I can’t believe it’s November already. How did we get to this point in 2021 so fast? And how is it that life can both feel at a standstill and like it’s been moving at breakneck speed, all at the same time? Life often feels that way, but I know it’s also somewhat a product of the strange times we’re living in. But let me encourage you today. Yes, life may be different, but human beings are resilient. We can find a new equilibrium, adapt, and grow. I believe that this message is also important for believers. We may face new challenges, but the truth and hope of Christ’s gospel is unchanging and eternal.
In November, I’m also acutely aware of the oncoming cold weather. Whenever winter is on the verge of making its icy appearance, my thoughts inevitably wander to those families and individuals in Ukraine who I know will struggle and suffer more through the cold winter months than I ever will. In fact, whenever I talk about Ukraine with someone, in my mind’s eye, it’s those village families and vulnerable seniors that I see.
This year, I urge you to pause for a moment with me as you begin preparing for winter. Maybe you are putting snow tires on your car, or covering up your air conditioner. Whatever tasks you have, to get you and your household ready for winter, just take a moment to think about what that process might look like for a family living in poverty in Ukraine. There’s no car to winterize, or air conditioner to cover. There’s no window sealing to do, or snowblower motor to check.
This is their reality: Will my kids have to share a winter coat this year? Can we gather enough wood in the forest to heat our home? What about our broken windows? I don’t have enough money for both heat and food so which do I give up? Today, villages in Ukraine are some of the most impoverished places in Europe. Rising unemployment, the pandemic, and soaring heating prices are just a few of the urgent issues leaving frightened, disheartened Ukrainians wondering what this winter will be like.
The book of James has always been one of my favourites because James talks so much about putting our faith into action. In fact, he goes so far as to say that faith without works is dead. Those are words and that I’ve always taken to heart. It’s not good enough for me to just talk about people in need. I need to take action. I hold the eternal hope and truth of the Gospel in my heart, but I dare not keep it to myself because these truths can change lives forever.
We reach people’s hearts and lives together. I know that you want to see healthy, warm, safe, and hopeful Christ-centered homes in these poor villages as much as I do. So, let’s put our faith in action today. You can send a personal pastoral prayer and care visit, nutritional food, and other desperately needed items like warm clothing or firewood. These gifts will transform the lives and homes of village families this coming winter. Together, we CAN step into these lives and fight for those in despair!