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19 years ago, God called me to Ukraine. Today I pray I can return.

A child, whose name is written on arm, stands in a crib in an orphanage in Kramatorsk August 30, 2014. 76 children from orphanages in Donetsk and Makeyevka in eastern Ukraine were sent to Kramatorsk due to fighting between the Ukrainian army and pro-Russian separatists. | (Photo: Reuters/Gleb Garanich)

Nineteen years and 26 trips ago, God began a love relationship for me with the people of Ukraine. My wife of 30 years, Denise, and I adopted all three of our children from Ukraine. I love that place in a way that I can’t really express in words. Last Thursday, the reality began to dawn on me that I may never set foot on that beloved soil again.

God gave us the opportunity to help train hundreds of church planters in Ukraine who are now scattered throughout the former Soviet Union. They are spreading the Gospel and multiplying themselves spiritually. By God’s grace, these church planters are strong, resourceful, and independent. We all planned for this day of war, although none of us really expected it today. God was at work building His Church to stand long before a madman lit the fire.

I am grieved beyond description. I am crushed for friends who are running for their lives, whose worlds have been turned upside down. I am broken for my children who grieve seeing their homeland torn apart. I am shaken by how a Russian madman has torn apart a beautiful land full of proud and resourceful people. I feel the darkness of this war in my bones.

But God is not surprised. He is not moved, and He is not shaken. His sovereignty is not challenged, and He holds the people of Ukraine in His hands.

The Church in Ukraine will care for widows and orphans, and they will carry the Gospel forth. They will stand in the face of pain and the actions of a tyrant because God is for them, and He will work through them.

Though the days are full of difficulty, Jesus will prevail because He has already won the only victory that matters.

“The Lord will rescue his servants; no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned” –Psalms 34:22.

Jesus has already rescued all who follow Him, and He has prepared a place for us with Him. Until the day we see that Kingdom, we are here to steward the gospel and to be Christ’s ambassadors.

Pray for an end to the war. Pray for peace. Pray for the Ukrainian Church to bring the hope of the Gospel to the people of Ukraine in their time of need.

Speak up for Ukraine. Demand justice. Tell our leaders that it is unacceptable to finance the war in Ukraine by purchasing Russian oil. Demand that President Biden reverses course and allow U.S. oil and gas production to increase immediately to cripple Russia’s ability to finance this war.

Give to support relief efforts in Ukraine and in neighboring countries like Poland and Romania where refugees are fleeing to safety.

Rick Morton is the vice president of engagement at Lifeline Children’s Services.  Morton is the co-author of Orphanology: Awakening to Gospel-Centered Adoptionand Orphan Care and the author of KnowOrphans: Mobilizing the Church for Global Orphanology.  He and his wife, Denise, have been married for over 30 years and have three children, all of whom joined their family through international adoption from Ukraine.

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