Like Russians, Ukrainians are Slavs with a language, literature and a culture and cuisine that is very distinct and proudly their own. Throughout several centuries the country has been occupied by the Mongols, Poles, Turks, Germans and Russians. Even through all of these invasions and occupations, Ukraine has kept its independent spirit and national traditions.
Ukraine was called the “breadbasket of the Soviet Union” during Soviet times. Rich, black soil dots the landscape. Abundant rain and mild climate make this soil one of the most fertile croplands in the world according to one document. The national flag is yellow and blue. One tradition states that the yellow represents the golden wheat fields and the blue represents the clear blue skies.
The fertile fields of Ukraine have fed generations of Slavs. According to the CIA World Factbook, Ukraine produced 25% of all agricultural output in the former SU. Today, Ukraine exports substantial amounts of grain, vegetables, sugar beets, sunflower seeds, milk and meat.
God has blessed the fertile lands that make up Ukraine. This past Sunday I was preaching from Ephesians 4:1-6. As I was speaking of how God has uniquely blessed Ukraine, God reminded me of this place I call home, of how He has blessed this country.
As many have called Ukraine the “breadbasket of the former SU,” I would like to propose that it should also be called the “spiritual breadbasket of the former SU.” What do I mean by that you ask?
Consider these facts: Ukraine has the most believers of any country in the former SU. Also, after the fall of Communism, hundreds of Baptist families moved to Russia and other former SU countries to plant and pastor new churches. Thirdly, there are thousands of students in Ukrainian Christian schools studying for ministry. Many of those students come from other former SU.
Today, there is a movement of young people interested in serving Christ not only in the former SU, but in other parts of the word as well. Almost daily I received calls or letters from young people interested in serving. It is exciting to think what God is doing among them.
As the fields of Ukraine fed and continue to feed generations, now the fertile fields are feeding people spiritually the Word of God.