This conflict is having profound effects on the minority Hungarian populations whom we live and work among in Transcarpathia, Ukraine. The Hungarian minority has for years seen a declining birth rate and steady immigration to Hungary. Nearly all students are going to Hungary, young men and even fathers are going to Hungary and other Western European countries looking for work and avoiding military service. Whole families are leaving to look for a better life in Hungary, Germany, England or where ever they see opportunity. It is alarming how many homes are for sale when we drive from village to village. This conflict has accelerated the exodus of minorities, including Hungarians, in Ukraine. It used to be nearly impossible to find a house for sale. Now they are everywhere. I am not sure if the Hungarian population of Transcarpathia will ever recover from this. Hungarians are leaving in droves, and meanwhile the Russians and Ukrainians are fleeing the violence in the east and coming to western Ukraine; the outcome is that population demographics will drastically change in the coming years. Beregszasz, the nearest big city, used to be as recently as 5 years ago nearly 70% Hungarian, now it seems all the shop keeps and café workers are speaking Ukrainian or poor Hungarian. The population shift has been rapid and profound. The flight of Hungarians, even friends and acquaintances, is hard to watch and even breaks my heart. The hardest thing of all is to see our students and other young people, completely hopeless during this situation, having no hope in a future here in Ukraine, no hope for job opportunities, afraid of military conscription, afraid to have families here, who pick up and leave. It must be remembered that God is control of all things. God’s purpose and will are sovereign and divine and God can use even these difficult times to bring people to Him and to bring glory to His name. This is our hope and prayer, and the hope and prayer we are trying to deliver to others. I think this has also been a wakeup call for increasing secular and atheistic Europe. Europe is not so enlightened, modern and advanced that they are past war and hardships. We are reminded of the words of Solomon in Ecclesiastes that there is in fact “nothing new under the sun”. We also remain thankful that despite the hardships in western Ukraine, that it is peaceful and safe here and that we are able to carry on with our work, ministries, and summer camps. We are also thankful that the cease fire signed a few weeks ago seems to be holding for now and the last weeks have been much quieter and less turbulent in eastern Ukraine. The video below is made by American missionaries in Kyiv, and it offers a timeline and explanation of events, and a prayer for Ukraine. Please continue to keep the situation in Ukraine in your prayers. Please see the previous three blog entries for more thoughts on Ukraine.
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