Ukrainian Refugee Report 8-28-22

Ukrainian Refugee Report 8-28-22

Firewood to stockpile for the coming winter

 In Perils of…

 We are so blessed to live in a land where we feel safe! Of course, we face dangers from time to time but usually not because of our faith. Listen to the Apostle Paul’s testimony in 2 Corinthians 11:26: In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren. These were not the musings of a clinically depressed individual but rather the real-life experiences of a true follower of Jesus Christ. Some of the dangers he faced were circumstantial and beyond his control. Dangers which others who traveled in his day might also face, or perhaps everyday dangers which could easily happen to most anyone. But many of the dangers he faced were the result of choices he was making. Not foolish choices of thrill seeking or trying to set some wild new record or making a name for himself. Nor were they the inevitable result of a reckless lifestyle as is so often the case for many of us. Rather they resulted from a clear choice to follow Jesus in complete surrendered obedience, no matter what it might cost him. Obedience born out of a heart filled with God’s Love for his fellow man. A Love that demanded selfless sacrifice and hard work of long hours in order to share the Gospel with lost souls. When one engages in such committed obedience, the dangers simply go with the territory.

  It is absolutely amazing what humans are capable of becoming accustomed to if exposed to adversity long enough. In speaking by phone recently with a brother in Ukraine I inquired how conditions are there. He related his experience in a public market recently when the air raid sirens began blaring. Early in the war this would have sent the crowds of people scurrying for whatever shelter of cover they could find. Today? He looked about and observed virtually everyone calmly going on with their respective business transactions with hardly an interruption at all. It is not that the danger has diminished, but rather the participants have simply accepted it as part of everyday life. Living and working on an active battlefield such as Ukraine presents a whole new set of dangers. One learns quickly how things work and how to at least partially mitigate dangers. Hazard levels increase dramatically the closer one travels toward the front lines. Traveling at night greatly increases the dangers again simply because vehicle lights are easily spotted from all manner of drones and manned aircraft alike. Nor does one want to linger anywhere in open country for long, lest we become a sitting target.

  We received a request recently from one of our volunteer drivers for a better vehicle. The one he was driving was borrowed and quite old thus was prone to frequent breakdowns. He related how that whenever he hears air raid sirens now, instead of quickly trying to hide, he simply keeps driving even after dark. But recently he has been stranded on the side of the road, during such times he understandably feels very vulnerable. Please join us in praying that the Lord would supply a good used vehicle for this need. We do not want to unduly endanger this dear brother’s life yet the desperate need for aid continues.

  We recently ordered several loads of firewood from some local men to stockpile for the coming winter. They were happy to get it for us for a reasonable sum but the wood hasn’t arrived yet. When we inquired about the delay, they related that soon after they had taken their truck to the forest to collect the firewood artillery shells exploded around them. It seems any vehicles in the forest are assumed to be military and are immediately shelled by one side or the other. Recently another load of aid was stopped by Ukrainian soldiers and our volunteers were arrested. The soldiers blindfolded them with adhesive tape, tossed them into the trunk of a car and hauled them off to their base, all while threatening to shoot them. To be fair the soldiers had no idea who these fellows were or what they might be hauling and where. Tense moments followed until all parties understood what was really going on. Perhaps this is what Paul meant by “in perils by mine own countrymen”? One might ask the questions: Is it really worth it? Just suppose something goes wrong and someone gets killed? What about their families? Why don’t the Christians simply leave and migrate to somewhere safe? Legitimate questions. Even good questions perhaps.

  But what about God’s calling on one’s life? These brothers have seen first hand the desperate needs. The hungry faces of those who cannot leave. And even in some cases the hungry souls with hearts that are ready to hear the Gospel. They have witnessed God at work in sometimes totally miraculous ways. Like this one: Igor (name changed for security) has always been a ‘nice guy’. Amiable and soft spoken he got along with virtually everyone yet he was never saved. Several years ago, he was good friends with a believer but never saw the need of repentance. Soon after the war began, he joined the military to defend his country. Due to his prior military experience he was quickly promoted and now leads a group of about 25 men. His family back home heard of our aid trips to the front and wondered if perhaps they could send Igor some food with our next shipment to that area, to which we readily agreed. Of course, Igor was thrilled to receive this from his family but was very surprised to learn how it got to him. He concluded this must be real Christianity and asked how he might obtain a Bible? They offered him one but he wanted one exactly like he had observed his friend reading years before, right down to the color of the cover. You see, he didn’t trust just any Bible, he wanted the one he knew worked. In due time, they obtained one for him which he eagerly accepted. Igor devoured it voraciously, reading it cover to cover twice in one month! Today Igor is a changed man. Just like Cornelius of old he isn’t what we would call a typical Christian. He is still fulfilling his fighting duties in the military. But he is preaching more powerful sermons to his men and the surrounding civilians than any preacher could. He is sharing the Gospel daily, just exactly where God needs it shared. Where no ordained preacher could go and share!

  We serve an all knowing and all wise Heavenly Father with a magnificent plan! He appointed one brother many years ago to sow the seed in Igor’s heart. Several others have had a part in “watering” but GOD is giving the increase. Pray that many more would come to Him through Igor’s ministry! Back to our questions- Perhaps you can answer them… Is it really worth it? Is it worth the risk of someone getting hurt or killed? Should our brothers gather their families and flee to safer places? We are not suggesting that it is God’s Will for all Christians who are presently in Ukraine to stay there. God has different callings for each person and for specific times. We marvel how He calls certain ones to certain ministries. We cannot determine what God’s call is for others. But it is imperative that each of us listens carefully for His call on our life. In order for one to “water the seed” someone else may need to “carry the water”. Another might be “winding the rope” that brings the water to the top of the well. Still another might need to “dig the well”. Which task is most important? You see, if any part of the above project lacks the seed cannot be watered. Thus, the question becomes: “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?”

  May each of us hear our call and be obedient to whatever God is asking us to do!

-Nathan Miller for the AURA team

AURA (Anabaptist Ukrainian Refugee Assistance) is a team of Anabaptist brethren, most of whom have had opportunity to live in Ukraine, with a burden of helping the current crisis. Currently our efforts are focused on the critical needs inside the country. AURA has partnered with Deed and Truth Ministries for receiving and distributing funds. All funds received for this effort are sent directly to the needs.

Donations can be made online at www.auraua.org or mailed to:

Deed & Truth Ministries

906 Tennessee Ave.

Etowah, TN 37331

Contact: Andrew Yoder 937-822-1884