By Steve Rees —
The little known story of war in Ukraine is how churches are turning what the enemy intended for evil into glory for God through ministry to millions of people traumatized by Russia’s aggression.
With support from Christians in America, Ukrainian churches have shared the gospel with millions of people, filled empty stomachs, sheltered the homeless, and prayed for peace.
A prayer leader in Ukraine, Vitaliy Orlov, is thankful for spiritual and financial support from American intercessors for neighbors and a family member who’ve suffered as a result of the war.
“It is true that daily we are being bombed, especially my city and region, along with thousands of other towns in Ukraine. I know that almost every Ukrainian is traumatized today,” Orlov told American prayer warriors.
Orlov, the leader of Intercessors for Ukraine, said his brother expressed doubts that he will survive the war as a member of the army.
“There are hundreds of thousands like my brother,” Orlov told Intercessors for America (IFA). Watch here: Watch – Intercessors for America (ifapray.org)
People without food for months heard the gospel and received prayer booklets, thanks to IFA, which provided one million meals after the war began.
Still, spiritual, emotional and physical tolls mount for Ukrainians in the second summer of war, according to a pastor whose church’s doors are open to hurting people.
“It’s tough to see families that have lost fathers and homes,” said Pastor Maksym Bilosouv, who weekly serves hundreds of refugees at his church in Dnipro.
Praying for and over refugees, church members lead them to the Lord around tables set up for meals and conversation, said Bilosouv, who calls it a starting point.
“When I look ahead, I see problems in the future that only God can deal with,” said Bilosouv who, despite adversity, retains joy.
Though the church responded wonderfully at the beginning of the conflict, fatigue is now a factor.
Both leaders ask prayer for the military, more prayer book resources, and care for orphans.
Along with IFA, Christian charities CityServe, Giving Hope, Global Kingdom Partnership Network and individuals like Willie Robertson from the Duke Dynasty television family are helping train, equip and mobilize the church to minister with the compassion of Jesus.
A family trauma center in Ukraine – funded by those groups, Robertson and others – is nearing completion. It will serve the Ukrainian church at large with resources for pastors and their followers to minister care to individuals and families.
They are experiencing hell, according to Dr. Tim Clinton, co-host of Family Talk with James Dobson, an author and founder of the Association of Christian Counselors.
“War is hell. Think about darkness, insanity, the trauma of bombs going off constantly, the lost of a sense of safety and hiding place,” Clinton said.
People end up in what Clinton calls an adaptive mode, trying to figure out what to do in the midst of chaos.
“Imagine that 24-7,” said Clinton, adding that relationship is the antidote to trauma.
He is offering support to program activity at the trauma center, which will face challenges helping people with an “avalanche of pain and devastation and needed work to get back to a sense of normalcy.
“We can’t do it apart from our relationship with God in Christ,” Clinton said.
CityServe, which has fed three million in Ukraine since the war’s outbreak, is planning to soon dedicate a family center that will provide hope to widowed and single mothers like the one CEO Dave Donaldson met after bombing began.
“I gave her a hug and, pulling away, she said, ‘Don’t leave me.’
“That’s been our battle cry. We’re not leaving,” said Donaldson, who is planning his fourth trip to Ukraine.
CityServe has evacuated thousands of young women, the elderly, and holocaust survivors, providing generators to churches that are now literal light houses.
Pastors and bishops tell CityServe leaders their greatest needs are helping young mothers who are now widows, the elderly and traumatized children.
CityServe President Wendell Vinson is grateful to Ukrainian pastor and churches. “We get to link up with the church Jesus already has in Ukraine; it is moving forward, and the gospel is advancing throughout eastern Europe,” Vinson said.
Giving Hope, which builds a new care home for children every year, teamed up with Duck Dynasty’s Robertson and CityServe to make a difference in the lives of hurting Ukrainians.
Businessman Troy Duhon, the executive producer of God’s Not Dead, is excited to see firsthand the project in Ukraine.
“I told my wife there’s no greater project I can do than what we’re doing in Ukraine because it’s truly Christ’s work.
“For Giving Hope it’s an honor to partner with CityServe,” said Duhon.
For Robertson, author of a new book about sharing the gospel, partnership with CityServe is another way to use the gifts God’s given him to help fulfill the Great Commission.
“I can’t wait to get over there myself to love and serve people like Jesus; it’s an incredible way to get the message out,” Robertson said.
To learn more about the ongoing work in Ukraine, visit cityserve.us