“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
— Matthew 28:19-20
Beginning in 1992, many Churches of Christ were planted in Ukraine. We are thankful to our God and grateful to missionaries supported by Christians in America who came to our country.
Out of deep chaos, created by the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ukrainians enjoyed a measure of freedom. Yet, until recently, few of us understood the meaning of freedom, just as the children of Israel did not fully understand their freedom — and even desired at times to return to their former lives in Egypt.
In the 23 years since Ukraine’s independence, we have experienced tests in our Christian walk. Churches struggled to find permanent meeting places, moving from one rented hall to another. Sometimes we were discouraged when it seemed our ministries were not as stable as Ukraine’s politics, businesses or other new enterprises.
The recent conflicts — and the severance of Crimea from our country — have taught us a most important lesson. In this world, we have no guarantee of stability — not for politics, business or even our borders. We can find our permanence only in our continuous service to God.
To our amazement, it now becomes clear that the ministry of Jesus is the most stable thing in our country. Even now, churches keep on meeting for worship — sometimes on the streets where violence occurs.
People still come to the Lord and are baptized. Orphanages continue to be helped. Prisons are visited.
Today, as never before, we realize the words of Jesus: “I am with you always, even to the very end of the age.”
Sasha Prokopchuk is minister for the Transfiguration Church of Christ in Donetsk, Ukraine, where pro-Russian forces have declared independence from Ukraine and asked to join Russia.