It’s been a while since we’ve had a new post, and even longer since I, Krista, wrote anything. So, here’s an update on life in Ukraine.
First of all, thank you so much to everyone who has been praying for us and for Ukraine these past few months! It’s been a season of many sleepless nights, lots of praying, and lots of frustration. Frustration?! Yes, frustration at how little we could really do the past few months. You see, calling a nation different from my birth-country home for more than half of my life has made ‘home’ a very interesting concept in my life. In the past, I’ve determined that home is just wherever I live. I can be in a country for a week, and after a long day of ministry I find myself saying, “I can’t wait to get home.” Then I catch myself and realize I just called a hotel I live in for a week ‘home’. And I love that about my life and my calling! God has truly placed the nations in my heart, and anywhere I go in this great world of ours I feel at home. BUT, what I have realized over these past few months of turmoil in Ukraine, is that Ukraine truly is HOME! Yes, I will still call many different places (including hotels) home; but deep down my heart has discovered this is the place I will always return to, the place I can’t live without. And that is why there were times of frustration. To me, this is home; but according to two governments, this is not my home and I am limited in the activities I can participate in. Had I done what I wanted, I would have been in Kyiv the past three months cooking food for the thousands of people standing up for their freedom, serving them however I could and standing alongside them. But, not knowing how things were going to turn out, I couldn’t – were the wrong people to stay in power, I could have been deported, never again allowed to come ‘home’. That wasn’t an option, so I (along with Bria & Lins too) had to make the difficult decision to just fight from home with prayers. So, thank you for praying with us! We rejoice at the victories the people have had – impeaching the former President, getting a new interim government, early elections in May, and a new war on corruption beginning, uniting their country despite language divisions and even some cultural divisions. Never before has Ukraine been so united! But…
Please don’t stop praying! Ukraine lost nearly 100 heroes during the battles in Kyiv. Hopefully the worldwide news is reporting what is still happening. The biggest threat now is Russia. They have invaded Crimea (an autonomous republic that is part of Ukraine) and many feel it is lost to Ukraine, though war hasn’t officially happened yet and Ukraine is still claiming Crimea. It’s a very unstable situation and everyone is waiting, praying, and holding their breath. Russia is unpredictable and no one knows for sure what they are planning, but everyone knows they won’t give up without a fight. Militarily speaking, barring a miracle, Ukraine has no chance against Russia. The military is quite small and lacks weapons. Ukraine has begun conscripting all eligible males, and we personally have friends who have received summons to begin training as soon as they receive the order – guys who have no previous military background. There is a good chance a war is still ahead for Ukraine and they are beginning to prepare. So, please continue to pray with us! The east is still in unrest, many Ukrainians are being attacked by Russians, some have died, girls have been raped, and provocations from Russia are a daily occurrence. Pray for the Ukrainian people, pray for the men being called up and the families they leave behind, pray for miracles regarding Russia that they would turn back and leave, pray for peace, whatever God puts on your heart, and most of all pray this would bring about a spiritual revival as people turn to God and seek hope! (A brief side note: don’t worry, we are safe and far from the danger. Lviv is on the far western border of Ukraine, and Crimea is in the southeast.) Another way you can help, is to call your state representatives and ask them to do all they can to help Ukraine.
In other news, ministry continues and is going well. Since last summer I have been leading our church Sunday School ministry. It’s been such a joy to see the kids memorizing scripture and enjoying church. We have seen a number of families that had stopped coming return to our church family, and sometimes they even admit that it’s the kids begging to come to church that brings them! We’ve just started back at the beginning of the Bible and are finishing up the story of creation. If you enjoy crafts with your kids or are in children’s ministry, be on the lookout for a creation craft blog post soon! In my search for crafts I ended up creating my own and would love to share it with you.
Unfortunately, due to flu season in the city, the orphanage has been under quarantine for almost two months. We are all missing the kids and anxious to get back to them. We are hopeful we will be allowed to return tomorrow!
Construction is in full swing again at home, about to kick into even higher gear as we prepare for our first World Race team of the year, in May. We need to quickly finish some rooms so as to be able to host them. The teams are always a huge blessing and we look forward to enjoying a new team soon!
I am happy to report that I still get to talk with Mariya, the woman I wrote about in the blog “4:30 a.m. Wake Up Call”. I try to call occasionally to check on her and it is always a joy to hear her voice. It is sad to hear the pain in her voice whenever she brings up leaving her service to God, but a joy to be able to remind her that God is forgiving and still loves her. The love she has for Jesus is audible and so real when she talks about praying to Him. Please pray for her, that she would find and accept His forgiveness and peace – I believe she is saved, but there is so much more He wants to give her in their relationship.
To end, I just want to say, THANK YOU! Thank you so much to each person who supports us financially, physically enabling us to be here and serve. Some days I am hit with a wave of overwhelming gratitude for the goodness of the Lord and for your generosity and support – I realize that without Him and without you, I wouldn’t be here…and I cannot even tell you what a gift each day here is. Thank you to everyone who has prayed and is praying for us, spiritually enabling us to be here. Prayer is as important of an aspect to life here as financial support, again, it takes both to be here. Thank you to everyone who has taken time to read our blogs, to share our blogs, and to send us an email of encouragement – we appreciate it all!
Many blessings from Ukraine,