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June 1, 2023

Heroes of Faith

It was a late evening in Warsaw, Poland. It had been a full day of teaching a PI Course and speaking at the celebration of Christian Reformation Church’s second anniversary. My good friends, Oleksandr and Maryna Bilyak had moved from Ukraine to Poland to plant a church just a few months before the war in Ukraine began. Several leaders, still living in Ukraine, had made their way to Warsaw to join the anniversary celebration. 

The visiting leaders from Ukraine had gathered at the Bilyak’s home and began sharing their stories of what they’ve experienced and what God has done throughout the war. Stories of God rescuing their children from Russian occupied territory; stories of meeting every morning for prayer, praying that missiles would not reach their targets, that tanks would not make it to their destination, and then witnessing missiles turn around and fly back the way they came and tanks just stop, unable to continue. Stories of young soldiers finding the church on social media and coming to give their lives to the Lord. Stories of churches that have grown from 200 to 1400 because these leaders have stepped up and answered the call are anchors of hope in a very dark time.  

I sat, listening to these stories, with a growing sense of gravity and amazement because these men and women were living in a war torn country under harsh circumstances and yet were so full of faith and hope. Their hearts have been challenged with hate and bitterness, and yet they’ve emerged with hearts that are soft and committed to love. The fruit of their faith was overflowing and I was witnessing history-making right before my eyes. As we sat together in a safe city, in a country that was not at war, I was struck by the fact that every one of these men and women were going back into Ukraine after the weekend. Some would need to travel secretly because of the danger. Others were going back to cities with no electricity. All were returning to desperate situations. The words of the Apostle Paul kept running through my mind.

2 Corinthians 5:14-15 “For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.”

Let’s continue to pray for our co-laborers in Ukraine who are displaying the love and power of Jesus Christ every day. And continue to pray for us as we walk beside and equip these mighty men and women of faith.