ReFrame Leaders Share Stories From Ukraine
March 14, 2023 • Russian
“Natalia savors a rare moment of calm after spending long hours serving tables at a local restaurant in Riga, Latvia. Her toddler is finally asleep, so she quietly turns on the radio. As a Ukrainian refugee, she wants news of what's happening in her homeland.
"Instead of the usual updates and chatter, Natalia hears the voice of Lika Roman—a fellow Ukrainian, and member of the ReFrame Ministries’ Russian language ministry team.
"Natalia felt as if Lika spoke right to her. Through Lika’s biblical reflection and personal testimony, Natalia discovered the Christian faith. It’s the most powerful source of comfort amidst the turmoil of her own refugee experience. And miraculously, Christ starts healing Natalia's deep emotional wounds.”
Rev. Sergei Sergei recently shared Natalia’s story at one of ReFrame’s Direct Connect online events. The event included updates from Sergei, who serves as ReFrame’s Russian language ministry leader, and Paul Vandersteen, ReFrame’s interim director of advancement. The event also included a short video update from Lika Roman, who was in Uzhhorod, Ukraine.
Ministry in Ukraine: One Year Later
In her update, Roman shared that although many of the in-person events that she typically holds for new Christians and seekers have been canceled during the war, she’s been able to host Zoom meetings that allow for more interaction than the ministry’s audio programs.
“There’s a lot of bad news, but we know that in Jesus we have good news, Roman shared, “It's really great blessing that we can reach out to people through media anywhere.”
While many of the high-conflict areas are without power and internet, Sergei added that he and his ministry partners have been pleasantly surprised that most people do still have access to the internet.
“Every [opportunity] is being used to share the Christian hope with people who are in a very, very desperate, very difficult situation,” Sergei said. “As we broadcast our messages there, and as we work with our partners on the ground, we hear that the people are very open to the gospel.”
Ministry in Russia
In addition to Lika Roman, ReFrame also has three staff located in Russia who are continuing ministry in ReFrame’s most widely-distributed field for Russian ministry. Sergei said that these staff members are also affected by the war due to the influx of refugees in their areas as well as laws related to the war.
“[In Russia,] we have to be careful expressing a dissenting opinion on the Ukrainian conflict—as that can result in severe consequences. But the message of Christian love and peace in Christ still goes out.”
Sergei recently shared his own thoughts on this topic in March’s Today daily devotionals.
“Most of us are not refugees,” Sergei wrote in March 4’s devotional. “We don’t know what it’s like to be uprooted by military conflict or persecution. We don’t have to run for our lives. But many of us still know what anguish, anxiety, and loneliness are all about. . . When we feel hurt, when our situation looks bleak, when we are haunted by dark, anxious thoughts, let us remember that we are not alone. Our loving and caring God is always near. He is able to help.”
Prayer Requests for Christians in Ukraine and Russia
Thank God for ministry opportunities that have come as a result of the terrible events in Ukraine. In non-war zones of the country, internet has been reliable, and that has allowed people to access ReFrame’s messages of hope in the gospel. Our ministry partners have also shared that more people in Ukraine are professing faith in Christ and praying for peace. In Russia, our partners have seen fewer restrictions on sharing the gospel due to the prioritization of the war.
Pray for Lika as she continues to travel across Ukraine, Poland, and other European countries to share the gospel with fellow Ukrainian refugees. She’s currently traveling for an event on International Women’s Day (March 8), so pray for safety and effectiveness.
Sergei shared that he and his family, as well as his ministry partners, are feeling well-supported by churches and individuals who want to pray and get involved with outreach to Ukrainians. Pray that this desire will continue. Pray that those who are working on the front lines of the war to share gospel messages of peace will continue to feel strength in the Lord from brothers and sisters in Christ around the world.
Pray for peace in Ukraine. In March’s Today devotionals, Sergei writes, “When Christ’s peace rules in our hearts, it changes us and our view of the world. It gives us strength to meet our challenges with grace and humility. And no matter what—we are called to be thankful. . .
Heavenly Father, help us to humble ourselves and receive the peace of Christ. Teach us how to reflect your peace in this world with grace and thanksgiving. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.”
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