Due to extensive media coverage, most of us are probably aware of current events involving Ukraine.

However, this tells very little of their story. Years of Soviet occupation and artificial famine has given rise to some of the highest rates of alcoholism, divorce, abortion and suicide in the world. This has left most of the populace with an overwhelming sense of hopelessness. Since 2007, SON Network has had the joy of working alongside the remnant of the Lutheran church in Ukraine to bring the Light and Hope of the Gospel to this often overlooked and underserved country.

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Country Snapshot

Area: (almost four times the size of Georgia; slightly smaller than Texas), total: 603,550 sq km (233,032 sq miles), land: 579,330 sq km (233,681 sq miles), water: 24,220 sq km (9,351 sq miles)

Population: 43,952,299 (July 2018 est.)

Population growth rate: 0.04% (2018 est.)

Capital City: Kiev

Independence Day: 24 August 1991 (from the Soviet Union); note – 22 January 1918, the day Ukraine first declared its independence from Soviet Russia, and the date the short-lived Western and Greater (Eastern) Ukrainian republics united (1919), is now celebrated as Unity Day

Ethnic Groups: Ukrainian 77.8%, Russian 17.3%, Belarusian 0.6%, Moldovan 0.5%, Crimean Tatar 0.5%, Bulgarian 0.4%, Hungarian 0.3%, Romanian 0.3%, Polish 0.3%, Jewish 0.2%, other 1.8% (2001 est.)

Languages Spoken: Ukrainian (official) 67.5%, Russian (regional language) 29.6%, other (includes small Crimean Tatar-, Moldovan/Romanian-, and Hungarian-speaking minorities) 2.9% (2001 est.)

Note: in February 2018, the Constitutional Court ruled that 2012 language legislation entitling a language spoken by at least 10% of an oblast’s population to be given the status of “regional language” – allowing for its use in courts, schools, and other government institutions – was unconstitutional, thus making the law invalid; Ukrainian remains the country’s only official nationwide language

Life Expectancy at Birth: total population: 72.4 years / male: 67.7 years / female: 77.4  years (2018 est.)

Religious Groups:
Eastern Orthodox 48.3%
Catholic 7.1%%
other 3.5%
non-believers 41.1% (2011 est.)

SON’s Work in Ukraine

English Bible Camps

SON Teams often come back to North America with a renewed sense of vision and understanding of what it means to do missions in their own context of ministry. Historically, English Bible Camps in Ukraine draw over 120 students at a time and are often held in local public schools!

Regional Learning Center

In Early March 2019, SON Executive Director, Pastor David Breidenbach; NALC Bishop Emeritus, John Bradosky; and NALC Assistant to the Bishop for Missions, Rev. Dr. Gemechis Buba hosted the first Regional Learning Center conference, focused on discipleship, for pastors from all three Ukrainian Lutheran Denominations (DELKU, SELKU, and ULC). Plans for annual conferences have been well received and the second annual conference will take place in March 2020.