Serving God during the War

October 11, 2022

Serving God during the War

Last time, we shared about our journey into Western Ukraine to bring 700 pounds of medical supplies to our team. Before our 13 volunteers headed back to Cherkasy to distribute these lifesaving items, we spent 4 glorious days together, relaxing and resting -- mostly free from air raid sirens. Our retreat was full of good food, “spa treatments” (think oxygenated blood!) and time to share with each other how the war has affected each team member.

Volunteer

And God serving our Volunteers

After dinner one night, we gathered together in our rented apartment and had a wonderful time of reconnecting. I asked our volunteers 2 questions: “How have you served God during the past 7 months?” And then, “And how has God served you?” Roma said, “God blessed me by allowing us all to be here together having this retreat. I don’t think I did anything significant, but I just helped by passing things from Cyndee onto other people who further send them to the right person in the field. But it’s significant because we can only guess how many people touched a first aid kit as it made it’s way on to the soldiers. We humble ourselves with small tasks and together we join them all together to make something bigger.”

Volunteers

The Power of Prayer

Inna Y said, “I feel comforted when I pray - especially when I pray the psalms that God would destroy the enemy’s arms. And then we get news the next day saying that some arms depot was destroyed. It’s hard to count all of God’s blessings. There are so many. My soul feels really close to God all the time now. I just want to praise Him and rejoice in Him every minute of every day. He is so wonderful to us all.”

ukrainian gilrs

Extra Blessings

Inna K. “I always feel like I want to help more and be more useful. Like when I see some volunteers raise funds to buy big things like drones, or cars or night vision goggles, it’s hard to see what my little helps are. Bringing physical stuff is good, but I think the better thing for me is to pray for our defenders. My prayer is my contribution. How has God served me since the war began? It is hard to name all of the ways. But I can see God’s blessings that we didn’t starve for a single day. We have enough of everything. We had a good harvest season too. At our house, in spite of the fact that 8 out of 10 of our beehives died, we still produced lots of honey this season. Amazingly enough, we harvested 60 liters of honey from only 2 beehives. Usually, we can get 10 liters from 10 hives. This year, God gave us 3000 % more! We have so much to share.”

Extra Blessings

God Provides for His People

Ruslan added to Inna’s comments, “I noticed that this summer Europe suffered tremendously from intense heat and their crops were drying out and dying, while Ukraine was flourishing. This year’s harvest was really good — one of the best potato harvests in years. Our fruit trees are very plentiful - more than in year’s past. You can see how God provides for His people.” You know, I am from the city Kharkiv, which has been heavily hit by constant shelling and bombing. I know a lot of people (relatives) there who lost their jobs and houses. But… they are not starving. They have homes to stay in and food, and it seems like with our economy the way it is, everyone should be suffering greatly but they have enough. They are not rich, but they thank God that they have enough.”

Teenagers Need Jesus

Teenagers Need Jesus

Yaroslav told about some great news about some our older Shpola orphans he has kept in touch with during the war. “Some unlikely teenagers like Viktor and Alina really impressed me. I am really surprised that some kids from Shpola have come to Christ during the war. Thanks be to God. I mean, at this time, I have been keeping in touch with many kids, as we try to pass the time during this war, but we weren’t talking about the war 100%. Of course, the kids were expecting the war, but it was still a huge shock when it happened. Maybe when we are in a scary and tough situation, we can see what we really are. No hiding. In normal life, you act a certain way with certain people. But in a crisis situation, you see a person’s true colors. These guys finally decided they wanted to change. Praise God for that. Also, when I was navigating during our 2 months of evacuating orphans to Romania, many times God gave me supernatural wisdom or confidence or bravery and sometimes it looked really crazy, and I was shocked when we were successful! I know that God gave me things that I do not know, and that’s why our mission was successful.”

Tustan

31 Days of Prayer

Lena shared, “I finally started reading a book in English that I had since I was a child. “31 days of Prayer.” It is about praying for people who are not saved. It has verses in the Bible that proves prayer works. I was really impressed with this book because at the beginning of the war I realized I was really weak. I figured out that my body was absorbing all of my stress. I understood that if the enemy was able to take Kyiv, it would all be over. But then, I also realized that there is real strength in my prayers to make them powerful for the war. A few weeks ago, I shared a devotion with other volunteers who work with refugees. It was about that Christian volunteers tend to carry the burden of all the problems that refugees have during the war. A lot of them were crying. People said they needed to hear this. It was a way that I was able to serve, and their feedback was also a blessing to me. Every day we hear stories about people who died in the war and it’s a heavy burden to carry all that. Just like our medical duffle bags – if someone is carrying 70 pound bag, it’s too much. But if 2 people carry it, it seems light.”

ukrainian couple

Revival in Churches across Ukraine

Tamila shared, “Personally, I will share about 2 blessings I received. When the war started, a lot of people lost their jobs, including me. At that stage, I really loved my job as a day-care teacher, and I really loved working with my kids. But I became very worried when the day-care closed. Many kids fled the country or were spread out in different cities. I thought I will never get my job or kids back. Even our dear boss left the country, and the place was re-purposed for refugees to live there. Then after about 2 months, people started going back to work and our center was re-opened. We got a new boss, and even got some of the refugee kids enrolled. And our boss is somehow even better than before. The girls that are working there now, even though they are not all Christians as we were previously, we are all even closer to each other than before. As the war continued, a lot of our church families also left Ukraine, and we were worried we would lose all 15 kids. But when we reopened the Sunday school, they were twice as many kids as before. Some from Mariupol or other places that have been devastated. We now have the largest youth group, and children’s Sunday School in our church’s history. Generally, throughout Ukraine, there are about twice as many people in church as before the war. Many dying villages are now packed with church goers. People live in the churches and revival is happening now.”

Stone

ukrainian soldiers

box

First Aid Kits -- Big Blessings in Many Ways...

Luda: “I had many blessings too during this time. It was hard when the war started. Everyone was afraid and didn’t know what to do. You go to the shop and all you see is toilet paper. Then you realize what things people rely on – like wealth and money. You have a car, but no gas. Or money with nothing to buy. The war put everyone on the same level. But Christians are like a separate group, and I could see how God was really taking care of us. He would give money and jobs when we had none. He would give food. And even though I was very bored during that time, a big blessing was for me to go to Poland. I was really blessed by the talks Zoe and Meg gave us. We talked about the features of God. How good and how strong He is, and that was comforting when we were sometimes mad at Him for allowing this war. And like a lot of people, I wanted to volunteer alongside other Ukrainians. We would scour the villages looking for people to help. It’s a blessing when God gives us a desire to serve, and I was trying to serve as much as I could. When we were returning from Poland, we were late. It was 11:05 pm (past curfew) and we were still far from home. We wondered if we would get in trouble. Soon, we were waved over to the army check point. And these military men with guns and flashlights demanded to know what supplies we were carrying? We told them that we are bringing medicine for the military. What kind, they wanted to know? So, we quickly gave them the packing list from Cyndee and they started scanning it. Hey, do you have first aid kits? Can you give us some please because we are being sent to the front lines next week and our first aid kits only contain Tylenol. So, we gave 2 kits to those men, and they were like children receiving Christmas presents. They were so impressed. And we said we are going to pray for you. So, I realized the biggest weapon we have is prayer. I used to walk by the school which was taken over by the military and I could see those young soldiers inside, and all I could do was just pray for them. This summer, we had a young soldier who started coming to our church, and he was crying all the time. His Mama was always trying to find extra food and medicine to give to him before he was deployed, and today we found out that he just died in battle.”

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powerbank, first aid

ukrainian soldiers

wagner

Keep sending Medicine and Prayers

People somehow figure out that Luda (a trained pharmacist) has medicine from America and people from Sumy, Kharkiv, Izyim and Donetsk call and then she sends it to them. Recently, Luda had an army man call and ask if they could come over to her house to look at the medicine she has. He said he would bring a paramedic with him, so when Luda opened her door to see 6 huge men with guns slung across their chests, she was a bit surprised. They came into her living room with their big army boots on, and her hands were shaking as she gave them medicine, we sent over. The men were so very thankful for receiving this aid, that these huge gun toting men melted into sweet boys before Luda’s eyes. She said, “I think I do such insignificant acts for the war, but when I hear about special ops soldiers or navy seals, and I organize ways to give them first aid kits – then I think, wow! We can help save their lives. Our military gives soldiers such a tiny fraction of what they need – and those items are reused over and over. Or they disappear. So please keep sending those first aid kits for soldiers. Everyone really loves them, and they tell me that we have the best ones.”

Luda and man




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