Month Six and Psalm 13
This Sunday marked the beginning of month six of the war. A new friend from Scotland who has connected through our ministry to refugees (a lot of new friends these days!) shared a worship video with me yesterday based on Psalm 13. One of the verses goes:
Our foes and enemies rejoice
Injustice seems to reign
Lord, we are shaken and we are losing strength
How long, O Lord, how long?
I’m not gonna lie, it had me bawling. It does feel like a long time. As another new acquaintance wrote me recently, “It must seem like what’s going on will never end.” How many more months must we endure of murdered sons!? Of raped daughters!? Of evil from the bloodthirsty belly of hell (a.k.a., Moscow)!? Lord, arise!
As I’ve mentioned before, the Psalms have become especially precious to us here in Ukraine during this time. We don’t know how long the Kremlin’s wickedness will be allowed to endure, but we do know one thing: their judgment is soon and inevitable. Christ’s victory is soon and inevitable. But in the midst of this winter of suffering, we also continually see the new buds of the coming eternal spring breaking through. One recent “bud" is Rita.
Rita came to our church a couple weeks ago with her husband, 4 children and 1 grandchild. They had fled the fighting in the eastern Donbass region back in April, but each time they only went a little further from the front. They kept hoping that things would turn around quickly and they could go home. As the front line kept pushing closer to them, they would again flee further. Svitlovodsk was their fifth relocation since the war began, but one that God orchestrated.
I don’t honestly know the full story of how they ended up in Svitlovodsk, but they had originally sheltered in one of the shelters the city set up in an old, run-down hotel from the Soviet era. The conditions there are not very pleasant—though at least there are no bombs falling here. In reality, our church is currently the only place in the whole city offering regular humanitarian aid and decent temporary housing for refugees.
Rita recently overheard our new believers’ class as she entered the building one evening. Without hesitation, she asked to join. Since the meeting was already halfway over, I suggested we talk afterwards. As it turned out, Rita had been to a Protestant church once before in her hometown in Donbass.
She shared that at that time she felt a “lightness” she’d never felt, but left and didn’t return. She cried numerous times as we talked and she described her experience then—as well as the hell she’s forced to live in now. I explained the Gospel to her, how Christ had indeed taken our burdens of sin and offers us a “lightness” we cannot otherwise know. With wide eyes she asked, “What do I have to do?” I share with her the great news of what she has to do: nothing! It’s already done! I led Rita that evening in prayer to receive the gift of grace in Christ (pictured above shortly after).
Rita is number 20 (that we know of) to put her faith in Christ through the ministry of our church over these last 5 months. That’s four new believers a month, one a week. Now multiply these stories by the hundreds and even thousands of churches serving refugees now. If someone asked me if I ever wanted or would chose to go through war, I’d say a thousand times, “No!” But if someone asked what price I would be willing to pay to see thousands and even tens of thousands of Ukrainians coming to faith in Christ in a single year—there’s not much I wouldn’t agree to go through for that.
This war has made one thing clear: Satan is divided against himself. He is busy destroying his own papier-mache kingdom that will soon burn to ashes. He can do nothing against the truth in the end. Would you pray with us for Ukraine the words of Psalm 13 tonight?
Additionally, pray for the camps we’re running this week and next for refugee youth, plus our own youth of course (the older group’s camp from this week is pictured below). Pray for many to come to know the grace of God, as a number of them have never even been to a Protestant church in their lives. And as always, you can donate to help us serve refugees like Rita using the button below.