SPECIAL CONTRIBUTION GIVEN
We Were Able to Send a Check for several thousand dollars to the Uvalde church of Christ! Thank you for your generosity! We know this will be of great help to a number of people.
FOR YOUR INFORMATION
Due to the diminished images by our auditorium projector and its anticipated replacement within a few weeks, we will be conducting our song services without the projector for the next several weeks. Please use the songbooks and follow the song leader as we worship together. Thanks for your help and understanding.
WORLD BIBLE SCHOOL NEWS
Henry Kattner lets us know that 854 processed pieces of WBS mail were shipped to Nigeria last week.
“And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”” Romans 10:15
GOSPEL CHARIOT MISSIONS UPDATE
Photo by Adrianna Calvo on Pexels.com
What does it mean to live as a Christian in a situation where you are a refugee, like the Ukrainians who have had to flee to Poland to avoid conflict? This recent report from the Christian Chronicle may give us a glimpse and another reason to pray for those affected. For the elders, Ken D
WARSAW, Poland — Bizarrely, Yura Taran is thankful for all the years he abused drugs. It was another life ago, before he became a Christian and then a minister for a Church of Christ in the eastern Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia. But the poison with which he polluted himself had lingering effects. He’s not healthy enough to serve in the Ukrainian military.
Neither is fellow minister Boris Sanzhura of Kramatorsk. He’s thankful for the nagging eye problem that resulted from an old injury. It’s a “thorn in the flesh,” as the apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 12. But it allowed him to cross the border with members of his congregation while other men were required to stay. They can’t serve their country by taking up arms. But here, they can serve their flock by taking up the cross. “God turned what was bad into good,” Taran said.
The two ministers live among more than 50 Ukrainian refugees — most of them from Churches of Christ — in a small apartment block in Poland’s capital. Churches in the U.S. helped Polish Christians secure and rent the brand-new facility for the Ukrainians. Eastern European Mission has contributed funds to help with vehicle repairs and supplies. Łukasz Kondracki, a third-generation member of the Church of Christ in Warsaw, and his wife, Nicole, help coordinate the relief effort.
On a Thursday afternoon, as workers installed an oven in an upstairs kitchen, Kondracki talked with Taran about vacuum cleaners and yard equipment — in a mix of Polish, English and Russian. Linguistically, “we’re breaking all the rules,” Kondracki said. As for the work-in-progress facility, “They told me this doesn’t have to be a five-star hotel, but don’t be like what’s going on across the street,” he said, motioning toward the cemetery.
The apartments are appreciated, said Taran’s wife, Yulia. They allow greater privacy than the refugee centers they stayed in on their journey here. In the complex’s spacious backyard, the Ukrainians are setting up a tent for devotionals and planting a vegetable garden.
Some plan to stay here for a few weeks as they look for jobs and new lives in other parts of Europe. Others wait for a chance to return home. It’s a tough wait, Yura Taran said. They get word that things have quieted down and start to think about going back. Then they learn of a new attack.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainians have revitalized the Warsaw congregation, which had dwindled to a handful of worshipers in recent years, Nicole Kondracki said. Mission efforts here have struggled, and supporting churches have pulled out. The Kondrackis plan to move to Alabama in July. In recent weeks, church attendance has topped 60. Church members have rented an auditorium to accommodate the growing congregation of refugees.
“Church” itself has taken on a new meaning for the Ukrainians, Yura Taran said. It used to mean “sitting for two hours, singing songs and then going home. “We’re not doing that here. … Here, we’re in each other’s faces, at each other’s throats!” he said with a laugh. “We’re loving each other, respecting each other, trying to bless each other. And inside of us everything is calm and peaceful. This is our Exodus. Soon, we will find the promised land.”