Called To Serve
Posted in: International
Cru Military’s Directors of Ministry in Ukraine are answering a call to serve the military in this war-torn part of the world. Ukraine has been battling Russia and Russian-supported separatists in Eastern Ukraine for over five years now. Since 2014, over 13,000 soldiers have lost their lives and over 30,000 have been wounded. As this conflict rages on, there remains a need for ministry to these troops, their families and the chaplains who support them on the front line.
Carol and Jeff Laughlin (Ukraine For Christ, Military Ministry) have been key in raising up volunteers, training and overseeing translation work with many written resources carrying messages needed to reach out to the military men and women and their families.
One of the Laughlin’s key volunteers from the city of Bucha, north of the capitol, Kiev, is Pastor Anatoli. He has been serving off and on at the front since 2014. He has been supporting the local militia that was rushed to the front in the conflict’s early days, and who members valiantly stemmed the tide of battle, though not without great cost in lives and in injuries. Anatoli shared:
“In the early days, it was chaotic. The government wasn’t prepared and so we all did what we could. I would load my van and take food, jackets, bandages, and, well … anything the guys needed at the front. While there, I would minister to them by sharing Christ, conduct a prayer or worship service, or comfort a soldier dealing with the loss of a friend. Unfortunately, far too often, I would have to bring back the wounded to their families, and sometimes, even those that had lost their life. I was part spiritual support, grocer, taxi, and impromptu mortician. During some pretty difficult times, I remembered that God had called me to minister here and while I knew so little, I was determined to give what I had, and who I was, to answer God’s call in my life.”
In addition to taking many trips to the front lines, Pastor Anatoli is also leading veteran groups through recovery using the REBOOT Combat Recovery curriculum which aids in helping those returning to civilian life able to better cope with developing healthy relationships with families and coworkers. The ongoing ministry to active duty soldiers, their families, and the returning veterans has been on Pastor Anatoli’s heart as he encourages everyone by sharing the Good News about how Jesus is the best answer to all of life’s questions. May we be encouraged by his example of acting upon the call he had received from the Lord to go and make a difference.