also a tragedy for ordinary Russians.
Follows the conflict closely
Vision Heaven is following the situation closely. Already the day after Russia launched a full-scale military invasion of Ukraine on February 24, the sister channel of Vision Heaven “Visjon Norge” made changes to all planned live broadcasts. They were all fully devoted to
raising funds for refugees who had crossed the border into Moldova. There, Vision Norway’s partner Viktor Kulyak was preparing to house as many people as possible. He has been the manager of the construction of Moldova’s first private retirement home, in Sarata Galbena. This time, the buildings were given expanded capacity for newly arrived refugees. Individual donations from the channel’s viewers were crucial to making it all happen. Later, Vision Norway’s reporter Terje Kingsrød traveled down to the area to cover the conditions on an ongoing basis.
Ukraine continues to make its mark on the channel’s broadcasts. Vision Norway’s prayer leader Svein Lindset completely agrees that it is important to prioritize the conflict-affected in prayer:
– We are more concerned with prayer than conducting news coverage. We will continue to pray for Ukraine in these demanding times. For me, who follows up on all the prayer requests that come into the channel, it is clear that this is something that has left its mark on the Christian people in Norway. Contributing with material donations is very important. At the same time, we must not forget to include all those affected in our prayers, he says.