#766. A FOCUS ON UKRAINE By Lucy Oyelade (8/3/23)
Some of you will know that my maternal grandfather, Roman Illia Fedak, was from Ukraine. He came to the UK in 1947, after a childhood and adolescence overshadowed by hardship caused by famine, war, and Communism. His family owned a farm which still stands today, but which he would not know had survived until 1991. For 46 years, he didn’t know if any of his family was still alive.
I have often wondered how he navigated his emotions during that period. I know he found a wife, had children, and they had grandchildren. I know he helped to form the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain, as it is known today. He attended Ukrainian Catholic mass whenever he could, and it was a mixture of faith and cultural preservation that kept him so devout until he passed into the loving arms of Jesus last year. But how did he manage to find a new life when his previous one had been so... unfinished?
“When I found your grandmother, I went to meet her father and mother,” the story always began. And I have realised that that was it. He found a whole family to be a part of. He found enough healing through his adoption into their family that he could move forward with his life, in spite of the pain of the past. And my great-grandparents? By all accounts, they loved him.
It’s easy to feel unremarkable. Let’s face it, most of us are by modern societal standards. I don’t think any of us have managed to become an influencer, or a film star, or an Olympian. We can feel unremarkable when we carry an impressive family legacy, or equally when we don’t. We feel small in the face of great suffering, when we can’t figure out how to help or what to do, or even where to begin. But that’s not how God sees us.
‘For he [God] chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will — to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.’
(The New Living Translation has verse 5 in these terms: “God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.”)
We give God great pleasure! Can you imagine? God delights in us, and wants to bring us back into a relationship with Him. He organised everything so that we could be adopted by Him through Jesus. Paul tells us again in Galations 3:26, “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” My Grandad had to believe he was loved by his new family in order to function during what must have been a very long and trying season. We have to believe in Jesus and His sacrifice, and we will find ourselves adopted into the love of God for every season of life. If we do, we open ourselves up to so much potential, because “...with God, all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26). A life of growth. A life of bearing spiritual fruit. And a life of peace.
Prayer points for Ukraine, taken from the Slavic Gospel Association:
For wisdom and openness for both Ukrainian and Russian leaders.
For those serving in the military on both sides of the conflict.
For the Baptist churches in Ukraine hoping to provide warm spaces, food and conversation for those in need, and the churches in neighbouring countries that are helping to look after Ukrainian refugees.
For those who have newly discovered faith – 20,000 more people have started to attend church regularly since the start of the war.
Here is a link to the Unreached Network blog for information and how you can support the crisis in Ukraine.
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
Let's all get as involved as possible in our week of prayer this week. For details please look at Church News.
What has God been speaking to you about from His Word this week?
3. STUDY AND PRAY TOGETHER
During this series, we will be using the 'Prayers of Many' course by Mike Betts.
I encourage you to buy a copy of the book from: https://prayersofmany.org/book#buybook
If you need assistance in buying a book please send an email to the church office and we will happily purchase you a copy.
Please download the course handbook from: