Report from Ukrainian Mission Team: Zhenya, Misha and Lena
written by Lena
God has prompted us to pray for our country as there is a war in the east of Ukraine, a lot of grief, despair, broken hearts, as well as a lot of needs both physical and material. But the main thing is the spiritual hunger and need people have of the saving grace of the gospel. The Lord has blessed us so that we can in turn serve the people in the East. We were able to collect and send parcels with humanitarian assistance to Eastern Ukraine for people who still live in the war area, both believers and nonbelievers. We provided help to the church in the city of Dimitrovo, Donetsk region, where Igor Tunik is the pastor. We sent Christmas gifts for children there. We pray for the repentance and the awakening of the people in the East, and that there would be more of God’s people who would serve these people in the war zone.
From December 22 to 29 the Lord blessed us by allowing a trip to the East of Ukraine in Donetsk region to visit Pastor Igor Tunik and his churches. This trip filled our hearts with different feelings – from joy to sadness. We were willing to serve and see the whole situation there, to meet people, see the ministries which take place near the war area and to see that area through the eyes of Christ. Days were filled with various meetings in different localities, both with believers and nonbelievers.
We were surprised by the different attitudes of the people. People in the areas hit by war are open to the gospel. But where there is still even small stability or material well-being, people are cold-hearted and violent. It is also painful to realize the fact that there is a coldness in the hearts of some Christians too; some are willing to have active ministries, but there are only a few of them who are willing to stay and serve in dangerous areas where God has birthed new churches.
This trip was a test of our own hearts: Are we looking for God’s direction or our own? We visited five areas, where there are already Bible study groups. Those are five young churches where there are no pastors, or anyone who would lead people to Christ through the gospel. There is one rehab center in the village of Zhuravka. In this village there is one minister, who helps Igor in this ministry. Igor is spread very thin with six additional ministries as well as his own local church. It is sad and encourages us to pray more with the prayer of Luke 10:2 – this is a direct commandment of our Lord Jesus Christ. We pray that the Lord of the harvest sends out laborers to His harvest. The question arises whether we are ready to be obedient to the Lord, even when we need to sacrifice our own comfort. He also spoke to all:
If any man will follow me, go, let him deny himself and take up his cross, but every day, and follow Me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; who will destroy his life for me, and he shall save it. (Luke 9:23-24).
The situation in Eastern Ukraine reminded us of when the curtain fell, and people were ready, open and hungry spiritually. If only the children of God would not miss this chance and do as the Lord teaches us in the Great Commission.
Due to health concerns the Ukraine team has had to temporarily suspend ministries. Zhenya is sick with chronic hepatitis B. Also, in the region of Ukraine where team members live a quarantine is in place due to a strong flu virus. Many adults and children have died. Please pray for the health of team members and their families and for ministries to resume.