In every act of evil, look closely and you will see someone showing up to do good. Some do good in the name of Jesus. All make a sacrifice. This is one such story of a young Ukrainian newlywed.
Light in Darkness
The church in Ukraine is responding in amazing ways to help their communities in the midst of the violent conflict in their nation. Ukrainian Christians are putting their lives on the line—some even sacrificing it all—to shine the light of Jesus Christ during this dark and violent time.
A made for TV movie with Franklin Graham tells the story of some of these brave men and women. One church leader told Franklin, ‘It’s important not to run. For me, I want to run—but as a Christian I want to stay … to show people God’s love.’
One worker said, “We try to pretend that we are strong, but we are deeply wounded. Extreme suffering. This will be with us for years.” Pain has a way of sifting out the fluff and elevating what is essential. Nowhere is that so apparent as the church in Ukraine. North Americans have a lot to learn from believers in Ukraine. I have a lot to learn.
Stanislav Hruntkovsky is one of the ministers in the Irpin Bible Church. He explains, “Before the war we assess the church by whether the sermons and worship were good. We based the efficiency of the church on the number of members and how many came to services. The war threw us in the epicenter of pain and we had no time to preach, to sing beautifully. We simply had to save people. To clothe and feed them and tell them about Christ in between.”
They helped families fleeing from other parts of Ukraine. Diana says her husband loved helping people all his life. “He was a light.” At one point early in the war, Anatoly risked his life to help people cross a river on a bombed-out bridge. You probably watched footage of that bridge on TV.
That same day Anatoly was killed while helping a mother and her children.
Love is Purpose Over Preference
My role as a church coach is to help pastors, boards, and congregations think about their why. Hearing the story of Anatoly and seeing the behaviour of Ukrainian Christians is better than 100 webinars. They get it.
Trying to help Christians think purposefully about mission is not a lost cause. Men like Anatoly remind me that in prosperity or pain, unmistakable goodness is a light. Don’t curse the darkness, shine a light. Do what you can. Share what you have. Refuse to live at such a low level that personal preference trumps everything God cares about. Resist evil.
It’s not fair that Anatoly died helping others. So don’t waste his pain.
Watch the 30-minute video and hear Anatoly and Diana’s story at this link.
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