Following a trip to Ukraine last week, Franklin Graham, president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) and Samaritan’s Purse, has called for a ceasefire between Russia and Ukraine April 15-24 in observance of the Easter holiday.
In a Facebook post published March 31, Franklin said he had written both to Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, asking for the two countries to pause all military combat for those 10 days. He also shared with them that he had requested churches in Ukraine, Russia and around the world to join together in prayer during Holy Week.
“May we humbly unite before the King of kings and the Lord of lords, the Prince of Peace, to ask for His help and mercy,” Franklin encouraged.
He also addressed the question, “Why ask for a ceasefire just for 10 days?”
“You’ve got to start somewhere,” he reasoned. “… If they can stop fighting for a week or 10 days, maybe they can stop fighting for two weeks. If they stop for two weeks, maybe they can stop for a month. If they stop for a month, maybe they can stop for good.”
BGEA and Samaritan’s Purse have been helping to provide spiritual and physical care to Ukrainian refugees since shortly after the conflict began on Feb. 24.
Samaritan’s Purse currently has around 170 staff members on the ground in the region. Many are working within Ukraine at one, or more, of the five medical facilities that have been assembled to serve those in need of medical care—an Emergency Field Hospital on the outskirts of Lviv, a 24-hour medical clinic at a train station in the city, an additional clinic in one of the city’s major bus stations and an Emergency Outpatient Clinic in southern Ukraine, as well as another in central Ukraine.
These facilities are seeing more than 100 patients a day that suffer from not only physical maladies but also emotional and spiritual trauma. That’s why two U.S.-based crisis-trained BGEA chaplains—one from Charlotte, North Carolina, and the other from Washington state—as well as more than 100 Ukrainian men and women, are serving alongside Samaritan’s Purse teams to minister to those in need. Billy Graham chaplains are also partnering with local churches to train and equip even more people to become chaplains.
“In a crisis like this, the greatest need is spiritual. These chaplains are ministering to people who are hurting and have lost everything,” Franklin said. “Even though chaplains don’t have all the answers to every question a person may ask, they’re able to share the hope that we have in Jesus Christ and remind people that God hasn’t forgotten them and He loves them.”
Updated: April 7, 9:55 a.m.
Above: Franklin Graham prays with Billy Graham chaplains in Lviv, Ukraine, on March 28.
Photo: Emily Turner/©2022 BGEA