We all say it from time to time during crises: “Well, the only thing left to do is pray.” It’s an understandable sentiment – and a good one, too, if it spurs us to get serious about going to the Lord in prayer.
But sometimes we must remind ourselves that prayer isn’t the last resort; it should always be our first resort. However terrifying the perils we face – including missiles, food shortages, veiled threats of nuclear action – our God is the creator of the universe and unimaginably more powerful.
This is why TWR’s president, Lauren Libby, turned to his Communications team as the Russia-Ukraine war intensified early this week and said, “We really need to encourage our supporters to pray for the protection of the staff members in that part of the world.” It’s one of the main reasons for this continuing update on the war. As we receive scattered reports from our brothers and sisters in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, we’re eager to share the news so you can pray with us – and especially with them – during this world-shaking crisis.
The headlines from the Ukraine front continue to be gloomy: the death toll mounting, one major city apparently being taken over and the capital facing heightened military pressure, airstrikes damaging other cities. Although insubstantial progress had been observed in peace talks between the two sides, there were reports that they had agreed to establish humanitarian corridors for the evacuation of some civilians.
In a recording received by TWR Europe today, the director* of the ministry’s partner in Ukraine addressed the weighty impact the turmoil is having on his countrymen. His incisive words have great value for those of us far from the war zone, as well.
“This morning I prayed for the people who are injured. There are very many. It is difficult. Injured people are not able to act or function in a way that people can without injuries. Unfortunately, there are also many emotionally injured people. More even. Mental injuries don’t heal on their own. They grow. … Such things as grief, arrogance, revenge do nothing good for our hearts. They don’t heal. It requires God’s intervention. They need healing. God did not create us to avenge, to destroy, to kill. God created man to love and be loved. That is how GOD IS, and he wants us to love him. Only a healed person is able to do that.
“I want to ask you today: Are you healed? If not, then you will do a lot of wrong today. You need a healed heart! Only then can you be effective and functional. Pray to God to heal your heart from anger, gloating, hypocrisy, revenge. Ask God to come into your heart with his power, to change it, to heal it. Even in these tragic situations you can have peace in your heart and fulfill God’s plan for you.”
The good news from TWR partners in Ukraine mostly focuses on varying degrees of success in getting family members to safety outside the war zone. If you read yesterday’s update, you’ll recall the wonderful news that the director’s 2-year-old granddaughter managed to reach safety in Romania in the company of her mother and a producer of the Ukrainian version of Women of Hope. If you haven’t watched the brief video in which the director speaks heartbreakingly of his worries about his granddaughter, we urge you to take a couple of minutes to click here and scroll to the video.
The director, his wife and other members of the family remain in the country as internal refugees. He has been called on to dig trenches for the military.
Another member of the Ukraine ministry team who leads the digital outreach confirmed that his family made it safely to Poland. This man has stayed behind, however, and is working with a nonprofit organization to distribute food and other goods to those who need them.
Still another Ukraine team member whose travels we have been following encountered a new obstacle. His car broke down as he continues attempting to deliver his disabled child and sick mother to safety over the border. Fortunately, however, there is hope that he might be able to meet up with the director, whose family is staying nearby, and obtain help to fix the car.
Before going to the Lord in prayer, we invite you to watch this short video – less than a minute long – offering a poetic reaction to the war by a young Ukrainian lady close to our ministry team.