Giving the Gospel and Assistance
The following is the first hand account of the international ministry of FG clergy Dr. J.L. into Ukraine over the recent months. As the Lord speaks, FG clergy, congregations and partner ministries are encouraged to give into the ministry of providing assistance to the war zones, touching many with the gospel and love of Christ.
We will fight now… We will cry later
I just returned from Ukraine – rejoicing in God’s goodness but somber about the terrible struggles the people of Ukraine are experiencing as a result of a despot deciding he wants to take what was not his to take – and in the process killing thousands of people, including women and children, and indiscriminately bombing cities, including apartment complexes, school, hospitals, and other places and people that he thinks are not in favor of him trying to conquer their country.
Ukraine is an entire country that can legitimately be diagnosed with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Not a single day passed while I was there that did not have at least 3-4 air raid sirens waining of danger-it can be a bit disconcerting to hear one of those warnings and not know if and/or when an attack may come from the air to your location.
The Ukrainian people are amazing – they are fighting for survival. The saying above “We will fight now… we will cry later” sounds good, but unfortunately it is the recipe for terrible pain. I learned long ago to not start by asking people what they are feeling – they will typically say they are “fine”, which, of course, is not at all true. Instead, I ask them to share what they have been experiencing.
Almost without fail that breaks through their defenses and tears begin to flow, which tum into sobs as they let the pain out that they have been working so hard to hold in for so long. That gives me a chance to assure them that God knows their pain, that He loves them, and will give them the strength to walk through whatever they are facing. What a blessing to see them begin to find a new peace, and even a smile, that replaces the pain they have been working so hard to hold in.
I am so thankful that God allowed me to go to minister to so many hurting people. I was able to go to hospitals to encourage and pray with victims of bombing, missile attacks, mines, etc. -amputated limbs, shrapnel wounds, etc. etc. I am so humbled that I was able to participate in medical clinics we set up in a refugee area to treat their medical, emotional and spiritual conditions – what a great pleasure to minister to the emotional and physical hurts people were living with, and then to pray with many of them to accept Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. I was also honored to train a group of men on how to respond to mass casualty situations -that is so much more difficult to do than it is to say.
The war continues – people continue to be driven from their homes, and yes, people continue to die. Millions of women and children (men are not allowed to leave because they are needed to defend the country) have fled to Poland and other nearby countries – they are now desperate to find a way to move forward in life, most without any of their possessions because they had to run from the attacks with no time to prepare.
In times like these people want answers to the tough questions that many Christians hope they are never asked, questions like, “Where is God?”, “If God loves us why does He allow these things to happen?”, etc. etc. Those kinds of questions are usually asked in times of desperation, and they deserve more than platitudes, they deserve to have true biblical answers. I am so thankful that God allows me to be his vessel to share his truths in terrible situations all around the world.
There is so much more that I could share but I will stop for now. How can I adequately express how incredibly thankful I am for people like you that are so faithful to pray and to financially support this ministry. Without the support of people like you I would not be able to help such struggling people around the world.
I am committed to taking every opportunity to minister to “the least of these” whenever and wherever I can. I am so very thankful for you and others for making it possible. Always remember that you are there with me wherever this ministry takes me.