Divine Compassion for Ukraine
Divine Compassion for Ukraine
Leadership in Context with Keith Tucci
(When this episode releases, I will be in Ukraine meeting with key leaders, looking at our operations, and trying to hear the Lord on our next steps.)
As I was thinking about the whole Ukraine situation, I realized there are some spiritual lessons we can learn. Someone asked me recently why I got so involved. Obviously, there is a great need. But there are great needs in other situations, as well.
My story goes back to 1979. I was looking at a world map of T. L. Osborn’s travels, a world evangelist. There was a line that he had not traveled beyond; it was the Iron Curtain. At that time, I had been saved for just 4 years. I wasn’t very tuned into the world’s situation. When I looked at that line, I felt like the Lord spoke to my heart and said, “I’m going to send you there someday.”
Fast forward to 1983. I met someone by divine appointment that had contacts there. In 1985, I was able to go to the Soviet Union and go into Ukraine. This is when they were under Soviet oppression. It was obvious to me that the oppression in Ukraine was heavier than the other countries. It was very difficult to travel then because of the oppression. We had to sneak away for meetings, as the people we were meeting could lose their jobs or be thrown in jail for doing so. I met a group of ladies who were all under 20 years old and had spent time in jail for teaching Sunday School classes.
One of the greatest things that happened in that trip (and in my life) is that I got to meet a man by the name of Ivonne. He had spent a total of 25 years in jail for preaching the gospel (for three separate sentences). He had never met an American before. We met in a cottage out in a field and covered the windows with rugs so the light wouldn’t shine through and alert people that we were there. (It was like being in a movie.)
He told us the story of being in Siberia at a railroad camp. They would take people there and work them to death. He talked about how their crew was out in a terrible storm and he fell over sick. They left him there with the storm bearing down on him. He woke up three days later. The storm had completely covered him with several feet of snow and insulated him. He managed to follow the tracks and get back to camp. The people at camp thought they were seeing a ghost. He had witnessed to many people there prior to the storm. As a result of him being basically raised from the dead, he had quite an audience. He talked about all the men he had led to the Lord who were now in the ministry as a result of that whole experience. (Some have pastored underground churches in the Soviet Union.)
As we were sitting in that cottage, he asked me this question with a very honest and inquisitive heart, “Is your church more American or Christian?” When he asked me that question, it was if a catharsis happened in my heart. Since that time, God has been able to give me some discernment as to what is culture and what is Kingdom. Not all culture is bad, but all culture must submit to the Kingdom of God, the culture of the Kingdom of Heaven.
On my next trip there, I was arrested. We were being followed, and we knew we were being followed. We were trying to shake these people from following us while deep in the subway in Kiev. I told Phil, who was traveling with me, that when we got out on the platform, I would make a noise and he could take a picture of the people following us. I was thinking that might intimidate them and they would run away. Before that could happen, we got tackled from behind by others that we didn’t know were following us. They dragged us by our coats through the subway to a little cement room where we were searched and interrogated.
When you go through things like that, there is a piece of you that gets connected and left behind. That is my background with Ukraine.
In Matthew 9, it says that Jesus was moved with compassion when He saw the multitude. I think God’s compassion is released in us when we see things–not just with our natural eyes, but with our spiritual eyes. When I saw all those things happening in Ukraine, I saw it from a Kingdom perspective.
I believe God stores up things in us that He can tap later for divine compassion to be released. That is what I’m moving in. That’s why I’m leading the charge to make sure the Ukrainian believers stay connected. I believe this will, somehow, someway lead to many church plants in Europe.
Thank you for standing with us as we stand with those in Ukraine.
Join us next week as Keith Tucci continues to put leadership truth in the context of the local church. And as always, please like, share, rate/review, and invite others to listen. See you next week!