There is a famous quote attributed to George Orwell, “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” This is what twelve courageous men chose to do when they became public witnesses of the resurrection of Jesus Christ and His message of reconciliation. They had heard and obeyed the simple invitation from the Preacher, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” When they were called upon to stand for Christ, they sacrificed their lives for that witness that has now revolutionized the world.
“The Bible often encourages us to walk and abide in God’s truth, guiding our steps as we navigate difficult times. We’re taught to value and prioritize the kingdom of God, to focus on things eternal and choose faith over fear. During the last few years, as the world has faced a cascading series of crisis, many have become paralyzed with fear. With the instability in the economy and war in the news it’s easy to shrink back and bury our ‘talents.’ Scripture provides a measure of our priorities and examples of faithfulness and persistence. That’s why it’s invaluable to examine the lives of the Apostles and those who follow in their footsteps.”
It has always struck me as profound when the Apostle John states, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, concerning the Word of life, that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us.” Who is the ‘we’ John is referring to? Written several decades after Jesus’ death, burial, resurrection, and ascension, by that time all the other Apostles are either dead or scattered. Peter had been crucified and Paul had been beheaded. John, the last of the apostles, is faithfully continuing the testimony and witness to the resurrection of life, despite continual sacrifices.
This legacy of faithful stewardship of Christ’s message continues even today. Ukrainian Pastors are standing for Christ in the midst of the violence and terror of war. Missiles, rockets, and drones fly overhead day and night, angling toward their deadly purpose. Mass unemployment, poverty, and fear capture the hearts of people. In this setting, the work of Leaders of Courage in Ukraine is beyond vital.
We recently spoke to the Leader of one of our SOUL Care ministry teams, Pastor Alexander. He shared with us about the pervasive fear among people in Ukraine. Many have fled as refugees or IDPs, and many more are considering leaving. With everyone in the community experiencing untold trauma and considering the needs all around them, the ministry team led by Pastor Alexander decided to hold services every day. They preach, read the scriptures, and pray together. After each service, a hot meal is served. He shared that almost no one wants to leave, and ministry continues from 10 am to 10 pm daily.
The ministry teams we partner with are united and are faithfully serving whoever comes. But this pace of ministry is not sustained without immense sacrifice. Keeping churches open, the lights on, and food available are just some of the mounting costs. I believe this is our moment, brothers and sisters, to stand in the gap and support our Ukrainian Pastors in their efforts. In this time of desperation, it is our opportunity to make sure this ministry continues, to help carry these burdens.
In April, we raised funds for Greenhouses and Gardens. Because of your faithfulness, funds have been sent, parts purchased, the greenhouses built and gardens planted. The next harvest is growing as you read this letter. Please stand with us as we pour into a harvest of souls saved in Ukraine.