Thursday, January 23, 2014

EuroMaidan: From Tanks to Torture

The revolution in Ukraine continues to rage. The internet and phone lines have been down off and on and should continue to do so as the government struggles to control what communications go out regarding the conflict. It was with a great deal of dread I woke up to check the news. Not knowing doesn't help, but knowing isn't easy, either. I am just so glad to know that in this horrible, unbelievable time, God is more than in control. He is with all my friends, my family, my church and all the missionaries in Ukraine. How could one go through this without God? I do not know.


From the limited research I've been able to find from western sources, here are some overviews of the current struggle.

A very long and thorough read of the events can be found at http://www.kyivpost.com/content/ukraine/standoff-remains-today-after-jan-22-clashes-kill-five-protesters-injure-more-than-300-335387.html

After President Yanukovich passed laws to begin colonization laws to merge Ukraine under the sovereignty of former dictator Russia, the citizens of free Ukraine have continued to assemble, protest, and even fight for their freedom. The country is clearly divided over whether they want to remain free or dissolve back into Communism. For the sake of the gospel and freedom, I pray that the people of Ukraine will remain united and free.

Several leaders of the opposition for freedom have been executed, both in Kiev (the capitol) and prominent southern city, Odessa. As of today, the mayor of Lviv, the most prominent western city, has resigned. Citizens assembling for their freedom have not only been killed, beaten, but as of today stripped naked in the subfreezing snow and tortured publically under the protection of the Special Forces Berkuit, approved by the Presidency. I opted not the post the public photos of these victims. Other innocent and unarmed citizens like seventeen-year-old Mikhailo Niskoguz have been arrested, tortured, and beaten without due process of law. In the case of Niskoguz, he was left to bleed for over four hours before medical attention was called by the Berkuit.


To quote the commentary of western sources watching the revolution........
"This is not a war of radicals. This the war of middle class and civil society, freelancers. journalists, NGOs, IT workers, artists, students and old people, who have nothing to lose."


"Military tanks have reached Maidan Nezalezhnosti – the central square of Kiev, the capital city of Ukraine."


President Yanukovych released the statement, "As long as I run Ukraine, no one can divide it."


"The talks on settling the political crisis in Ukraine between the authorities and the opposition must be attended by the president as the guarantor of the constitution and the person responsible for everything that takes place in the country, UDAR Party Leader Vitaliy Klitschko said."


"State-sanctioned homicide is no stranger to Ukraine: In the Holodomor, the Ukrainian terror famine of 1932–33, as many as 8 million Ukrainians were deliberately starved to death in a genocide planned and executed by the Soviet leadership in Moscow and enforced by Stalin’s satraps in Ukraine. In that sense, death-by-sniper-bullet is cleaner. But it is no less murder, and no less state-sanctioned murder, when the bullets are fired by internal security forces and police at the behest of the democratically elected (but certainly no longer “democratic”) government of Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych."


"The European Union is considering sending two of its most senior officials to Ukraine over the next week as it ratchets up pressure on Ukrainian authorities to reverse current policies, EU diplomats said late Wednesday."


These and other sources can be followed on kyivpost.com, bbcnews.com, euronews.com and others.
Here are some images of the war continuing today. Please, please pray for Ukraine.

Of the pictures posted, there is some of Klitchko, former pro-boxer and now political leader for the freedom movement. I love the one of him in between the police & civilians, he is so tall! And the picture of the journalists trying to capture the historic events.... one man wearing a strainer on his head in place of a helmet. Oh, Ukraine. Only Ukraine.














Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Euromaidan: World on Fire

Watching what is going on back home, begin so far away... there aren't really any words. I was fifteen during the Orange Revolution, when the political heart of the country exploded into a stand for freedom and westernization. Just a few years later, and Russia has slowly crept back onto the scene through the power of its ability to appoint leaders in Ukrainian government willing to give back up their freedom. Like Yanukovich, our president right now who has signed into law colonization laws against the protest of millions of citizens across the country. In a world very different from the one where I grew up in, the cobblestone streets are slick not only with ice but also blood and ash from fires as the people stand up against the standing army of Berkuit soldiers. One of the last statues of Lenin was torn down by the people. The Parlament broke into a brawl among the leaders themselves, leaving bloody hands that may represent more than just their own blood, too. Millions gather to form barricades throughout the capitol and protest the loss of constitutional freedom that include the right to assemble and the freedom of speech. Leaders of the opposition are disappearing, and journalists covering the Euromaidan revolution imprisoned. Both the US and the European Union had spoken against the violence and sent in diplomats with little results. The timeless streets of my beautiful capitol have become a war zone, with no end in sight as of yet. Regardless of political agenda, the loss of Ukrainian freedom will result in the loss of freedom for the gospel and will affect missionaries across the country, my friends, my family. Please be in prayer. It is so hard to be so far away. I wish I were home, I would be there with a flag, too.


























 
Please, pray for Ukraine.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Drivethru Life

Because 100% of Americans spend 90% of their lives in the drivethru. Or at least, that's what I feel suspicious about nowadays. I find myself parking and going inside just to defy the lifestyle. Or maybe it was being stuck in line for 45 minutes one horrible mistake of a day. I learned my lesson after listening to 6 songs on the radio and getting a luke-warm cinnamin dolce latte. Yupp, I'll just go inside next time! But while I was waiting, I had the thrill of seeing this little sparrow peeping around in some pretty little wildflowers. Just thinking about how God cares for me and that little sparrow changed the whole experience. In fact, it made my day.




A Glimpse of Autumn Glory

Most of Oklahoma City is still green and defiant of the upcoming cold, but this particular road is lined with trees who have taken a bold approach to the holiday air. I was stunned by their brilliant scarlet beauty beginning to appear. What perfection! If only the trees could speak, what would these say of the chilly nights and frosty mornings?






Sunsets on the Heartland

These are real photographs from different nights that I've taken with my camera while driving around the countryside southwest of Oklahoma City. I've been singing to the bedridden at a nursing home there all summer long, and I love that ministry. It does my soul good to see their smiles and the joy in their precious, feeble eyes. While I drive back and forth, I have been captivated by the beautiful countryside. The vast fields of corn and wheat are landmarked by silent giants, the oil rigs moving up and down in timeless rhythm. Almost every week, I pull the car off the busy 70-mile-and-hour highway and turn into a random field where I can sit among the thistles and wild black-eyed susan flowers and watch the fiery sun kiss the fearless horizon. It's breathtaking. The peace in the air, silent and still, far from the pressure of every day life in the city, is such a wonder for me, a girl who was raised in the heart of a teeming multi-million person metropolis. I hope these pictures help convey the beauty that graces Oklahoma just before twilight wraps it into slumber.  What an unprecedented artist is the Creator of this world, to effortlessly spread his masterpiece across the wide western sky with such ease and splendor.





Snapshots

I've been taking pictures of the pretty countryside here in Oklahoma but haven't had the time to sit down and upload them to my computer and go find internet to upload them to my blog! But I am excited to share some lovely photos I've been able to capture since returning here. The weather has been so nice. Most of the time, I spend life on the go and a lot of time in traffic. So I decided I'm just going to carry my camera around in the empty passenger street and find the opportunities to practice my skills! I am blessed to have two crazy amazing photographers in my family, Molly Wood and Steven O'Brien. My photos don't compare but it is still a blissful pastime for me. =) Be expecting random posts as I practice my skills starting each weekend, but they will probably be on the weekends when I take a break and can find the time to download/edit/upload/publish.... yeah. It's more work than you might think.
Speaking of. I learned photoshop is going out. WHAT?! Someone send me donations so I can buy the software before it's no longer on the market!!!! lol

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Dynamic Duo


Here's a shout out to another fantastic blog, Working in Faith! This blog covers the quiet labors of Steven and Nina O'Brien in Kharkov, Ukraine, in Faith Baptist Church under the ministries of my parents, John & Cathy O'Brien. They help with everything from interior renovations on the new building to exterior landscaping projects, run the youth group, head up activities, and actively evangelize that dark city for Christ. They have been working since their wedding last year and I've never heard them complain once! What a blessing and inspiration for so many young couple who are complete, 100% focused on themselves and their new lives together. I am so proud of my brother and sister-in-law and miss them very much! They were a big spiritual encouragement to me while I was home this summer. Check out their blog here. Their biggest need right now is PRAYER and SUPPORT. They need funds to eat, prepare for winter, and continue to serve overseas without a normal income. Please follow the blog and give! This is definitely a ministry to get behind!