We’ve been hearing the warnings for what seems like months. Russia has amassed over 120,000 troops around edges of Ukraine, with all the machinery of war. Is this to intimidate the West into concessions over Ukraine’s western trajectory over the past decade, or a legitimate threat?
Our family is still in the US, we’ve twice rescheduled our return tickets to Ukraine. The first time, it was because of positive Covid test results. With the extra time on our hands, we decided to send our passports off to the Russian consulate in DC. Yes, we have felt for the past year that the Lord will be opening doors for us and lead us into Russia itself in an upcoming season. Today, we received all six passports back, with 3 year visas.
We fully intend to return and continue serving among our community and ministries in Ukraine. This is our home, most our financial investments, including extended family and partners are in Ukraine. We love our friends and team there, and believe it will be from this ‘base’ or Lighthouse platform, that we will continue to engage Slavic culture in both Belarus and Russia as the Spirit leads. We see a season of immersion in the Russian language, to finally learn it fluently, and encourage the body of Christ there.
Navigating this particular week has been a burden in our hearts. While we recognize a lot of the media in the West, and the East for that matter is politically charged with real bias on both sides, we do feel the threat is legitimate this week, towards the materialization of an incursions of some form. In my heart, my gut, which is formed from a lot of Russian history reading recently, and hopefully the guidance of the Lord, is that Russia is like a massive ocean that comes crashing upon the shores of Ukraine. Russia will never, under it’s current leadership and ideology, allow for a flourishing western leaning, democratically functioning Ukraine on it’s doorstep. That reality, no matter how much dreaming the Ukrainian people have and political developments take place towards European standards, is a reality that Russia can, or will allow.
Russia would rather wreck Ukraine, than see it flourish as an independent nation, with it’s own claims to heritage, language, and cultural narrative. The continuous crashing waves of destabilization will ensure dissuasion of foreign investments, and the stability required for an emerging middle class. The question, in my mind, is not whether these aggressive actions will take place, they already are in the East of Ukraine, but whether they will increase, and at what cost to the Ukrainian people.
One thing I do know, is that the Ukrainian people are resilient. Russia attempting to occupy more of Ukraine would produce massive casualties on both sides because the Ukrainian people would rather die protecting their independence from Russia than surrender to it. The incursions in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine only worked to cement the rest of the country into a powerful solidarity against Russia, essentially awakening the country to Russia’s true involvement in dictating their national identity.
So, here we are. Why am I writing this particular blog? This is history. History is filled with important moments, moments we’ll remember, and will mark changes not just in our world, but in our lives. This week, I feel is very important, I feel something is about to take place, and though I could look back and blame the media for informing me wrongly, or inflaming anxiety, I also want to track the Lord’s direction in our family, as a testimony for those that come after us. I started writing our partners about this situation in October of 2021, something was afoot.. we felt it, so this is not a surprise, but I think more of a sobering reminder that we live in a world still dominated by fear and the sin that blinds the human heart from it’s true capacity.
We have been delayed from returning now twice, and this time we are planning to return on February 26th. I honestly don’t have peace today that that return is certain. Why? What is about to take place? Are my friends and community that we lead in Ukraine in danger? What advice should we give them, because inside Ukraine, everyone is quite relaxed, having been lulled to sleep by an 8 year war with Russia that weighs on the nations psyche already – If you ask a Ukrainian if they think there will be war with Russia, the most common answer is, “We already are in war with Russia, the rest of the world just forgot about it.”
But, what if the threat from the north in Belarus is real? What if there are legitimate actions being planned by Russia to attack, either through technological or traditional means? What if the energy sector in Ukraine is about to be disconnected, the internet go out, the cell phones go silent? Russia could, without firing a single shot, bring Ukraine to it’s knees, and force consolidations and instigate the kinds of coercive changes they want without dealing with NATO. I believe this is the trajectory, I pray that it’s not machine guns and tanks, Jesus prevent please the use of aircraft and missiles.
When covid hit, our Cafe and ministry was in a really neat place. Our Cafe as a business was finally making profit after years of continuous tweaking and human effort to see a small business float in a tiny Ukrainian village. There was momentum, others felt it too, it was like a light emerging around the country, economically, and spiritually. That momentum was undermined by Covid, like many other countries in the West. This coming virus, the evils of destruction and anarchy that only Satan himself dreams up, will be a death blow to the economic and political aspirations of a people dreaming into their own, unique, and independent culture.
This week is important. The next 10 days, I feel in my heart, are to be days of prayer as the waves of Eastern political powers crash and lay claim to the shores of Ukraine. To be caught on the shores, in places like Eastern Ukraine especially, are not safe places, they are for surviving, where future planning ceases, and endurance is tested.
So, hopefully I’m not posting anything prophetic. I don’t know how how the Lord works, in His mysterious way. I do believe He has placed a calling in our hearts to rise above the visible politics that divide a people rooted in the same history. The beauty of the Slavic people is something that the Spirit will continue to redeem, renew, and unite for His purposes, and glory – I think this is what I need to focus on, and for our family to be postured to serve the Spirit’s ongoing work, whether it’s in the Ukraine we’ve known thus far, or one that resembles more it’s past.
I think we’ll have a better understanding of the trajectory of Ukraine before February 26th – and Lord willing, our home, our friends, our ministry together will enter an even brighter season shining the light of Jesus Christ to the East.
***The following video I recorded and shared to our community in Ukraine, as they are still quite relaxed in general, but for posterity, I thought I’d include it as well. I love these people and praying God gives them wisdom in the coming days to be prepared, but hopeful and trusting in goodness and presence of our sovereign God.