Rev. Franklin Graham will deliver an Easter message of hope from war-torn Ukraine, where he has seen the resiliency of the Ukrainian people who are fighting back against an invasion by Russia.
“The people that you meet and talk to [in Ukraine] are strong,” Rev. Graham told Fox News. “There’s no question there’s despair and there’s fear. But they are determined they are going to fight for their land. And I just admire the [Ukrainian] people for the stand that they’re taking.”
Graham said the worst suffering has occurred in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, where there is “famine and great food shortage.” The faith leader revealed that four Ukrainian people distributing food through Graham’s humanitarian aid charity Samaritan’s Purse were recently killed. The victims died “trying to help their own citizens, their own people,” Graham said.
“This may be one of the hardest countries that we have worked in,” he said of the crisis. “It’s a big country, the size of Texas. And transportation is an issue. They have trains, and trucks, and so forth, but fuel is a big issue. You can’t always get fuel.”
Samaritan’s Purse said their team of doctors and nurses has treated over 5,000 Ukrainian patients at six medical sites across Ukraine. The Christian charity has also airlifted more than 232 tons of emergency relief supplies to Ukraine, and utilized a network of over 3,200 churches to share medicine and food.
Graham said the Ukrainian “people are living in the shadow of death,” but still have the sense that God is with them.
“It’s obvious that these people have a strong faith in God,” Rev. Graham continued.
He pointed out that there are more than 5,000 churches in Ukraine, and they are “full on Sunday.”
“They’re packed. Catholic, Orthodox, Evangelical, Pentecostal, Baptist — they’re packed. The people’s faith is strong in Ukraine right now. Very strong,” the CEO and president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association said.
“In Ukraine, there are billboards that say, ‘Our only hope is God.’ We need some billboards like that here in this country,” he added. “I hope that our nation would wake up and see the problems we’re facing and realize that the only hope is God.”
“The problem we have in the world today is a sin problem,” Rev. Graham stressed. “People have turned their back on God.”
“The only hope is God. That’s the only hope. Only God can turn [our] nation around,” he proclaimed. “This Easter, I pray that people will look to God, pray to him and ask him for his help in all that we do — and that he’ll bless the nation.”
Graham declared, “But to do that, we’ve got to repent, turn from our sins and believe on the name of his son, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
“We [all] need to repent and turn from our sins. And maybe God will hear us from heaven,” Graham advised. “Pray for yourself. Just examine your heart. And if something’s not right in your life, confess it to God and turn from it. We need to look at ourselves.”
“I will be sharing a message the whole world needs to hear: Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, conquered sin and death 2,000 years ago when He rose victoriously from the grave,” Graham said of his Easter message. “This good news changes everything – for individual hearts, for communities, and for entire nations.”
Previously, Graham wrote to Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy requesting a ceasefire from April 15-24 in observance of the Easter holiday.
“It’s a mess. It’s going to get worse, I’m afraid,” Graham said of the conflict in Ukraine. “And what President Putin’s end game is, I don’t know. But I think we just need to pray that God can change his heart.”
“And I would recommend for people to pray for Putin. I don’t want to be misunderstood,” he clarified. “I want people to pray that God would change his heart. And turn his heart around, and that he would see the sin that he’s involved in. That he would repent and turn from it.”
He added, “And if we pray, that could happen.”
“God loves us, and Easter is about God’s love,” Graham said.
Graham’s Easter message from the Ukrainian city of Lviv airs on Fox News at 12 p.m. EST on Sunday.