3/16/2023 – A boy named Vlad

From Ira Kapitonova in Kyiv (Day 385):

Show us your steadfast love, O Lord,
and grant us your salvation.
Psalm 85:7

Kids who have to live through this war, deal with its ugliness, and will most likely have to deal with its long-term consequences. This is what breaks my heart and angers me the most.

A few days ago, I asked my online students a warm-up question, “If you could time-travel, where would you go?” I was expecting wild answers about dinosaur times or other fascinating historical periods. However, their responses were sobering:

  • I would go back to “before the full-scale war” when I was home with my family, and we all were happy together.
  • I would go back to the days when I could go to my school in Ukraine and be with my friends.
  • I would keep returning to the short time I got to spend with my dad when he could visit us here in Europe.

I had to summon all my self-control not to burst into tears and continue our lesson.

Tata Kepler, one of the medical volunteers, shared the following story of a boy they met during one of their trips to a newly liberated location [I share the condensed version]

Today’s picture was shared by Tata Kepler. His name is Vlad, he is 11, and he defends his village.

His name is Vlad, and he will be 11 in a few days. He has a helmet, a bulletproof vest, and an RPG tube.

  • I have my headquarters at home. I have flags and other stuff. I defend my village.
    He is 11, and he is defending his village.
    It is cute and also terrifying.
    We had a football from our football team, so we gave it to him, and just for a moment, amid the ruin and ashes, he seemed to be a child. For a moment, I wished for the grass to turn green, for this boy to run through the fields and play with his friends, not thinking about landmines, and for his mom to call for him through an unbroken window. I wished for electricity and a cell phone connection, for grumbling about homework, and for riding a bike…
    I don’t want Vlad to defend his village.
    I don’t want Vlad to defend me.
    I don’t want it, even if it is not for real.
    I want to live in a world where I don’t need to be defended, but it’s unrealistic.
    And the reality is here – his name is Vlad, he is 11, and he defends his village. He carries a badge that says, “I live on my God-given land.”

Lord, have mercy on these children of war. Stop the madness, restore justice, show us your steadfast love, o Lord, and grant us your salvation.

2 responses to “3/16/2023 – A boy named Vlad”

  1. The boy David fought lions and bears to defend his sheep, rightly believing it was God Who defended him. “YHWH, Who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear, will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” He went on to live a life of hardship and almost constant war. We still know his psalms: “The Lord is *my* shepherd, I shall not want.. surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the house of YHWH forever.”


  2. Yes, Lord, the true Shepherd who called the little children to Himself–protect these children of war! Turn back the enemy!


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