YUSHCHENKO’S VICTORY IN THE CONTROVERSIAL PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS IN THE UKRAINE WAS FUELED BY THE FERVENT PRAYERS OF ORTHODOX, CATHOLIC AND PROTESTANT BELIEVERS ALIKE. This is the view of Sunday Adelaja, the pastor of Europe’s largest church with a membership of over 25,000. Between five and ten thousand church members prayed and showed support every day on the streets for opposition candidate Victor Yushchenko.
While much of the world’s attention was diverted by the tsunami disaster in Asia on the day of the election re-run, December 26, thousands of Christians continued their vigil in Independence Square in downtown Kiev. Many camped overnight in tents right up until last week’s announcement by the Supreme Court that the election results were valid, despite the objections of the sitting prime minister and rival presidential candidate, Victor Yanukovych.
YWAMers reported having the ‘time of their lives’ moving among the crowds passing out hot tea and blankets, and talking with the supporters of the Orange Revolution. Local media reports described the daily gatherings in Independence Square as resembling revival services rather than political protest rallies. Pastor Sunday said that his people reported an average of fifty people making decisions for Christ each day during the rallies.
Pastor Sunday’s charismatic church was open every night for up to a thousand people to change, rest, get warmed and refreshed before returning to the cold Kiev night air. Several members of parliament are also members of Sunday’s church, as is the president of the Christian Liberal Party, Leonid Schermozetskiy, a presidential candidate in the first ballot. Schermozetskiy later signed a coalition treaty with Yuschenko and supported him in the final election. Pastor Sunday explained that Yuschenko was a believer, although was not an official member of any church.
A CBN report cited Yushchenko’s wife as thanking those around the world who had prayed for them: “We received letters from people around the world saying that entire churches were praying. Praying groups were getting together. I had a small prayer group of women here in Kiev who prayed for us every day. I really want to thank them, because I think that’s what saved my husband, and that’s what made Ukraine free today.”
A strong Christian flavour was present in the demonstrations as Christians from many churches-Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant-united for prayer each morning from 8am to 10am before the political speeches began. Hundreds of pastors from all over the country joined in the square daily, praying into microphones with the gathered crowds and preaching about the need for the Ukraine to choose for Christian values. Evenings also closed with an hour of prayer from 9pm to 10pm.
Pastor Sunday said such united prayer created a very peaceful atmosphere. Despite the high number of alcoholics in the Ukraine, there was no broken glass, no vandalism, no violence, and no drinking, he reported.
Yet the prayer did not just start with the elections. The 37-year-old Nigerian pastor, who came to the Ukraine after studying journalism in Belarus, credits persistent prayer for the revolution. For the last five years, his church has held daily prayer through the night from 11pm to 6am for revival in the Ukraine. Pastor Sunday’s public support for Christian involvement in politics was an exception among Ukrainian clergy.
What may have been the consequences if Yushchenko had lost the elections? Sunday believes much was at stake. When the Wall came down, evangelical Protestants numbered 250,000. Today they are 3 million strong in the Ukraine, Sunday claims. Putin had expressed concern that the Ukrainian authorities were losing control, and so his candidate, Yanukovych, had promised to deal with the growing ‘cult’ and ‘sectarian’ groups if he became president. This would have meant a return to the old conditions of the communist days, and churches would have been closed down.
Parliamentary attempts had been made to deport Pastor Sunday and close down his church, as he explains in the following letter of thanks for those who supported the election of Yushenko in prayer, posted on his church’s website [www.godembassy.org/en/news]:
I would like to use this opportunity to thank you for the support, prayers and e-mail that we have received since the beginning of the political crisis here in Ukraine. Just as we prayed, hoped and believed, the Lord granted the victory! The man we all expected to win, Victor Yushenko, a pro-Western, Christian believer, actually won the re-election as president of Ukraine.
This battle was definitely a spiritual fight, before it was ever political. As we all know, the spiritual realm decides what happens in the future. Even the president elect, Victor Yushenko, during his interview with the Christian television crew, admitted that first and foremost, we gained a spiritual victory. Up to this point, our greatest problem was that the nation was ruled by ungodly men. But, the “Orange Revolution” brought an end to such reign. This has really brought about a sort of renaissance to Ukrainian society. Now, everybody is proud to be a Ukrainian, and we can see a unity spreading among the people, unheard of in the history of our country- especially among Christians.
As to my opinions on the benefits of the Orange Revolution, I can best state them in this way:
1) Everyone admits that what has taken place is more a Spiritual Awakening than simply a social or political movement.
2) Thousands of unbelievers, who visited the demonstrations on Independence Square, left with testimonies of healings as well as amazement at how similar the demonstrations were to a revival meeting rather than a political rally. Believers said the presence felt on the Square was like that of an anointing service at a Charismatic church.
3) Our church was able to erect a tent with a cross right in the heart of the Square, where we daily gave out between 10,000-50,000 newsletters and tracks. We were also able to pray for onlookers and give consultations, bringing an average of 50 people to the Lord with numerous healings every day.
4) Christians are no longer arguing about the need to be involved in the political process. It is like an eye-opening awareness has come to the church, stretching from border to border and proclaiming the truth of the Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20, that we must reach into every sphere of politics.
5) Every individual now sees how important his or her voice is in deciding the destiny of the country.
6) I believe that for the nation of Ukraine, the greatest victory is that the communistic and mafia hold has lost its grip and has been totally broken.
7) Last, but not least, is the hope and faith in a brighter future that the nation and people of Ukraine now feel. They are able to walk in a liberty and freedom that is completely new to them.
To me personally, the changes that have taken place over the past few weeks are a welcome sight and mean a new time of peace for the church and me. Over the course of the past month, there have been two instances where the parliament has completely stopped proceedings to discuss how to deport me and stop our church from functioning. The last thing resolved was to send a Parliamentarian Mandate to the Attorney General to investigate the church. However, now that we stand with the presidential victory, and most importantly, with God on our side, we will surely finish well!
If you wonder why they are so particular about our church, it is very simple. Our church supplied 1,500 people for the Electoral Commission and 4,000 people to volunteer as observers, to make sure that there would be no falsification during the re-elections. We also published over ¬Ω million newsletters with the Seven Principles of National Reformation. Besides this, thousands of our people marched on the streets in support of Victor Yushenko and the demonstrations held
on the Square. This is the
reason for the opposition against us. Thank God our people stood together in support of the leadership and myself. They knew that we must pay a price to be history makers.
May the Lord bless you and lift you up upon His eagle’s wings!
Yours in Him,
Pastor Sunday Adelaja
Embassy of the Blessed Kingdom of God for All Nations
Kyiv , Ukraine
Now that’s truly amazing news we don’t hear from our secular media!!
Till next week,