Easter in War
photo and story by Sarah Klazinga, Administrative Assistant for the Committee on Diaconal Ministries
Taken from the STORM Report, April, 2022
The smell of chocolate fills the air, oozing out of open shop doors. People bustle up and down the cobblestone streets. A horn drones from a ship in the port. Restaurants are full of people slipping in for a quick cup of tea, or a cappuccino and a croissant. Vendors offer pussy willow branches on every corner. There are flowers everywhere—irises, tulips, roses—huge bouquets of roses! The first signs of spring. The church bells ring and the cathedrals swell with the sounds of "Christ is risen!" It's Easter in Odessa, Ukraine—at least, that is how I remember it.
Four years later there are no people chatting over a cup of tea. The flower stalls are empty. There are no exports from "The Breadbasket of the West." The churches and cathedrals are silent. War has destroyed the historic port city of Odessa. Millions of people have evacuated. Those that can't are enduring the horrors of war. In the wreckage of what sin in the world has done, we hold fast to the promise of the resurrection: Christ, our hope in life and death.
The believers in Ukraine continue to meet for worship and prayer throughout the week, as they are able. Even so, they continue to open wide their doors for hospitality. And they are working hard to support their members on the frontlines of war, and to disperse humanitarian aid wherever they can.
To date, the OPC's Ukraine Crisis Fund has received $522,808.48 in generous donations. Portions of those donations are being disbursed to a variety of ministries throughout Eastern Europe while other opportunities continue to be explored. (Read more about that in David Nakhla's recent article.)
Please continue to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ, as they live and serve others, in this war-torn country and beyond.