“Churches have become a lighthouse of hope” in Ukraine, says Sergey Rakhuba, president of Mission Eurasia. Since the Russian invasion on February 24th, the war has displaced millions, killed thousands, and destroyed the way of life of countless Ukrainian people. In the disaster that followed, and continues to unfold, the church has responded to the war with courage, faith, and perseverance. The stories coming out of all the chaos are both inspiring and heartbreaking.
Dozens of reports have already detailed the ways church communities are responding to this crisis. Many church leaders are staying put (read here and here) in the most dangerous of places and are using their buildings as refuge/bomb shelters to house people, their resources to feed and clothe refugees, and their vehicles to help evacuate people from war-stricken regions. While some churches are staying in literal battle zones, others are evacuating in response to Russian advances.
Churches are still holding worship services. Watch this beautiful congregation sing praises to God, despite the war raging on around them.
Gospel opportunities have opened up in countless ways, as many Ukrainians are searching for hope in the midst of despair and ruin. “Our neighbors have heard more about Christ, heard more Scripture, and been led in more prayer in the last week than most of them probably have in their lives,” writes Benjamin Morrison in Christianity Today, pastor of a Ukrainian church that is operating a bomb shelter for refugees. “We are just an inn for weary travelers on the way…we will play whatever role God grants us: to plant a seed, to water—or to harvest when ready. He is the one who brings the fruit in his time, and we can rest in that.” Morrison is one of many church leaders standing firm in the midst of the chaos and pain unfolding as the Russian advance becomes only more brutal in its inhumanity. Their witness is evident and important. Their work is a genuine depiction of the love of Christ.
This leads me to the question: what can the student body of a small New England liberal arts college do to help the Ukrainian church? Despite being thousands of miles away? This is something I have wrestled with as of late (feeling useless), but I am reminded that God can use anyone for His purpose, whether they be in the midst of a catastrophe or on the sidelines stuck watching. Though we are college students with limited resources, time, and opportunities to make a significant influence, God can (and does) use each and every act of faith for His glory.
With that said, there are many things we can do to support our brothers and sisters who are serving the Ukraine people.
Most importantly, God hears our prayers and petitions. (1 John 5:14) In time of need, we are called to “draw near to the throne of grace.” (Hebrews 4:16) We are to “pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16) Paul writes that Christians must “keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.” (Ephesians 6:18)
God hears and will respond to our prayers in ways both seen and unforeseen. Our prayers matter.
Let us pray for the refugees. For the grieving. For the churches in their ministry the hurt, the poor, and the broken hearted. For the men deployed in the Ukrainian military. For people to see the beauty of the gospel in the midst of tragedy and despair. For healing and restoration to come over the land of Ukraine. For God to turn Vladimir Putin away from his wickedness and brutality. Let us pray for these things and more.
A few missionaries to pray for:
Many missionary organizations and local churches are in need of funds for supplies, food, and medical equipment. Since the war began, several emergency funds have been created to support Christians on the ground. Though you may be broke (aren’t we all), still consider donating. Any amount counts.
If there is another church or organization you would like to see included on this list, please contact me.
It is quite difficult to support the church if you are not aware of what is currently going on in Ukraine, or the world for that matter. Search for reliable sources about the war, the humanitarian crisis it created, and how the church is responding. Avoid misinformation. Share with others what you find and raise awareness. By awareness, I don’t mean simply reposting something you find on Instagram. Raise the subject up in your conversation with friends. Talk to your church leadership about what is happening and ask if there is anything they can do to help. Pray for tangible steps that will bear fruit and avoid the virtue signaling culture that is all too prevalent on social media. If you are going to share resources in an effort to support the Ukrainian church, let it be out of a genuine love for the people of God and a desire to see the hope of Christ brought to the hurting. May your motives be true.
Whether or not we can tangibly help the Ukrainian people or the Ukrainian church, it is important for them to be on our heart during this very pressing time. Through all the pain, sorrow, and turmoil however, may we place everything in perspective of the salvation to come:
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.” 2 Corinthians 4: 7-11
And finally, may we be assured:
“He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. “ Revelation 22:20–21
Categories: Student Life