“This is why He sent you,” my husband texted me.
And as soon as I saw those words from him, I knew that they were true.
If you read my earlier posts, you know I was fearful and even unsure about why God so clearly sent me to Ukraine. I was more-than-funded in four days, after all.
But aside from the pure joy of holding Little Peter’s hands in mine (see me and Peter, below), and the fact that I could no longer find a good excuse to say no to the persistent asks of the trip leader, I really didn’t have a clue why God sent me.
Then Thursday afternoon came, and as I considered my husband’s text and looked into the faces of the Ukrainian counselors, I knew.
“Tell them,” my Abba whispered.
“Tell them they and the girls they counsel are not alone.
“Tell them what man meant for harm, God meant for good, even now, and for the saving of many lives.”
Genesis 50:20 echoed in my head.
What is now being done.
The saving of many lives.
“Tell them,” Abba urged me again.
The Mission to Ukraine (MTU) staff said not to hold back, that in their country, horrific stories are commonplace. They could handle whatever I had to say. And so, after a few minutes of introducing myself, I tossed aside the eleven pages of prepared outline I’d written, a stack of paper which was my feeble attempt to hide what I was sure would be ill-prepared and severely lacking qualifications on my part.
Then I told them everything . . . everything that happened to me, including things shared only with my therapist and husband.
I told them though I may look whole, I am deeply broken.
That though God has delivered me from much, I have scars, indeed a thorn or two of after-effects which linger in my side.
I told them that I am one of every three women in America.
And I told them how God wins.
The shattering of chains was audible, as then they told me everything.
They told me the incidence of sexual abuse there is much greater.
That “maniacs,” as they call them, linger near school yards and in the crowded spaces of public transportation and in the blackened doorways and hallways of the apartment buildings to grope and steal and rape.
“One of my clients, her father raped her. And now her mother hates her, because she thinks the daughter did something to encourage him,” one woman said.
“One of my clients, a young man who was drunk when he came to see me, told me he was gang raped in a room with other teenagers. I did not know how to help him. Tell me,” another implored, “how could I have helped him?”
Still another said, “If you’re saying abuse does not always have to be full-on intercourse to be abuse, then practically all of us have been abused!”
I told them the subject is still very taboo in America.
They said it is even more taboo there.
The more we exchanged stories and facts, and the more the darkness fled and light spilled into the golden-painted room. I could not share enough of my story and the stories of other survivors fast enough. Tears streaming down their faces could not fall far enough. Our arms, wrapped in tight embraces more than two hours later could not hold tight long enough.
To be sure, great is the work yet to be done.
But last Thursday, a giant was slain for many.
As promised in Genesis 50:20, now, good is being done.
Now, miraculous restoration is happening.
Now . . .
. . . even now . . .
. . . lives are being saved.
We all read Isaiah 61 outloud and in three languages–English, Russian and Ukraine.
We sang “How Great Thou Art” in three languages, too, the music erasing the barriers of the tongue and uniting the wings of spirits set free from chains of silence and empowered by the healing power of Jesus Christ.
We stood in awe, witnesses to a rare instance when the veil between the seen and the unseen is lifted.
Slava bogu means “Praise the Lord!” in Russian.