I began writing this entry on the anniversary of the Russo-Urkainian War´s beginning. For some context: Over the last year, we have been regularly praying for both countries and providing what relief we could in both the Gebetshaus and Koinonia. With that in mind:
If you are a Generation Xer in the west, you grew up with a concept called Mutually Assured Destruction. This meant that we rested our geopolitical hopes for peace, or at least an absence of active, armed hostilities, on the proposition that the Soviet Union and the western nations (pre-eminently the U.S.A.) would be too fearful of the immediate annihilation from nuclear retaliation that would rain down on them should the opposing polity to initiate a direct military confrontation. While we didn´t live with the “duck and cover” drills that our parents (or older siblings in some cases) had lived with, we did live with the persistent sense that the world around us could vanish in nuclear fire at any moment if the wrong decisions were made by those in power. This fear was of course influenced our popular culture, higher literature and politics. The Soviet Union, that Evil Empire, was a constantly threatening, though distant, presence. Sure, there were useful idiots in the west who fell for the deception that there was a moral equivalence between the two political and economic systems. We even elected one as president in 1976. The overall tone of the culture at the time was then one that rejected the totalitarianism of the Soviet Union and rightly saw it as a threat to their lives and liberty. Did we Christians in the West pray for the Soviet peoples? Yes. Some of us even went their as missionaries, but that was rather a different set of conditions than those experience by people who lived near- or behind- the Soviet border.
For those who grew up in the Soviet Union and were not members of the party or adherents to Dialectical Materialism, the threat to life and liberty was not distant. Tell the wrong joke, talk to the wrong western tourist who happened to be in a Soviet city, or (Lenin forbid!) practice any form of any religion not controlled from Moscow, and you were likely headed to prison. And daily life was often a misery simply because of the innate backwardness of socialist economics. In the 42 years since the collapse of the Soviet Union, I have occasionally lived in Europe, and here I have met a couple score people who lived in the USSR. Every single one of them has had some measure of bitterness and hatred reserved in the heart for the Russians who imposed the communist system upon them. So, when a woman who grew up and lived around half of her life under that system prays for the body of Christ in Russia, and in Ukraine, on the anniversary of Russia´s initiating its war of aggression against its neighbor, it gives one a powerful illustration of Matthew 5:44-45. Exactly that is what we saw in the Gebetshaus in Augsburg last Friday. It was kind of an awesome moment.
It should also be regular, normal action for Christians. And times like now, with nations at each other´s throats, we pray that this war will stay contained, at least, not engulfing the whole continent. We also pray that the Russo-Ukrainian War, essentially a fratricidal conflict, will end sooner rather than later. Current developments in the conflict are not encouraging, and work toward reconciliation between the two peoples is going to take years, likely decades. Without intercession and the power of the Holy Spirit responding to us here, I don´t think for a minute that such efforts will be successful however long they continue. So please do take time to pray for Russia, Ukraine and for those in power.
As for what we are doing…
Koinonia continues to host a small group of Ukrainian refugees, mostly single women at this point. The two families who were here have found more spacious accommodations near by and are integrating into German society, last I heard, as well as they can. Recent surveys have shown about 1/3 of those war refugees who came here since last February are planning to stay. So, helping with integration will continue to be a need. Please continue to pray for Koinonia specifically in this ministry and for Germany as a whole. In the last seven years, the country has taken in approximately 2 million refugees from Eritrea, Syria and now Ukraine. To say that there has been some social tension proceeding from this political and humanitarian decision is to put a bright, shiny bit of litotes on the page.
In a sign of hopeful normalcy, Koinonia has also started a “Pfadfinder” (lit. „Pathfinder“) group- sort of European (and specifically Catholic) version of boy scouts/girl scouts. Susan and I are working with the troop. It´s been well-attended for the age groups up to 14, but is still in its beginning development. Our next meeting is this Thursday.
Felicia continues to lead worship with Generation4Christ regularly, and will be participating the state-level competition of “Jugend Musiziert” at the end of March. This means going to Passau, where we have never been before, so we are researching the location and the possible accommodations.
We continue also to be involved in the Gebetshaus, with our shifts Monday through Thursday mornings, and Friday prayer for Israel. We also continue to translate for and work with Toward Jerusalem Council II. Recently this has included supplying German subtitles for the One New Man documentary series that explores and explains the history of the ministry. I also continue writing for Salvo:
And Susan continues translating for a regional ministry to women seeking aslyum. Their main clients are, not surprisingly, recently arrived refugees.
Finally, your prayers for my continued translation work for Reasons to Believe would be also appreciated. The next project may involve subtitling videos, and which videos those would be has yet to be determined. Für Deutsch-Könnende ist die Internetpräsenz des Werks hier zu finden: https://de.reasons.org/. If you want to refresh your college German and learn something about apologetics, dann ist es genau für Dich! That´s all for now.
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