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The World and Everything in It - March 17, 2022


WORLD Radio - The World and Everything in It - March 17, 2022

Ukrainians are preparing for a full out attack from Russian forces; some historical context behind the tension between Ukraine and Russia; and an international prayer meeting for Christians in Ukraine. Plus: commentary from Cal Thomas, walls that speak, and the Thursday morning news.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Good morning!

Ukraine’s capital city is bracing itself for a full out attack from Russian forces. Thousands of volunteers are stepping up. We’ll hear first hand accounts of the preparations underway.

PAUL BUTLER, HOST: Also, a conversation on the history of the conflict.

Plus, an international prayer meeting for Christians in Ukraine.

BROWN: And commentator Cal Thomas on our spending problem.

BUTLER: It’s Thursday, March 17th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Paul Butler.

BROWN: And I’m Myrna Brown. Good morning!

BUTLER: Time now for the news with Kent Covington.

KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Zelenskyy appeals to Congress, President Biden for more help » AUDIO: [Applause]

A historic moment on Capitol Hill Wednesday, as Ukrainian President Volodymyr virtually delivered a wartime address to members of the U.S. Congress.

After a standing ovation from lawmakers, Zelenskyy appealed to leaders in Washington for more help, as Russia continues to hammer Ukrainian cities. And at one point, he appealed directly to President Biden.

ZELENSKYY: You are the leader of the nation, of your great nation. I wish you to be the leader of the world. Being the leader of the world means to be the leader of peace.

He spoke briefly in English, but delivered most of his remarks through a translator. He once again called on the United States and its allies to enforce a no-fly zone over Ukraine.

ZELENSKYY (interpreter): If this is too much to ask, we offer an alternative. You know what kind of systems we need, S300 and other similar systems. You know how much depends on the battlefield on the ability to use aircraft.

The Biden administration has been reluctant to supply warplanes to Ukraine for fear that Russia will see the move as escalatory. And all Western powers have resisted the idea of a no-fly zone for the same reason.

Zelenskyy invoked the memories of Pearl Harbor and 9-11 and said, “Our country experiences the same every day now.”

Hours later, President Biden announced an additional $800 million of security aid to Ukraine.

BIDEN: At the request of President Zelenskyy, we have identified and are helping Ukraine acquire additional longer range anti-aircraft systems and ammunitions for those systems.

Biden, ICC accuse Russia of war crimes as human rights group expels Russia » The president also said he believes Russia’s Vladimir Putin is a war criminal.

The International Criminal Court said Wednesday it has credible evidence that Russia is committing war crimes as its military continues to target civilians.

And a human rights group has just expelled Russia from its ranks. WORLD’s Josh Schumacher has more.

JOSH SCHUMACHER, REPORTER: The 47-nation Council of Europe is now a 46 member council. It took down Russia’s flag from its courtyard on Wednesday after removing the country from membership over its invasion of Ukraine.

Russian forces bombed a theater in Mariupol on Wednesday where up to 1,000 people were sheltering. It is unclear how many are trapped in the rubble.

And in Kyiv, the Russian military bombed a 12-story apartment building. Casualties and injuries are still unknown.

The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv also tweeted that Russian forces shot and killed 10 people standing in line for bread in Chernihiv. Russia also bombed multiple residential buildings southwest of Kyiv.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Josh Schumacher.

9 dead in Texas crash involving U. of Southwest golf teams » Nine people are dead after a fiery collision in West Texas.

Those killed include six students and a coach from a New Mexico university.

The wreck occurred when a pickup truck crossed the center line of a two-lane road and struck a van about 30 miles east of the New Mexico state line Tuesday evening.

Sgt. Steven Blanco with the Texas Dept. of Public Safety told reporters…

BLANCO: This was a head-on crash. One of the vehicles involved belonged to the University of the Southwest. It was transporting the men’s and women’s golf team from a golf tournament here in the West Texas area.

Six students and a faculty member were killed in the crash along with the driver and a passenger in the pickup truck. Two students were airlifted to a hospital in critical condition.

The University of the Southwest is a private, Christian college located in Hobbs, New Mexico, near the state’s border with Texas.

Afghan refugees in US to receive temporary protected status » Many Afghan refugees in the United States will be allowed to stay for at least 18 months under temporary protected status. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has more.

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The move will help some of the thousands who arrived following the chaotic American withdrawal from their country.

The Afghans must already be in the United States and pass a background check to qualify for the program.

The temporary protected status designation enables non-citizens to legally work in the United States. It also benefits about 2,000 Afghans who were in the country as students or in some other capacity before the evacuation.

For many, however, time is running out because they have not yet received permanent residency through backlogged programs like the special immigrant visa. Those visas are available to people who worked as interpreters or in some other capacity for the U.S. and its allies in Afghanistan.

The United States accepted more than 76,000 Afghans after the U.S. withdrawal in August.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.

7.3 magnitude quake hits northern Japan, tsunami risk receding » A powerful 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Fukushima in northern Japan on Wednesday. That plunged more than 2 million homes in the Tokyo area into darkness and triggered a tsunami warning.

Seismologist Paul Earle with the US Geological Survey said the quake hit the same area devastated by a tsunami 11 years ago.

EARLE: It is in the same region as the 2011 magnitude 9 earthquake, and some would actually consider this an aftershock to that earthquake.

The deadly 2011 quake also triggered nuclear plant meltdowns, spewing massive radiation that still makes some parts uninhabitable.

The region avoided disaster this time around, though the powerful quake did damage many homes and buildings. There was no word on any casualties.

I'm Kent Covington. Straight ahead: Ukrainians prepare to defend their capital city.

Plus, international prayers for Christians in Ukraine.

This is The World and Everything in It.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: It’s Thursday, the 17th of March, 2022.

Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Myrna Brown.

PAUL BUTLER, HOST: And I’m Paul Butler.

The Russian invasion is now in its fourth week, and nearly three million people have fled the country. Russian shelling has leveled cities and killed nearly 700 civilians.

Now, it appears that Russian troops are regrouping and preparing to make a run for the capital. WORLD’s Jill Nelson reports on how Ukrainians are preparing to protect their prized city.

MAGDYCH: So that’s how Kyiv looks these days. There is some traffic on the roads because not everybody has left Kyiv. A lot of people stayed.

JILL NELSON, CORRESPONDENT: Oleg Magdych is a 44-year-old pastor who has been in ministry for more than 25 years. Now he spends his days training young soldiers and preparing Kyiv for a Russian invasion.

Earlier this week, he went to pick up five sets of steel plates for bulletproof vests. Somehow, he is able to drive and take video of road blocks he encounters as he weaves his truck to the right and to the left.

MAGDYCH: There’s a lot of roadblocks like this with anti-tank constructions, and at some road blocks there are checkpoints where you have to stop and they will search your car and check your documents.

Military analysts believe Russian troops are regrouping and waiting for deliveries of fuel and ammunition. Magdych says Russian forces fire missiles daily, and they are expecting a full assault on the capital.

MAGDYCH: When it's done, they're going to strike. They're going to try to break through the defense line on the northern side of Kyiv. So we're getting ready for that and we're trying to cut the supply chain for them.

Russian forces in the past few weeks pummeled cities on the outskirts of Kyiv. They tried to break through defenses in the northeast suburb of Brovary and the northwest city of Irpin—a hub for Christian ministries.

Verified reports of Russian troops targeting and killing women and children fleeing these towns have angered the international community.

It has also emboldened the Ukrainian resistance. Magdych says the people who have stayed in Kyiv are creating their own barricades made out of sand and cement blocks. And Magdych says they are prepared to destroy all eight bridges straddling the Dnieper river if Russian troops try to cross.

MAGDYCH: So this is one of the bridges that is closed to the public, and you can only cross it if you are military personnel or some kind of special force. The bridge is empty and it’s ready to be destroyed if the enemy comes close to the bridge.

Ukrainian forces already destroyed the bridge between Irpin and Kyiv.

Oleg Vasilevsky operates Christian camps for children in Ukraine and a distant learning school. He says so many Ukrainians have joined the territorial defense that it takes days to get accepted into a unit.

VASILEVSKY: So my former staff have joined territorial defense, and it's civilians who help the army. So all of a sudden, the Russian Army is against hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians, not just our army.

His 26-year old son joined the Kyiv unit, and Vasilevsky is worried that he could be a target for Russian saboteurs who began infiltrating the city in December.

VASILEVKSY: He drives our big red van around Kyiv with Molotov cocktails without a helmet and vest. And that is very disturbing to me. In the past, I would look for a PlayStation for my kids as a gift, and I would look for ipods or something else as a gift. And now as a gift, I'm looking for a helmet and bullet-proof vest.

Some military analysts say Ukraine’s unconventional tactics and sheer grit have caught the Russian military off guard. And Ukrainians have the home court advantage.

Ben Hodges is a former commanding general of the U.S. Army forces in Europe and now works with the Center for European Policy Analysis. He recently met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, and he doesn’t think Russia troops will be able to conquer the capital.

HODGES: I say it is extremely unlikely they can do this. They don't have enough people, Kyiv is a massive city. I was there five weeks ago; It's very complex, urban terrain.  Now that doesn't mean they can't sit back and launch missiles into it like they're trying right now.

Hodges says the next week of this war will be decisive, and the West should give Ukraine as much military assistance as possible.

Oleg Magdych says Kyiv is the most protected city in Ukraine, but he has two big concerns:

MAGDYCH: We can beat them on the ground, but we can't take all the rockets they're launching.

Ukrainian forces in Kyiv shot down several Russian helicopters. And they’ve prevented a miles-long armored column from entering the capital. But a barrage of missiles would spike the death toll and could damage historical buildings, like the thousand-year old Saint Sophia Cathedral.

Magdych is also concerned about the 80 men in his unit, should Russian troops storm the city. Around 30 have combat training, but only 10 have been in active combat.

MAGDYCH: Very soon I have to make a decision: Who do we send to the front lines? Most of them are not ready yet, but all of them would go.

The day after we spoke he sent a video clip of his young men preparing their weapons.

MAGDYCH: Here I am watching my guys spending every single minute they have cleaning their weapons. They have to be ready in a combat situation when bullets are going to be flying over their heads so they have to do it with their eyes closed. 

Magadych knows they could soon be facing life or death situations, and he leads his men in prayer each morning and evening.

MAGDYCH: We pray for God to give us strength to do the right things in the right time. And we pray for God to grant us victory, peace through victory.

And he adds this prayer request:

MAGDYCH: Please pray with me for every civilian, every soldier to just stay alive. Or if they have to die, I want them to die knowing Jesus. That’s my prayer.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Jill Nelson.

PAUL BUTLER, HOST: Up next, some background to the conflict. It’s the long history between Russia and Ukraine that has apparently allowed Vladimir Putin to feel justified in his attempt to annex more of Ukraine.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Joining us now with insight on that history is Mark McCarthy. He is a Professor of History at Dordt University in Iowa. He is an expert on Russia and Eastern Europe. Professor, good morning!


BROWN: What happened when the communists took over Russia and later when the Soviet Union fell? What happened to Ukraine?

MCCARTHY: Well, when the Bolshevik Revolution took place in November-October of 1917, the Ukrainians actually managed to have a brief period of independence. They were independent of Imperial Russia till eventually the Bolsheviks reestablished control in Russia and eventually re-took, reconquered Ukraine and brought it back under Soviet control.

BROWN: Now that we have the background, explain why Putin thinks Ukraine should be a part of Russia now.

MCCARTHY: Well, it goes back to the birth of the Russians, the Ukrainians. They all trace their birth back to the same place, which was old medieval Kievan Rus. And they both see that as their birthplace. Now, the issues get really complicated. It gets involved in the Mongol conquest of Eastern Europe. But when the Mongol conquest begins to recede, what happens is we have a new territory that arises in the northeast. It is Muscovy, later Russia. And that is distinct from Ukraine. Yet they both look back to this time of medieval Kievan Rus and even Imperial Russia. They tended to ignore Ukrainian ideas of being independent. Academics in Imperial Russia deny that Ukrainian was a language. They thought it was simply something spoken by uneducated peasants with a funny accent. And so you have the Russians who look back to this area of the world, they see it as their birthplace, which it is, but it's also something different. It's Ukraine. Because when the Russians emerged after the collapse of the Mongols, they were different. They were changed. And so you've got these two different competing ideas about the territory of the Ukraine.

BROWN: Evangelicals seem to have a stronger presence in Ukraine than in neighboring countries. What’s the history of evangelicalism in Ukraine?

MCCARTHY: The history of evangelicalism, a lot of it gets traced back to Catherine the Great when she had taken much of this territory from the Ottomans. And she realized that she had pushed the Ottomans out but she needed people to populate it. And what she ended up doing was inviting a bunch of ethnic Germans who were Mennonites, who were having problems in Germany because the German state increasingly wanted them to serve in the military and the Mennonites were pacifists. And so Catherine the Great being ethnically Russian herself, said look, Mennonites, German Mennonites, I need people to be successful living in this part of my empire. I'll grant you freedom of religion, freedom to live how you want, but you need to come here and begin to become successful farmers. And that's where a lot of where you see the roots of Ukrainian evangelicalism traces its roots to is these ethnic German Mennonites who were invited in under the time of Catherine the Great to set up to be successful farmers. And the issue was that they were prohibited from proselytizing. They were not supposed to reach out to others. But others, as they began to see the success of these German Mennonites, began to be attracted to these ideas. And that's one area where you see the emergence of evangelicalism in Ukraine is it goes back to these German migrants who came in under Catherine the Great. And the Ukraine, again, on the border, has always been open to ideas coming out of the west, much more so than Russia. And so you see this establishment there, but Ukraine historically, for the past 30 years has had a much more enlightened attitude when it comes to religious pluralism and religious freedom than the Russians have had. And so briefly, in 2014, when you had the Maidan Revolution, the interim leader of Ukraine was an evangelical for a couple weeks.

BROWN: Mark McCarthy has been our guest today. Mark, thank you.

MCCARTHY: You’re welcome.

PAUL BUTLER, HOST: Anyone who’s moved into an old apartment or home has at one time or other wondered what the previous owners were like. Wishing for a sort of guest book that stays behind to fill us in on some of the history.

Well, a Nebraska couple was renovating a recently purchased home when they discovered that sometimes “these old walls can speak.”

They pulled back the bathroom mirror, and found two letters—both left behind by previous residents decades earlier.

One letter was written more than 25 years ago. The other, more than 50 years ago!

Jodi and Kendal Loseke said they bought the Columbus home with plans to fix it up and flip it.

The first letter was written by an 8-year-old in 1967. It read “I am Sue Marshall. I live here. Whoever finds this letter, good luck.”

The other letter was penned on the same sheet of paper in 1995 by 27-year-old Mike Gokie. He said “I found this letter while remodeling the bathroom. Perhaps you have found it doing the same.”

The Loseke’s were able to track down the writers of both notes and they recently met at the house to swap stories.

Sue Marshall wrote a new letter explaining the history of the home, and all of the notes will be placed back behind a new mirror for future residents.

MYRNA BROWN: That’s one hard guest book to find…

BUTLER: It’s The World and Everything in It.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Today is Thursday, March 17th.

Thank you so much for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day.

Good morning. I’m Myrna Brown.

PAUL BUTLER, HOST: And I’m Paul Butler. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: Praying for Ukraine. 

Every weekday morning a group made up of grandparents, moms of teens and a Purple Heart Marine veteran come together to pray. This Zoom prayer group began as a way for people to stay connected as their church buildings were shuttered during the height of the COVID pandemic.

BROWN: Well Paul, two years later that 30-minute-zoom prayer call continues! And these self-described prayer warriors are using technology to stand in the gap for their brothers and sisters in Ukraine.

PRAYER WARRIORS: Good Morning everybody… good morning, good morning. Morning y'all.

MYRNA BROWN REPORTING: It’s a few minutes past 7:30 and the squares on the screen keep coming.

BRYAN LASH/LINDA SCHUCK: Letting a few more in here… a few more coming? Yeah, some more coming…

On the call today…nearly 50 men and women from Georgia, Florida and South Africa, ready to encourage and pray for a father and son in Ukraine.

Pastor Anatoly: Anton, can you start? Yeah I can start…

Wearing glasses and a plaid button down, Pastor Anatoly sits in front of a crowded bookcase that covers the wall behind him. His son, Pastor Anton, has his father’s dark hair. The 33-year-old is in the church office, sitting next to what appears to be a window. As he talks with his hands, he periodically glances toward the sunlight, describing what is unfolding around them.

PASTOR ANTON: Most of young people left Kiev as well as a lot of seniors. And they don’t have money. And grocery stores… they have huge lines or they are empty. And we try to provide like a food supply. And so we brought here some potatoes, sausages, flour… so we try to keep it together. And now we have started to work with medicine.

At the mention of medicine, Pastor Anatoly speaks up.

PASTOR ANATOLY: It’s huge problem. Many people sick and the pharmacies almost empty or closed. And we can see myself… too much stress. I need some medicine to be ok. My blood pressure. It’s people like me… so many people and not enough medicine. It’s huge problem.

Pastor Anatoly says he’s trying to connect with a pharmaceutical company to get medicine to the local hospital. He’s also made contact with someone from Germany who he hopes will bring in more buses for transportation. They also need drivers.

Anatoly and Anton are third and fourth generation pastors. Before COVID, they say their church was one of the largest evangelical congregations in Kiev. Both leaders of a Ukrainian network of independent evangelical churches. Pastor Anton says they’re concerned about other pastors in the association.

PASTOR ANTON: One of our church pastors, he lost connection 14 days ago. And we don’t know how he is as there is no electricity, no heating, no cell phone connection.

But Pastors Anatoly and Anton say there are just as many stories of hope and God’s provision in Ukraine.

PASTOR ANTON: So many non-believers and people who were far away from church, far away from Christianity. They want to come here and help like volunteers.

Pastor Anton says this new batch of volunteers is helping to unload potatoes and other supplies. Pastor Anatoly says that’s something only God can do.

PASTOR ANATOLY: I can see God’s miracles. I can tell you…ten years ago, village where I was born, where my father started church, give to the church five hectares of land and we put a Christian camp. I told God, why we need that camp? It takes money and all of that. But now that camp became a refugee center. Now that village of Christian people help us. We feed people. We help people. It’s God doing something special. God said it’s not your war, it’s my war. We can see God fighting in front of us.

Heads bop up and down as some listeners on the zoom call take notes. Others seem lost in their thoughts. A few are overwhelmed with emotion and moved beyond words until it’s time to pray.

PASTOR RANDY RAINWATER: Lord Jesus we are humbled by the faith of these two men. We see both the perseverance of one who has journeyed through this before. And Lord I see the concern of Anton for his father and for his family. And Lord, we know there is great courage that comes through walking through hardship and seeing your hand at work.

ROBIN DILL: So we bring specifics to you Lord Jesus. We bring the need for drivers and their protection and buses. Lord, we pray for gasoline. We pray, Jesus, for medicine. Lord, we pray for those pastors that have had contact lost with them. And Lord I thank you. You haven’t lost contact with them.

BRYAN LASH: We thank you God for the power and authority You have given us. By the power you have delegated to us and by the shed blood of Jesus we come against principalities and powers and of the rulers of the darkness of this world and spiritual wickedness in high places.

KELLI MARTIN STUART: Lord, we know from your word that you command the wind and the waves, Lord. And you also command the skies Lord. And so I just pray, Lord that you would close the skies. That it would be to your glory Lord.

VERNON RAINWATER: And so collectively today, on behalf of these men who we love so much, do not let them feel abandoned. And we ask for that in the powerful and victorious name of Christ our Lord. Amen.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Myrna Brown.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Today is Thursday, March 17th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Myrna Brown.

PAUL BUTLER, HOST: And I’m Paul Butler. Commentator Cal Thomas says the US government doesn’t have a revenue problem; it has a spending problem.

CAL THOMAS, COMMENTATOR: In his State of the Union address, President Biden claimed he would be “the only president to ever cut the deficit by more than $1 trillion dollars in a single year.” While this is technically true, he ignores the fact that the reduction in the deficit will be due to the decreased expenditures associated with COVID-19 relief.

Meanwhile, the debt continues to rise because members of both parties refuse to control spending. The House last week passed a $1.5 trillion dollar spending bill that is more than 2,000 pages long. Experience teaches most members have not read all, or even most of it. Why should they? They aren't spending their money.

Remember earmarks, those little and big add-ons to spending bills that Republicans once banned. They promised voters they would never return. But, they're back, thanks to some Republicans inserting them into the spending bill. Earmarks reportedly take up 367 pages of it!

Social programs, which are never measured by their success or failure, are also part of this spending monstrosity. To get more for defense, as a Wall Street Journal editorial noted, “Republicans had to concede to more domestic spending on top of the $3.4 trillion dollars spent in the last year.”

This irresponsible spending continues because of a philosophical shift among American citizens. People once expected to be responsible for themselves and turn to government as a last resort. Now, too many Americans think they are "entitled" to "benefits" and that "the rich" aren't paying their "fair share" in taxes.

In fact, the federal government has once again collected a record $1.86 trillion dollars in total taxes through the first five months of fiscal 2022. Revenue is not the problem. Spending that has given us a $30 trillion dollar (and counting) debt is the problem.

We can't say we haven't been warned about what uncontrolled debt can do to nations. Experts have long sounded alarms about government debt.

As Peter Wehner and Ian Tufts write in the winter edition of National Affairs, “These experts warned that large annual deficits and debt could lead to troubling, even catastrophic, consequences: prolonged recessions, rising interest rates, increasing inflation, reduced upward mobility, a weakened dollar, a plunging stock market, a mass sell-off of foreign-government holdings of U.S. Treasuries, a collapse of the financial system, and general economic and social calamity. These would all grow more likely, they cautioned, if the federal government failed to get its fiscal house in order."

Like so much of the Constitution, the left and too many on the right, have ignored history and sage advice when it comes to the economy. We are doomed to repeat that history unless we get our economic house in order. That will require more Americans taking a pledge to care for themselves and rely less on government. And it will mean electing people who will heed warnings and advice.

But given human nature, I’m not optimistic. Too many people would rather get a check than earn one.

I’m Cal Thomas.

PAUL BUTLER, HOST: Tomorrow: John Stonestreet is back for Culture Friday.

And, a review of Pixar’s newest animated offering: Turning Red. It’s about a girl who turns into a giant red panda whenever she gets too excited.

That and more tomorrow.

I’m Paul Butler.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown.

The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio.

WORLD’s mission is biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires.

The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him. (Nahum 1:7 ESV)

Go now in grace and peace.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.


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