Founder of Long-Standing Ukrainian Megachurch Describes 'Immediate Need' in His Nation
You can see the urgency behind the headlines: People in Ukraine need immediate assistance.
"They need support, and they need it now," says Pastor Zhenya Kasevich in a recent interview on the Strang Report podcast. Although he recognizes the potential for aid far into the future, the immediate need is so great that his nonprofit foundation, Kasevich International, is sending financial aid as quickly as possible.
"There is an immediate need right now; I'm talking about food or gas to evacuate people to the Polish border," says Kasevich, who founded the Hillsong Church in Kyiv, Ukraine, and pastored there for many years. Now living in Florida, he shares his concern for his fellow countrymen on a recent episode of the Strang Report podcast: "People need money right now."
When the war is over, other areas of concern will arise, he says. "And let's pray that this war is not going to be a long war. But after the war is over, we need to rebuild ... so that's where you get Convoy of Hope and Samaritan's Purse and all of those organizations on the ground."
"I'm pretty sure we cannot lose time," Kasevich says, adding that he is not in favor of the Biden-instituted sanctions against Russia. "Biden says we will revisit them in one month; well, those people don't have one month. They don't even have 30 days. They don't have three days; they only have 30 minutes."
And that urgency has fueled his own. For now, he uses the Venmo app to send money to trusted Ukrainian pastors in as quickly as 10 to 20 minutes.
"That's how long it takes to send money, 10-20 minutes, to those people whom I know personally and who are doing something right now," Kasevich explains. "They're not just fleeting away. They are helping people, they are feeding people, they take care of the elderly, because the elderly now are the most vulnerable group of people. And that's what we've been doing."
Kasevich says when it comes to the war in Ukraine, he's not just reading the news; he's hearing reports firsthand from family and friends.
"My [elderly] mom and dad are right now in between their apartment and the bomb shelters every day," he says. "They've got an underground bomb shelter in their apartment block, which is actually really good ... they feel safe when they are there. But for the last nine days, they are staying in the bomb shelter at least 16 to 18 hours every day out of 24 hours. It's ridiculous."
Kasevich has deep admiration for the strength demonstrated by the Ukrainians and by their president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, as they stand up against Putin.
"I can guarantee you that strength came from the Christians speaking the gospel for so many years," he says. "For 30 years, Ukraine had one of the biggest churches in the eastern Soviet bloc: our church in Kyiv. Until I left, it was 4,000 strong."
Kasevich adds that the courage we see in the Ukrainians right now stems from "that faith that has been built into our people."
To support that faith and the urgent need, Charisma has created a special portal for you to give to trusted pastors and others in Ukraine via some of our contacts such as Zhena Kasevich through Christian Life Missions, our nonprofit partner. You can know with confidence that when you give here, 100% of your donation will reach those most in need. Click here to give to Ukraine.
To hear more from Pastor Zhenya Kasevich about the situation in Ukraine and how you can respond in faith, watch the video above or at this link and listen to this entire episode of the Strang Report here, and subscribe to the Strang Report on Apple Podcasts and your favorite podcast platform.
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