Prayer for Ukraine

After six months of fighting for freedom.

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=glL_mWmzXoM&list=RDMM&start_radio=1&rv=XAhxHT8PnTk)

The hope for peace.

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSdGW_HBrLE&list=RDMM&index=23)

Ukraine’s National Independence Day

Today is the 31 anniversary of Ukraine’s independence from Russia.  Their example reminds us that democracy is never free.

To follow the events first hand, anyone can subscribe to this online daily newspaper, the Kyiv Independent.

The photos and donation suggestions are from today’s edition.

Donations options from Kyiv Independent:

Another way to honor Ukraine on its 31st Independence Day is to donate directly to causes that support the Ukrainian army as it literally defends the country’s independence, and the Ukrainian population, as it has been facing tremendous challenges.

Here’s the list of organizations and charity funds that the Kyiv Independent responsibly recommends to those who want to support Ukraine in its darkest hour.

UNITED24

President Volodymyr Zelensky has launched platform UNITED24 as the one-stop shop for donating to Ukraine. The raised money are transferred to the official accounts of the National Bank and spent to cover the most pressing needs.

You can choose to donate to the military, to provide medical aid, or the future reconstruction of the Ukrainian settlements and infrastructure, damaged or destroyed by Russian shells and missiles.

Come Back Alive

Come Back Alive (Povernys Zhyvym) is the largest foundation for the Ukrainian military. It was born following the Russian invasion of the Donbas and the illegal occupation of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014. Over the years, this organization, headquartered in Kyiv, has proven to be trustworthy and among the most effective charities.

The fund provides frontline fighters with auxiliary equipment, various vehicles, thermal imaging equipment, specialized software, drones, personal body protection, as well as training.

Hospitallers

Hospitallers is a volunteer medical battalion that has participated in the war in Donbas since 2014, providing first aid, medical care, and evacuation of injured Ukrainian soldiers from the front lines.

Tabletochki

Tabletochki is the most prominent Ukrainian charity that helps children with cancer. The organization funds medicines for children, arranges treatment overseas if unavailable in Ukraine, and helps pediatric oncology units by purchasing medical equipment and reagents for hospitals. Russia’s invasion made it more difficult for Ukrainians with cancer to access treatment, especially in the occupied territories, where there is practically no access to essential medicines.

Shelter (Prykhystok)

Prykhystok is a non-profit communication platform that connects people who offer free housing and Ukrainians fleeing war in search of it. The website lists options of various housing either in Ukraine or abroad. In addition to participating in the project by offering your housing to refugees, you can also donate in crypto or regular currency to help cover their operations.

ZooPatrol

ZooPatrol is a volunteer organization saving cats and dogs abandoned during the war. Volunteers feed animals on the streets and and bring them to vet clinics if they need treatment. The organization reports about its activity on Facebook and Instagram.

The Face of Freedom: July 4, 2022

Each generation learns the price of liberty.

This July 4th, America and  the world are  indebted to  Volodymyr Zelensky, President of Ukraine.  His courage and commitment  defending  freedom is a beacon that will shine throughout the ages.   

A Prayer Sung for Ukraine

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKSWmJk-kro)

On Ukraine

At the entrance to the memorial park in Kyiv, there is a sculpture of an extremely thin girl with a very sad look holding a handful of wheat ears in her hands. Behind her back is the Candle of Remembrance, a monument with details reminiscent of authentic embroidery that can be found on traditional Ukrainian costumes. This is a monument that commemorates a historical event known as the Holodomor.

What is the Holodomor?

After the end of the First World War, Ukraine was an independent state, but in 1919 the Soviet Union “sucked” it into the community of Soviet states. The Ukrainians, who even then considered themselves a Central European people like the Poles and not an Eastern European like the Russians, tried to restore Ukraine’s independence.

In 1932, not wanting to lose control of Europe’s main granary, Stalin resorted to one of the most heinous forms of terror against one nation. In the process of nationalization, he took away the grain-producing land from the Ukrainian peasants, but also all its offerings, thus creating an artificial famine.

The goal was to “teach Ukrainians to be smart” so that they would no longer oppose official Moscow. Thus the people who produced the most grain in Europe were left without a crumb of bread. The peak of the Holodomor was in the spring of 1933. In Ukraine at that time, 17 people died of hunger every minute, more than 1,000 every hour, and almost 24,500 every day! People were literally starving to death in the streets.

Stalin settled the Russian population in the emptied Ukrainian villages. During the next census, there was a large shortage of population. Therefore, the Soviet government annulled the census, destroyed the census documents, and the enumerators were shot or sent to the gulag, in order to completely hide the truth.

World War. Their poison gas was hunger. Their Hitler was Stalin. Their Holocaust was the Holodomor. For them, fascist Berlin was Soviet Moscow, and their concentration camp was the Soviet Union.

Today, 28 countries around the world present the Holodomor as genocide against Ukrainians, which you could not learn about in school, because almost all evidence was destroyed and victims were covered up for decades, survivors were forcibly silenced by not having the right to vote until recently.

The Holodomor at that time broke the Ukrainian resistance, but it made the desire for Ukraine’s independence from Russia eternal.  (I was sent this summary and do not know the source.)

From the Encyclopedia Britannica:

Holodomor, man-made famine that convulsed the Soviet republic of Ukraine from 1932 to 1933, peaking in the late spring of 1933. It was part of a broader Soviet famine (1931–34) that also caused mass starvation in the grain-growing regions of Soviet Russia and Kazakhstan. The Ukrainian famine, however, was made deadlier by a series of political decrees and decisions that were aimed mostly or only at Ukraine. In acknowledgement of its scale, the famine of 1932–33 is often called the Holodomor, a term derived from the Ukrainian words for hunger (holod) and extermination (mor).

Postscript:

From Brooke  C. Stoddard, author who was at Holodomor Wreath Presentation at the Holodomor Memorial near the U. S. Capitol. He was asked by the Illinois State Society to participate on behalf of the Cleveland Club of Washington, D. C.

The Holodomor Memorial to Victims of the Ukrainian Famine-Genocide of 1932–1933 was opened in Washington, D.C., United States, on November 7, 2015. Congress approved creation of the Holodomor Memorial in 2006.

Twelve Minutes of Pure Joy

This video is twelve minutes of a much longer performance by the Virsky Ukrainian National Folk Dance Ensemble.

It is exuberant, colorful and uplifting.  Posted on February 27, 2022, following the Russian invasion.

Inspiration to start your week!

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOgdrrzOi1A)

When Will Easter Come to Ukraine?

The dark night of the soul.

HOPE:  From a world-wide community of faith that believes in their witness.

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_x-HM7lroA)

Hope from 3,000 years ago. Isaiah chapter 65:

New Heavens and a New Earth

17 “See, I will create
    new heavens and a new earth.
The former things will not be remembered,
    nor will they come to mind.
18 But be glad and rejoice forever
    in what I will create,
for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight
    and its people a joy.
19 I will rejoice over Jerusalem
    and take delight in my people;
the sound of weeping and of crying
    will be heard in it no more.

20 “Never again will there be in it
    an infant who lives but a few days,
    or an old man who does not live out his years;
the one who dies at a hundred
    will be thought a mere child;
the one who fails to reach[a] a hundred
    will be considered accursed.
21 They will build houses and dwell in them;
    they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
22 No longer will they build houses and others live in them,
    or plant and others eat.
For as the days of a tree,
    so will be the days of my people;
my chosen ones will long enjoy
    the work of their hands.
23 They will not labor in vain,
    nor will they bear children doomed to misfortune;
for they will be a people blessed by the Lord,
    they and their descendants with them.
24 Before they call I will answer;
    while they are still speaking I will hear.
25 The wolf and the lamb will feed together,
    and the lion will eat straw like the ox,
    and dust will be the serpent’s food.
They will neither harm nor destroy
    on all my holy mountain,”
says the Lord.

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Precious Good Fridays

Everyone will experience Good Fridays in their lives.   Sometimes it is only temporary–moments of doubt, distrust or feeling alone.

The Good Friday Christian story is much harsher.  It  includes betrayal, denial, false witnesses, suffering and ultimately a cruel death.

How we react or interpret these moments defines what we believe.   Some will call upon faith; some fate; others just accept these trials as the ups and downs of the human condition.

Our society has grown skeptical of public testimonies of faith.  The words often seem mismatched with the deeds or the personality of the speaker.

Until you see an example that rings so true, it erases any doubt about the power of belief.  Especially in public life.  When everything is at stake for you.  And for all those around you.

For example, the picture of a Ukrainian solo cellist playing Bach in a vacant city square asserting his artistic humanity in war.

A Profession and a Calling

The brief recording below was posted on March 5, 2022 by the Kyiv Symphony Orchestra and Chorus (KSOC).   That is ten days after the Russia’s invasion when the battle for Ukraine’s capital was much in doubt.

All religious music—including the great oratorios such as Handel’s Messiah—were banned under Communist rule.

These compositions based on Scripture,  declare God’s glory to the nations. The musicians of the KSOC see music as both a profession and a calling. Their members are graduates of the world-renowned Tchaikovsky National Music Academy and regularly perform in Ukraine and tour the U.S. and Canada.

Their response to weapons of war are words of faith.  When a prayer is sung,  God hears it twice.  In this case, first in Ukrainian, and then in English. The members of the KSOC are a witness to their country of the power of faith.  And to the rest of us when we enter Good Friday moments of deep doubt and hurt.

 

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qrryKC9vYY)

That same week the BYU singers offered this musical prayer hymn in Ukrainian.  The spirit can be uplifting and contagious.

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9IVx6bM5ck)

 

Why the Ukrainian People Will Be Victorious

This arrangement of a familiar American spiritual is by John Rutter, an English composer who in March composed an anthem to honor the Ukrainian spirit.

The recording below is by the Kyiv Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, two and half years ago.  In Ukraine.

For me it celebrates the indomitable spirit of the people, their artistic joy, and the universal longing all share for peace.

From November 18, 2019:  “I ain’t going to study war no more”

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJCI22_GDjI)

Ukrain is a democratic country in which courageous leaders arise, respected in their generation and to be honored by those to come.

Winston Churchill in July, 1940, after Poland, Belgium and France had been conquered, foresaw this present moment when he said to the world at that time: “And now it has come to us to stand alone in the breach, and face the worst that the tyrant’s might and enmity can do. Bearing ourselves humbly before God, but conscious that we serve an unfolding purpose, we are ready to defend our native land against the invasion by which it is threatened. We are fighting by ourselves alone; but we are not fighting for ourselves alone.”

 

Common Sense by Velensky

Thomas Paine on The Crisis

December 23, 1776

THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value.

Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated. Britain, with an army to enforce her tyranny, has declared that she has a right (not only to TAX) but “to BIND us in ALL CASES WHATSOEVER” and if being bound in that manner is not slavery, then is there not such a thing as slavery upon earth. Even the expression is impious; for so unlimited a power can belong only to God. . . .

President Zelensky to the US Congress:

Right now, the destiny of our country is being decided, the destiny of our people, whether Ukrainians will be free, whether they will be able to preserve their democracy.

Russia has attacked not just us, not just our land, not just our cities. It went on a brutal offensive against our values, basic human values. It threw tanks and planes against our freedom, against our right to live freely in our own country, choosing our own future, against our desire for happiness, against our national dreams, just like the same dreams you have, you Americans.

Ladies and gentlemen, friends, Americans, in your great history, you have pages that would allow you to understand Ukrainians, understand us now when we need you, right now.

Remember Pearl Harbor, terrible morning of Dec. 7, 1941, when your sky was black from the planes attacking you. Just remember it. Remember September the 11th, a terrible day in 2001 when evil tried to turn your cities, independent territories, in battlefields, when innocent people were attacked, attacked from air, yes. Just like no one else expected it, you could not stop it. . .

And in the end, to sum it up, today — today it’s not enough to be the leader of the nation. Today it takes to be the leader of the world, being the leader of the world means to be the leader of peace.

Peace in your country doesn’t depend anymore only on you and your people. It depends on those next to you and those who are strong. Strong doesn’t mean big. Strong is brave and ready to fight for the life of his citizens and citizens of the world. For human rights, for freedom, for the right to live decently, and to die when your time comes, and not when it’s wanted by someone else, by your neighbor.

 

For Ukraine’s Hour of Need

From English composer John Rutter:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJl3kVwl2-U

Blue Skies Over Golden Fields of Grain

The Ukrainian flag is literally about grain

General Patton on prayer (December 8, 1944:

Chaplain, I am a strong believer in Prayer. There are three ways that men get what they want; by planning, by working, and by Praying. Any great military operation takes careful planning, or thinking. Then you must have well-trained troops to carry it out: that’s working. But between the plan and the operation there is always an unknown. That unknown spells defeat or victory, success or failure. It is the reaction of the actors to the ordeal when it actually comes.

Some people call that getting the breaks; I call it God. God has His part, or margin in everything, That’s where prayer comes in. Up to now, in the Third Army, God has been very good to us. We have never retreated; we have suffered no defeats, no famine, no epidemics. This is because a lot of people back home are praying for us. We were lucky in Africa, in Sicily, and in Italy. Simply because people prayed.

But we have to pray for ourselves, too. A good soldier is not made merely by making him think and work. There is something in every soldier that goes deeper than thinking or working–it’s his “guts.” It is something that he has built in there: it is a world of truth and power that is higher than himself. Great living is not all output of thought and work. A man has to have intake as well. I don’t know what you call it, but I call it Religion, Prayer, or God.