From Church Planter’s wife and seminary student in Odessa: [Source: Facebook] “I have been speaking two languages freely since childhood, both Ukrainian and Russian. This is not what defines me as a Ukrainian.
Since childhood I grew up with great pride that I am Russian. Grandma told a lot about the history of our kin, and I was just bursting with pride. After the collapse of the Soviet union, when the first passports were issued, there was a word “nationality” in them, and my brother wanted to write that he was Ukrainian. I was clearly sure that I would write that I was Russian. (Oh, the irony!)
Then there was daily life, when you don’t think much about your origins. And I have lived in Ukraine, so that means Ukrainian.
But when I started studying as a cultural scientist, I was given the task to discover my own family tree. And you know what I discovered? I’m 25% Russian, 50% Eastern Ukrainian, and 25% Western Ukrainian! But there’s more. My ancestors from Western Ukraine were forcibly displaced from their land to suppress their spirit of freedom. Those who could flee went abroad, and those who didn’t were scattered across different parts of the USSR.
This was the breaking point in my self-discovery. I realized that my ancestors were deprived of their homes, and at the same time, my Ukrainian blood raised a thirst for truth and freedom.
And now, here we are preparing for war! We’ve actually been living in such a state since 2014. We prepared our children for this, we discussed it with them, we instructed them on how to behave in any case. Our Family Council decided that we do not want to lose home and history, which means we will stay on our land.
And second, much more important, the Lord called my husband and our family to minister here in Odessa. That may sound heroic. But don’t think that we are so fearless. No, we can be scared! And sometimes even nauseous.
But what else could we do? Will we sit safely in another country when our mothers have decided to stay in their homes? When your childhood friends have not left, and each of them is contributing to the overall victory as much as possible? When your family is hiding in the basement from gunshots? Afterwards, what kind of Christ could we preach to them? A Christ who fears? A Christ who runs away?
The encouragement for us, and perhaps for some of you (no matter where you are), is in the first question of the Heidelberg Catechism:
‘What is your only comfort in life and death? That I am not my own, but belong with body and soul, both in life and in death, to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from all the power of the devil. He also preserves me in such a way that without the will of my heavenly Father not a hair can fall from my head; indeed, all things must work together for my salvation. Therefore, by his Holy Spirit he also assures me of eternal life and makes me heartily willing and ready from now on to live for him.’”