CRISIS UPDATE – Wednesday March 2, 2022
We are now on the seventh day of the Ukraine/Russia War—soon to be the eighth. Things just seem to keep ratcheting up in intensity, with more destruction in several key Ukrainian cities and the number of casualties on the rise. We are also finding again that, as always in war, truth is often the first casualty. Media accounts conflict. Both sides in the conflict make claims against each other. In this day of social media, rumors and misinformation abound, and we are left wondering what to believe.
But our brothers and sisters in Christ who are living in the middle of the violence and bloodshed send us trustworthy, firsthand accounts. Even with bombs and missiles falling around them, their concern remains focused on their loved ones, their church families, and how best they can glorify the Lord and meet the needs of their people in the midst of it. Consider this brief report sent to us by Ruslan, one of our supported missionary pastors who is in southern Ukraine right now. He truly illustrates the love of Christ in action in helping the needy as their lives are being shattered around them. “Greetings! I just returned to Odessa. Barely arrived. Lots of roadblocks. Explosions have just been heard in Odessa. People are calling and asking to be taken to the border. We will take them to the border of a neighboring country some distance away. We are now preparing a basement for shelter under our church building in case of bombing – a lot of people with children are coming to look for a bomb shelter, and unfortunately, what is indicated on the maps of the city, in most cases they simply do not exist or they are closed. We have organized daily lunches for those in need—the prices in local stores have risen a lot. I just watched a picture of some elderly people going into the store and seeing the prices just go back without anything. Thanks for your prayers!”
As Ruslan travels across Ukraine transporting refugees and helping to feed them, he himself is at great risk. But he trusts in His Lord and Savior as he carries out the ministry to which he was called . . . for such a time as this (Esther 4:14). May we all learn and profit by his example, even as we help supply Ruslan and other churches in the war zone with the resources they need for the overwhelming needs.
Today’s Scripture Theme:
Very early on in human history, the Lord God made it very clear that He took the shedding of blood and sinful violence seriously, and would hold mankind to account for it. And of all the wars that have broken out among the nations since the fall of man in the Garden, all of them can be traced back to sin at some level, and the consequences of sin. The tragedy and the bloodshed break the heart of God, and it should break our hearts. But what can come out of what appears to be such senseless violence? How can we, as the body of Christ, best show forth His power to love, forgive, heal, and redeem in the midst of a raging conflict? Many believers before us through the centuries have wrestled with that question just as we wrestle with it now. But we are convinced of this—that the Lord has called us to be peacemakers, and to share the life-changing Gospel of Jesus Christ with the lost and broken. We are called to help the needy and give them what they lack as the Lord enables, and in so doing, we reflect His beauty, glory, and lovingkindness to those who need it the most.
As our brothers and sisters in Ukraine and other conflict-torn regions of the former Soviet Union labor to lift up the name of Christ and reflect His love, we count it a privilege to serve them together with you. We know that only eternity will reveal the totality of the spiritual fruit that will be gathered. Pray for open doors and open hearts for the Gospel in the days ahead!
Please Pray Today: