Chernobyl: Looking Back 30 Years Later

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Today, April 26th, 2016, is the 30 year anniversary of the tragic, Chernobyl nuclear disaster. This man-made accident is often cited as one of the key events which led to the collapse of the Soviet Union. The “all-powerful,” anti-God Party of the People was helped to its knees through a test-gone-bad at a nuclear facility located less than an hour from Kyiv, a city of 3 million people. …People… People suffered. People were traumatized. People died. The people’s leaders ignored, denied, and covered up the magnitude of the disaster, while evacuating their own families to other countries as quickly as possible.

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30 years later people are still affected. Memories linger among older generations, while newer generations struggle to survive a plethora of other man-made, destructive forces such as corruption, moral bankruptcy, and war. Whether fighting former ghosts or present demons, the evil that so pervades our world cannot be contained by man-made sarcophagus or human sovereign. An evasive peace is continually dangled in front of people, but the result is always the same–hollow words and unfulfilled promises.

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The Chernobyl tragedy of three decades ago, the current plague of Western immorality, the devastating wars in Ukraine and Syria, the wanton corruption flowing through Panama, all cause my heart to long even more for a different King and a different Kingdom. May the Kingdom of God come.. where there is true righteousness, peace, and joy. In the meantime, we pray for His will to be done here on earth, and we continue to fight the good fight of faith!

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A doll decays in Pripyat amidst parade memorabilia of former leaders and broken ideas

 

The following is a section taken from Distant Fields.

The Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster

“One day while riding the metro, the family met a man by the name of Anatoli. Himself affected by the radiation from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster which had occurred only six years earlier, Anatoli had been told simply to drink red wine in order to flush the deadly radiation from his body. Another of Pam’s new acquaintances, Lilly, further described this tragic “accident” to her. In her journal, Pam quotes Lilly as saying, “We live in a giant prison.” As the Markeys met with Anatoli, Lilly, and others, they soon learned more about the tragic nuclear “accident,” and the ensuing coverup, and they began to understand how little concern there had been among the leaders of the Soviet Union for the inhabitants of this now-fractured empire.

“On April 26, 1986, a series of malfunctions led to a meltdown at the nuclear power plant located near the city of Chernobyl, some 60 miles from Kiev. Nearby was Pripyat, a city of about 50,000 people and home to most of the employees working at the plant. Its inhabitants were preparing for the upcoming May Day celebrations, walking with their babies in the streets, children playing soccer outside in the fresh spring air. The time for planting their gardens was right around the corner. However, little did they know that the bright glow on the skyline was something other than the setting sun.

“For many days after the accident, the people of Ukraine were not informed of the dangers they were facing, nor were they told of the simple remedies that could help stave off some of the most critical health issues. The leaders of the Soviet Union maintained a tight grip on the release of any information about what was actually happening at the nuclear facility, themselves sending away their own families to other cities or nations abroad. The invisible poison was being driven into the populated city of Kiev on trucks that were being hosed down and sent back to battle the fires at the Chernobyl plant. Conscripted soldiers were told that if they would work for two minutes battling the fires, they would be exempted from their mandatory two years of military service.

“Neighboring Scandinavian countries were the first to report the radioactive clouds making their way toward large portions of northern Europe. And yet, the people of Ukraine were told nothing. Pam writes, “No one ever told them not to eat the food or drink the water.” In fact, the news of the tragedy first broke in the West and was broadcast over shortwave radio into the Soviet Union. Quoting Lilly, Pam writes, “We first heard about what had happened at Chernobyl by an American radio broadcast that we secretly received on shortwave radio.”

“Cancers, miscarried pregnancies, thyroid problems, and other illnesses would plague an entire generation of Ukrainians, searing into their minds and hearts the painful reality of a system filled with self-absorbed, corrupt, and delusional leaders. I remember how frequently people spoke of Chernobyl in those early years, especially when someone was sick. The lead singer of the new Ukrainian Christian music group Seven told me of his experiences as a soldier working at Chernobyl that summer. He says, “The cherries on the trees that year were as big as apples. We picked them and checked them with our devices and they were clean, so we ate them. But after that year, those trees did not bear any more fruit.” He further described how his own immune system was totally destroyed by the radiation. “I can get a small cut on my toe and my whole foot will swell up because my body cannot fight the infection.”

“The Chernobyl disaster, World War II, the forced starvations and indiscriminate liquidations under Stalin, and centuries of servitude as the pawns in other nations’ chess games were all national tragedies that were imbedded in the psyche of these now-independent Ukrainian people. They were a people who had endured much suffering, seemingly everyone with a story of pain, loss, despair, or death. Memories that earlier had been spoken only behind closed doors were now beginning to emerge, painting a dark picture over the shining facade of Soviet realism. Furthermore, the recent collapse of a political and ideological system to which most had pledged their allegiance had injected their souls with even greater doses of despondency. Entire life savings were completely devalued in a matter of a few short days and weeks. Formerly stable-paying jobs were now remunerating their employees in the wares of what they produced – sausage from the sausage factory, clothes from the clothing factory, or even toilet paper from the toilet paper factory. Barter and bazaars became the means of survival during this time of an untrusted past, an unstable present, and an unknown future.”

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All text and photos by Jed Gourley

Links to other pictures and information about the Chernobyl Disaster:

  1. A Look at Chernobyl 30 Years After the Meltdown – ABC News
  2. Looking Back: 30 Years of Photographing Chernobyl
  3. 30 Years After Chernobyl Nuclear Accident, An Attempt to Clean Up Its Traces
  4. Chernobyl Uncensored – YouTube Video

$1.99 – Distant Fields – Read an Excerpt for Free!

Distant Fields is on sale from now through Valentine’s Day!

The following is an excerpt from the book describing the arrival of George and Pam and their eight children to Ukraine:

USA DepartureIndependence Day

Flying into Kiev on July 4, 1992, was an unforgettable experience. As the wheels of the plane touched down, dilapidated shacks, old planes, and trees and overgrown bushes surrounding the airport seemed to race by. Thuds were felt every second as the plane rode over the concrete slabs that had been laid down for a runway. The tall grass growing up in between these concrete slabs left one wondering how many flights actually arrived into this airport. Eventually the plane came to a stop at the Borispol International Terminal.

Upon exiting the plane, the family discovered that looking for a baggage carousel was an effort in futility. While pondering the status of their belongings, the Markeys and everyone else from the plane were herded into an empty room and left standing and wondering. Soon the sound of a tractor jolted everyone into alertness. Gazing around the room, local people soon began to congregate around an open area in the middle of the room. The sound of the tractor grew louder and then finally emerged from new beginnings the back of the room. Behind the tractor was hitched a trailer, and on the trailer was a huge mound of luggage. Before the tractor even came to a halt, people from the plane were climbing up onto the trailer and hunting for their luggage.

As the engine of the tractor finally shut down, George climbed onto the trailer and began searching for their belongings, passing them to his children. All of the bags were gathered and the family was once again left standing and wondering. A line was forming, meandering into a dark corridor over to their left. The all-important matter of lines would be something that the Markeys would learn over time. For now, the 10 family members got into line, amazed at the pushing, shoving, and trampling as people rushed to cut in front of them. To their right stood a small glass-encased display cabinet offering “duty free” items, and to which no one seemed to be paying attention. A solitary light bulb dangling over their heads was the only source of a dim and insufficient illumination to the path before them.

After passing through customs, the family followed the other passengers to a set of doors. As the doors opened, all that could be seen was a wall of humanity. The passengers ahead of them walked directly into this mass of people, and as they did, a small crevice emerged through which they then inched forward. Not wanting to miss out on their chance, George led the charge, the people in the crowd seemingly not phased by the commotion, elbows, and other body parts clashing into each other. Any apologies offered for bags rolling over shoes went unanswered by people who were returning only empty stares and confused expressions…

Continue reading.
Get your copy of Distant Fields today for $1.99!

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Updated: Partner in the Distant Fields!

George & Sharon Markey and family

George and Sharon Markey & family

The work in the Distant Fields continues. Take a look at the updated “Partner in the Distant Fields page.” Read brief updates from war-torn Ukraine, northern Russia, the Middle East, and the Republic of Georgia. Through your partnership in the Gospel, lives are being transformed and churches are being planted.

St. Cloud Worship & Missions Evening

CC St Cloud Worship & MissionsIt was an honor to be included in the Worship & Missions Evening at Calvary Chapel St. Cloud. Well, although we were not there physically, our informationWorship & Missions and copies of Distant Fields were available.

Thank you Calvary Chapel St. Cloud for sharing about the past and present work that is taking places in so many parts of the world!

#1 Book in Religious and Notable People!

#1 in Religious Leaders and Notable People!Have you read this book yet? Why not grab your FREE copy to read over the weekend?

Distant Fields has topped the charts in free biographies of religious leaders and notable people!

With only three days remaining, click here to get your FREE copy now. Well over 2000 people have already downloaded Distant Fields in just the past few days. Thanks so much for sharing this story with others!

#1 in Religious Leaders and Notable People!Also, paperback copies are still on sale for $7.99 when you use discount code VJRMJ8AU at check out. Click here to order your discounted copies at the CreateSpace store.

Hurry! Sale and giveaway end on September 28th.

Free Copy of Distant Fields!

Grab Your FREE Copy of Distant Fields!From September 26th – 28th (in memory of George W. Markey’s birthday), Distant Fields–The Amazing Call of George Markey from Farmland to Missions is available as a FREE digital download for all Kindle devices and applications! Just click here to get your FREE copy at Amazon.com.

Furthermore, paperback copies are on sale for $7.99 — that’s $5 off the retail price, when you use discount code VJRMJ8AU at check out. Click here to order your discounted paperback copies at the CreateSpace store.

Share the word!

Please share this FREE resource and sale with your friends on Facebook, your blog, or in an email. Also, if you have read Distant Fields and would like to post a review, please do so at Goodreads, Amazon, or other book sites. This giveaway and sale end on September 28th. Help spread the word. Thanks!


“This book has challenged my life in every way. The life of George Markey has always been an inspiration to me, but being able to read this book and put together all of the details has been invaluable. He was a true servant leader. His testimony is a modern day inspiration that is on the same level as Hudson Taylor and Isobel Kuhn.”
– K. Spencer, taken from a review at Amazon.com

“George was one of the most servant-hearted men I have ever met.”
– Jeremy Camp–Grammy-Nominated Singer/Songwriter

“George was a tremendous example. When I think of him, I think of simple faith, simple trust.”
– Pastor Chuck Smith–Founding Pastor, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa

In Loving Memory of George W. Markey
September 28, 1941 – February 13, 2007

George W. Markey

Mp3 of George Markey’s Last Message!

Now available for download!

Now available for download!

Many have inquired about obtaining a copy of the last message that George Markey gave at the mission’s conference. It was given a little more than a month before he passed away. Much of his message is a summary of his life, as well as lessons he learned as a pastor both in the U.S. and overseas. The mp3 audio recording can now be found here.

Kindle ebook of Distant Fields–Now Available!

Distant Fields for KindleAnnouncing the release of Distant Fields in Kindle format! Get your copy here or by searching for “Distant Fields” in the Kindle Store.

After you have read the book, we would appreciate your review on the Amazon page for Distant Fields. Thanks!

A Review of Distant Fields

Click to visit book site!“This is not just a ‘missions story’ this is Radical (the book) beyond the theoretical and into the real day to day life of just one very usual man with very unusual faith.

I was blessed to have George as my pastor for about 8 years and you know what? I didn’t ‘get’ him.

I enjoyed the sweet wine of the miracles that God did through George and his family and even saw how they flowed from the completely normal water of his life literally poured out for the Gospel. I loved and respected George. But I didn’t ‘get’ George.

Thankfully, his son-in-law Jed Gourley has done such a great job of tracking down friends and colleagues and family of George and telling his story in their words that after reading this – for the first time I realized so much more of why God did such groundbreaking work through George and his family in Ukraine.

Close to (over?) 20 churches spread throughput Ukraine – Kyrgyzstan and Siberia, Christian books translated- printed – and distributed, numerous worship albums with original songs, not to mention the countless lives added to the kingdom through the message of Grace that George not only preached but lived…and on and on…all of these works of God can trace their roots back to the direct influence of George’s faithful ministry of the Gospel.

But more than that, even though I knew George, I went to his church, ate meals with his family – this book challenged me – as if his story was completely new to me – to again wholeheartedly live for God. George’s story makes me long for heaven just like George did. I read it and was convinced once again to seek grace, to live boldly, to simply trust and obey.

I really recommend it (it’s a quick read!) and for anyone that doesn’t want to get to the end of their life and say – ‘Well, was it worth it?’ George lived life to the fullest, using every opportunity for the Kingdom and I’m blessed to have known him.”

– Cara Denny

$2.00 Off Discount Code!

Click to visit book site!I just got a discount code from the printer. This is the code: U37QP9DY  It is for $2.00 off and is to be applied at check out. Again, here is the site: https://www.createspace.com/4853600

If anyone is interested in bulk orders for reselling at churches or book stores, let us know and we will look into getting discount codes for those. Just use the contact page to let us know.

Please note: The discount code only works with CreateSpace, not Amazon.
Discount ends July 4th, 2014