“We’re all here,” President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine said in the video that has since captured the hearts of many around the world.
People are marveling at the strength, grit, and courage of not only Zelenskyy, but of the Ukraine people in general.
I’m not surprised by it at all.
Some of you may remember that I had the privilege of traveling to Ukraine with the ministry Mission to Ukraine in 2013. I wrote at length then about the overwhelming kindness, joy, and especially hospitality of even the most poor who would lay out slices of an orange and what bread they had just to make us feel welcome. I thought I was going to Ukraine to minister to them, but instead, their lives spoke endless Sundays of sermons to me.
So it is with a people determined to–and who indeed have–overcome the unimaginable. For generations now, the people of the land of Ukraine have faced genocides, forced famines, Stalin and Hitler and communism, and for hundreds of years they have been fighting to be free. I found this article I wrote about their struggles back in 2014, and the same things are happening to them all over again. Here’s a snippet:
“…my Ukraine friends [are] crying out in horror at the deaths of tens of peaceful Maidan supporters. They’ve begged for prayers for safety.
Most of all, they’ve pleaded for the West to see them, to notice the corruption and acknowledge the ridiculousness of Russia’s renewed imperialism brought on by an alarmingly apathetic American administration.
‘Russia’s advances in Ukraine are the greatest threat to European security since the Cold War,’ NATO’s chief, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said…
…Russia’s advances are an abomination shadowing the emergence of hope in the eyes of people like Alina [photo at right, ca. 2013], too-long oppressed, but who know enough about the liberty of independence not to fight back.”The thought that these people are hiding in bomb shelters and have missiles whistling through their skies even as I type is more heartbreaking than I can bear.
But one thing stands out to me as much now as it did then: their faith. I only thought I knew how to pray until I witnessed and listened to the prayers of my Ukraine friends. Moreover, the presence of God in the midst of so much darkness there is palpable.
Even in the most recent blog post from Mission to Ukraine, you can hear their faith and the peace that passes all understanding in their voices:
“We also hear many testimonies of God’s miracle like missiles disappearing (announced officially) or not exploding,” they write. “Our soldiers are seeing God’s power and hand all over them. And it is powerful to see huge unity, determination, love and care among all people. Everyone is offering help, everyone wants to do something and to be part of the fight…”
Maybe like me you want to be a part of their fight, too. Please pray for these precious people. Pray for President Zelenskyy and all world leaders for wisdom and an end to this senseless invasion.
Consider donating to Mission to Ukraine.