Ukraine is preparing to lower the age of conscription for its military, and some Christians are worried it will take pastors away who are already on the frontlines ministering to people

Ukraine will officially lower the military conscription age for men from 27 to 25 and tighten draft enforcement beginning on Saturday, May 18. This new law could result in nearly all Ukrainian men facing compulsory military service.

Additionally, Poland says it will help repatriate Ukrainian men who are subject to the draft, which could be up to 371,000 men in Poland alone.

Kristi Mock with Slavic Gospel Association (SGA) says she was recently talking with pastors’ wives in Ukraine who are worried about the new law taking effect.

“Now, they don’t know if at one point, even maybe tomorrow, their husbands are going to end up on the front lines or be taken away and they’re going to be doing all of this on their own. So I think that there’s a lot of fear in that.”

SGA supports pastors in Ukraine who are doing critical Gospel relief work in churches and communities, even in dangerous areas. Fewer pastors would limit ministry capabilities and put more strain on pastors’ wives and other church workers.

One pastor’s wife, Natalie, described to Mock seeing her husband put on armor every day and go to the frontlines to deliver food and evacuate people.

Mock says, “She shared just how fearful she is when her husband puts on armor every day and goes to the frontlines to evacuate people or deliver food and aid to them.

“She said that every day, he’s supposed to call her at nine o’clock and to say, ‘I’m okay.’

“One day she didn’t hear from him and so she was getting worried. So she waited for that phone call. When she finally got that phone call coming through, it wasn’t him,” says Mock.

“The person on the other end of the line said that he was in the hospital because he had a mortar shell hit his car.”

Natalie couldn’t get to her husband. She could barely even pray, she was so overwhelmed. So she met up with her Bible study, and the Bible study ladies prayed for her.

Thankfully, Natalie’s husband survived. But it is the risk these pastors face.

After his recovery, Natalie and her husband have continued faithful ministry with SGA’s support. They recently attended an SGA retreat for pastors and their wives.

Mock says Natalie shared, “She asked [her husband] one day if it was possible for him to stop [front-line ministry]. He said, ‘If I don’t do it, who will go?'”

Pray for the safety of SGA-supported Ukrainian pastors who remain in harm’s way to share the Gospel.

“The faithfulness that they have and the trust and reliance on God is what I saw over and over again.”

Please also pray for ministry doors to remain open in Ukraine so the Church may continue being Jesus’s hands and feet to suffering communities.


This story originally appeared at Mission Network News and is republished here with permission.