It has now been two months since the Russo-Ukrainian War began. And it has been two months and a piece since refugees from Kiev arrived in our little Christian community outside of Augsburg, Koinonia. There are thirteen of them total: three small families and a single woman in her 40s. One of the family fathers is a plastic surgeon, another a barber, and the children are all under 10. They are settling in relatively well- though they tend to keep to themselves through the week. The children are getting to know and establish relationships with our local children well, and as best I can see, are more outgoing than their parents. Not surprising, this.
Keep in mind, though, and keep in prayer, that they had lives not unlike those of other middle-class or even upper-class Europeans prior to February 25th of this year. Then, Russian artillery and bombing shattered their city and blew their homes into rubble, and the advancing Russian armor and infantry forced them to flee. Now these people are in a country they hadn’t even planned to visit…ever… and have no idea how long they will have to stay here. The loss, the trauma and the uncertainty weighing on them is nothing short of tremendous.
There is another wrinkle in that the families who came here, to a Christian eucumenical community, are from a Moslem religious background. Well, most of them are, but they do not seem to be particularly observant. So, with their recent losses and background in mind, please pray that we in the Koinonia community are able to help to our Ukrainian guests effectively. To date, ministry to our Ukrainian guests has mostly involved teaching them a little bit of survival German, providing as much conversation as we can with the language barrier, and helping them find their way around the social and physical environment they now find themselves in, helping with shopping, assisting with German bureaucracy, and other more or less quotidian activities. Anything we can do to help them we will, with the Lord’s help and out of love for him.
Our Personal Ministry
The weeks since the war started have not brought with them any suspension of our day-to-day ministry lives. We had a great TCJII-Deutschland meeting a little over a week ago. There are two events in the near future: A theological conference with the Swiss and Austrian branches of TJCII and a few weeks after that a meeting of TJCII Germany and Switzerland in Rüdlingen in Switzerland. I am also working on updates for the TJCII-Germany website.
In another recent development, I am also now working for Reasons to Believe as their German translator. Which is a challenging but very rewarding new direction for my work. The motto of RTB’s radio show back in the day was helping „thinkers to believe and believers to think“, which is a dearly needed mission here and everywhere. If you would, do pray for the efficacy of the translations in the German-speaking world.
If this reads as if there’s a lot for us to do, that impression is correct. There are moments when it feels like I’m juggling a rabbit, a bowling ball and a chainsaw, and if my attention wavers, the rabbit will have a regrettable encounter with the chainsaw. If the „rabbit“ is my family life, this would be very bad, indeed. So, please do pray for my work and our mission life here.
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