Sunday Adelajah, a Nigerian who came to the former Soviet bloc 18 years ago to study journalism, became a pastor instead. Now Adelajah leads a 26,000-member Pentecostal church called the Embassy of the Blessed Kingdom of God for All Nations, in Kiev. In the wake of the presidential election controversy, Adelajah and the church have taken a stand in support of opposition candidate Victor Yuschenko, who was poisoned during the campaign. Earlier rounds of voting were riddled with fraud, and Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych was declared the winner, despite two independent exit polls showing he had lost. Initially, Russian President Vladimir Putin supported the election of Yanukovych.
Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian citizens took to the streets in peaceful protests, and the country's Supreme Court ordered a new election between Yanukovych and Yuschenko for December 26. Aiding the protesters are Adelajah and his church. Adelajah, 37, spoke with Stan Guthrie, CT's senior associate news editor.
What brought you to that part of the world?
I was studying journalism in Minsk at the Belarusian State University. I finished my master's in 1992. So I went from there to the Ukraine to work with one of the first independent television stations after the collapse of Communism. They had never heard commercial television before then. As I was working on that television station, I had an encounter with the Lord. So that encounter led me to resign my appointment, because I was sure God was telling me that I was majoring in bad news in the regular news, but that he had called me to major in Good News. And what this country needed most at this time was not journalists. They had enough journalists who could report news. But he really needed me to ...