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Not Even War Will Stop the Church in Ukraine!

I’ve never lived in a country that was at war with-in its own borders! Knowing that I could get in my car and be in a war zone in just a few hours somehow changes your perspective. Knowing that a foreign army is moving your direction causes certain priorities to change!

Women run from shelling in Donetsk, Ukraine. (AP Photo/Mstislav Chernov)

Women run from shelling in Donetsk, Ukraine. (AP Photo/Mstislav Chernov)

A change in perspective

Let’s just put it this way, no one here is complaining because there’s nothing good to watch on the 173 channels they get with their cable package! No one is throwing a fit because the car in front of them in the drive-through can’t get their order right! No one is whining because they can’t get a real person on the phone to answer their banking question!

People here are wondering if their brother or son or father will come back alive from Eastern Ukraine. People are watching the news to see if mortars have flattened their home town, not knowing if they will have a home to return to! People are anxiously waiting for the day when troops will come marching into our city and everything will change.

People are one edge and it shows in their faces! Smoke rising in the distance could just be someone burning garbage, or it could be a provocation, the beginning of something ugly! A distance boom makes you wonder, “Was that a car backfiring or was it something much more ominous?”

How does the church handle this?

When this kind of gloom is hanging over your city and your country it would be easy to think that it would infiltrate the church. It would be easy to assume that the atmosphere of disappointment, anxiety and despair would prohibit the church from fulfilling her calling.

Hardship doesn’t prevent the church from doing her mission, rather it enables her!

God designed the church with these kinds of situations in mind. Jesus gave the church a foundation that can not and will not bend or break, no matter how tragic or hopeless the situation!

Being built up on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the cornerstone,
(Eph 2:20)

The Church continues on!

These are painful times for the church in Ukraine, they are difficult times, they are trying times! Yet, the church marches on! The church marches on because she understands that only her Savior provides hope in hopeless times! She marches on because she understands the deep need to preach the gospel and bring the healing power of Jesus Christ to the hearts of Ukrainians!

Here is the proof

I saw it with my own eyes yesterday!

It was hope!

It was new life!

It was hearts full of worship, ready to follow their Teacher, their Savior, their God, their Jesus!

Take two minutes to watch the video of our baptism yesterday right here in Odessa, Ukraine on the Black Sea and I think you will see the hope and joy in their eyes!

Want to know what they’re saying?

Maxim: I feel joy today, I’ve been born again, I’m dressed in white!

Alexander: It’s a wonderful day, beautiful! Thank you Lord for everything, for this wonderful day. I want to thank everyone for everything!

Leda: I feel a new kind of joy!

Alexander: This is cool! Everything in life changes, I’m absolutely confident in that!

Alla: Such amazing emotions! I’m thankful to the Lord that he gave me new life!

Leda: Finally it happened!

Maxim: Everything was amazing! I’m very happy, we are all very happy! Blessings to everyone!

Question: How does the Church help you continue on when life seems hopeless?

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I am a pastor, missionary, and preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Ukraine since 2007. God blessed me with a wonderful wife and 5 amazing children! My greatest passion is to teach, encourage, and exhort others to turn to Jesus, who is Savior, Lord, and God!

  • What a difference between the church there and the churches in our valley! I’m afraid we could use a war to get our priorities straight but I’m thankful God hasn’t given us one. The news from Ukraine doesn’t sound good, but I’m glad the church is doing well!

    • It’s a sad truth isn’t it Barb? We often don’t get our priorities straight until we are forced to by hardship!

  • What was the significance of the young ladies wearing the white “hat” and then after their baptism it is taken off? The church will always stand, will always be there.

    • You’re observant Bill! It’s tradition here to wear white when baptized to picture the forgiveness that you’ve received from Jesus. I think the girls also usually wear white scarves on their heads. I think it’s mainly to keep their hair in place when they get dunked. However, during the church service only married woman wear scarves and since these girls weren’t married they didn’t wear one after they changed.

  • Great challenge my brother. All the things you named and more then we can name become nothing in the light of people fighting for their life. Thanks for posting this…

    • You’re welcome Betty! I’ve found that priorities can change very fast when we are faced with such tragedy!

  • Floyd

    Wow. That really puts things into perspective, Caleb. Your wisdom speaks volumes to the heart of your readers. Praying for peace and guidance in your now neck of the woods.

    • We sure do appreciate those prayers for us and for Ukraine. One of the guys who was baptized this Sunday asked prayer for his brother who is serving in the army in Eastern Ukraine. His troop was surrounded and had no way out for several days. They finally made a hole and got out but many but for many of the guys it was too late!

  • Thomas

    “It was hearts full of worship, ready to follow their Teacher, their Savior, their God, their Jesus!” to me that is really inspiring that even things are happening in Ukraine this people are still committed to God. It has really helped me that even them in a situation such as the one they are going thru they still trust in God. We praise God and i really love hearing this story and seeing what is going on in other countries

    • Thanks for letting me know Thomas! One of my prayers is that as I write about the events here that it will ignite faith in others!