Local missionaries worried for friends in Ukraine - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Local missionaries worried for friends in Ukraine

Rob Hindman and his wife Denyce Rob Hindman and his wife Denyce

Rob Hindman and his wife Denyce have a unique perspective on the conflict in Ukraine. They've been missionaries to Ukraine for the past five years, sponsored by 12th Street Church of Christ In Shallowater.

Their main area of work is Kharkiv, an industrial town in Eastern Ukraine with strong Russian ties - a place many people feel could soon become occupied by Russian troops.

"We planned to go to Moscow actually and work there but because the visa laws changed it became almost impossible to go, so we chose Eastern Ukraine because the language and the culture are so Russian," Denyce said.

They describe Kharkiv as a very Soviet town. They say most people live in giant apartment buildings but go on about their lives working hard like people all over the world.

"You don't ever really hear people speaking Ukrainian," Denyce said. "Everyone speaks Russian. That's all we hear is Russian on a daily basis. People sometimes will call themselves Russian even if they're Ukrainian. The culture is very much like Russia."

That's why many experts predict Kharkiv will be the next to fall under Russian control, something that is worrying for a lot of their friends.

"The Ukrainian Christians that we are close to are being told to stock up on water, stay in their apartments and some people I think are actually fleeing from Eastern Ukraine to Western Ukraine," Rob said. "They still have faith in the West that we'll do something. Not just words but they want us to actually intervene and help and do something. So a lot of eyes in Ukraine are on to see what our leaders are doing."

Rob and Denyce say they feel helpless as they watch the television coverage and guilty that they are in comfortable surroundings while their friends deal with possibility of war.

"We know one couple who their plan was to go to Russia but since Ukraine activated their military he can't leave because he's of an age to be drafted. So they can't go to Russia like they want to," Denyce said.

"It could all unravel into full out warfare any day, so people here just need to pray," Rob said.

The couple wants to return to the Ukraine as soon as possible. They actually have tickets to go back later this month. They admit they will probably have to postpone because of safety concerns but when they finally do return they hope it will be to a free and happy Ukraine building towards a successful future.

"We just pray that we don't go back to a place that's occupied by Russian troops," Denyce said.

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