I’d like to take a moment to catch you up on our mission thrust in Ukraine. I get asked a lot of questions about my opinion on what’s happening or how this tragic situation will ever be resolved. Today as I write, we have just passed the one-year mark of the Russian invasion. There has been heavy loss of life on both sides, and the whole of Ukraine has been thrown into chaos. There is no sign of a resolution. We need an act of God! Putin has backed himself into a corner, and what concerns me is, how can he save face and claim victory? What would it take? As of now, there doesn't seem to be any way out.
What should we do? Some folks say just wait and see what happens. I've never embraced doing nothing as a strategy for doing something! I'm reminded of what the angel said to the disciples after the resurrection: Why stand ye gazing? (Acts 1:11)
In other words, go to Jerusalem! Go to the Upper Room! Go do what you were told to do! We can't just look around and wait. It is time for action!
Without a doubt, the church there is clearly the stabilizing force. Much of the outward supplies coming in from other countries are being distributed by area churches because of their trust and ability to mobilize the members of their churches and because many of those organizations will not permit their members of their organizations to travel into conflict areas. As you know, we’ve purchased three heavy-duty vans and helped another group with a fourth purchase. These vans are being used to transport food, medicine, generators, and other necessary items that are being supplied from other ministries and humanitarian organizations that don’t have the means to get these needed goods to the critical areas. The young men on these driving teams are brave and dedicated. We have grown very fond of them and are inspired by their dedication.
On March 15, my son, Daniel, and I will leave to host a gathering of pastors and key leaders we are working with. Pastor Mervin and Dasha Strothers will precede us by a few days to make arrangements and help prepare for our leaders’ gathering and a large medical team that we will escort into the war zone. People there are desperate for medical care.
While we are meeting with the pastors, the medical team of sixteen will be landing in Bucharest, Romania. This is the nearest international airport that is open to passenger traffic. A church in Romania will pick them up and drive them approximately six plus hours to the Northern Ukrainian / Romanian border. Hopefully they will get a good meal on the way. They will stay the night in Romania with one of our partners there who will provide bedding and hot showers. Hopefully they will get to bed by midnight.
In the morning, they will do a medical outreach on the Romanian side of the border. They will attend church there the next day; then they will be driven to the border. At this point, the vehicle traffic is very heavy. The team may have to unload with all their suitcases and lots of medications and walk across the border checkpoints to avoid a long wait. On the other side, Daniel and I will be waiting along with three vans. A team of four translators and extra drivers will be there, too. Twenty-five people in all! We will drive into Chernivtsi. There we will eat and pack the vans with extra supplies (including fuel, as there is little available where we are going).
We need to be on the road by 5am the next morning to drive into the Karhiv war zone. This is a tough drive. We will go through multiple military checkpoints and anti-tank barricades that will slow us down. Our drivers are very experienced and know the ropes and roads. I've done this with them before. We need to get in before the lights out curfew. It will probably take us sixteen hours. Then in the morning, the team will set up shop. On Saturday, we will do all of that again in reverse order.
I want you to know the details so you will pray and also celebrate the dedication of this medical team. They are not gazing upward but outward. I’m asking you to mark your calendar to pray for our team for safety and for our mission to show the love of Jesus to these desperate people who wonder if the world has forgotten them. Our presence is the answer to their prayers!
Thank you for being part of that answer! As I write, we are purchasing mass amounts of the medicines and supplies needed for the trip. Your help with this would be greatly appreciated and make a difference. Everyone on the trip is covering all their expenses and contributing to the cost of medicine!
Many folks have asked about other teams coming into help. This trip will help us determine how effective and strategic that would be. I will try to get out some video updates as I am able to give you a first-hand report! I know these are ongoing needs and that most of us are limited. This is a unique opportunity that we are honored to be a part of. Please consider doing all you can. Every act of generosity is significant and touches a precious life. Please pass this opportunity on to others. And please pray specifically for our safety and impact.
Also pray for our leaders as they meet these amazing men and women who need all the spiritual encouragement they can get. These churches are the lifeline in their communities, and as you can imagine, they are in situations they never envisioned or could be prepared for. We need to invest in these incredible men and women. Healthy Leaders Healthy Churches is our game plan. Thanks for being on the team!
You can give HERE.
In the Master’s Service,
NRP Team Leader