Gal. 1:10 – “For I no longer live to please men, but to please God.”
Well, I’ve been in Ukraine for about a month now. It’s been so great to be home, be back with my parents and friends, to be in this amazing city, and to begin the ministry God is calling me to. While I’m striving to live this verse daily in my life, it seems like in the coming months there may be more opportunity to experience what it really means. We are finding out about more anti-Semitism in Lviv and in the churches here, and planning the March of Life will probably be opposed by some. But, I know God has ordained this march, and it will go on, despite what man thinks.
Since arriving in Lviv on May 5th, things haven’t been moving as fast as I had imagined, but slowly and surely my parents and I are starting to work on the March of Life. We’ve met a couple times with the pastor of a Jewish church here in Lviv, who is helping us to organize the march. It was so great to meet another pastor in the city who has a love for Israel and wants to see a march take place in Lviv. My dad and I also met with a woman we know, who is connected to the Greek Catholic church here, and invited them to take part in the march with us. Of course, she’ll have to take it to the heads of the church, and then they’ll have to take it to their leaders – so, we’re not quite sure when we’ll hear back from them. But, we are hopeful that they will take part in it. It has been visible since arriving in Lviv, that God is doing a work in the catholic church in regards to Israel. It appears He is giving them a new revelation as to Israel’s importance to Him, and they are acting upon that revelation. We will begin calling other pastors in the city and trying to set up meetings with them. We have bought 40 copies of Don Finto’s book, “Your People Shall Be My People” (I highly recommend it if you haven’t read it!) in Russian, to give to the pastors we meet with. We are hoping that they will read it and get a revelation of God’s heart for Israel and the Jewish people. We are also waiting for the organizers of the main march in Kyiv to send us an official letter to take to the City Council here and get permission for the march.
On that note, please be praying for us as we pursue this. Our desire would be to set up a stage in front of city hall (it’s a very central location in the city) to have a short ‘program’ at the end of the march. We would like to see a praise team sing some Jewish songs, and have a time where pastors from the different churches can repent for what happened here during WW2 and for the anti-Semitism of the church today. We are praying that this will be a breakthrough in bringing down the walls between Jews and Gentiles, and start the process of reconciliation. But, to do that, we will definitely need permission from the city council, and we’ve heard that many of them are anti-Semitic. The other pastor helping to organize the march told us that while talking to a city councilman one time, the councilman asked him, “Is there really anti-Semitism in Lviv? I’ve never seen it.” There are constantly nationalistic meetings in the center of town that are anti-Semitic, you can hear nationalists standing around on the weekends having anti-Semitic conversations, and there are tons of swastikas and anti-Semitic graffiti in the city. So, there is no way this councilman has not seen or heard the anti-Semitism in our city. The pastor who told us about this man said that many councilman and pastors just want to brush what happened here during the holocaust under the rug for fear that if they acknowledge it, it will require some sort of action from them, and it would be ‘unpopular’ to stand with the Jews.
We know though that God has ordained this march to take place in our city, and this just shows us that there is an even bigger need for it than we had first thought. God has told us He will be with us through this march, so we are just trusting Him! If He wants the march to end in the city with a public display of support for Israel, He’ll work in the hearts of the city council and we’ll get permission. If He doesn’t want the march to be that big and public, He’ll shut the door for that idea and we‘ll show our support for the Jews privately. Either way, His will will be done, and the glory will be His.
In addition to that, I’m working on getting all the release forms figured out for interviewing holocaust survivors. I’ll be going to Germany and France next month to visit some friends, and I’m searching for opportunities there to interview people. My friend in France has told me that I can talk to his great-uncle, who was a prisoner of war in Germany. I’m contacting my friends in Germany as well, to see if they can set up some appointments for me. But, God is already opening up doors, and I’m believing this will be a ministry trip, not just a ‘vacation’.
It’s exciting to see God setting things up and getting to be His hands and feet on earth. But, while it’s exciting, there are also struggles. Even though I’ve spent more than half my life in Ukraine, I’m entering a new season of life and ministry, and that brings a whole set of new adjustments in life. So on that note, here’s a short list of things you can pray for:
- Please pray for me as I readjust to life here and rebuild friendships.
- I’ve had to deal with a Jeremiah attitude since arriving – believing I’m too young for the job and unqualified. God has quickly dealt with those lies though when the enemy has planted them. Pray that I will daily stay close to God to fulfill the ministry He has for me.
- Please pray that God would be at work in the hearts of the pastors and city council, to stand with us during this march and support the Jewish people here.
- We have had some frustrations with the pastor helping us organize this (due to different views on communication and him changing the plans without telling us), so please pray that we would be able to work together without conflict.
Thank you all so much for your prayers – they are a great support! I pray you are all being blessed as you serve God in the place He has you, fulfilling what He has called you to.
Short update on Bria and Lindsay: They are still preparing for their return to Ukraine and are working on getting everything done before leaving. They will be sending out an update in a couple of weeks.