Marie (Kyiv)
Time doesn’t stand still in war.
Many say the war has put their lives on hold. But it is not true. Time is the one thing we humans cannot control, and it recklessly moves on.

The war has become our classroom, teaching us the vocabulary of explosions — we can easily distinguish between the sound of a missile hitting and the air defense working. It took months until I heard the sound of the Ukrainian air defense for the first time; it is a sound that makes me feel glad. In the first few weeks, everything aimed at bringing death and destruction just hit its target.

The war has brought down barriers between our houses and the nation. Many literal walls have fallen due to shelling, and even more invisible ones. When I go to the nearby supermarket, it feels like coming home. Knowing everyone by name and hugging as one would hug an old friend — that can only happen when going to work became a question of life or death.

This war taught us to do what is close to our hands. People are in danger? Evacuate them. They are hungry? Feed them. Their houses are damaged? Fix them. There is nothing noble or special about these tasks. Is this worth having invested years into my education and following a missionary calling? — God doesn’t want partnership with us but ownership of us.

This war has brought God from dusty churches into dirty bomb shelters. From memorized prayers right into peoples’ hearts. God’s Word sustained me from the inside without even picking up a Bible. I woke up from dreams talking to Jesus face to face. Knowing those were no dreams.

Ukraine’s battered soil has brought forth beautiful flowers. It is a miracle to me that this land being hit so recklessly finds in itself the strength to let new life bloom. The sunflowers remind me of what I thought would be my last time in a supermarket, on February 25. We stood two hours in line to get two loaves of bread. The whole store was empty. I thought: that’s it. From now on, there will be nothing more. The last thing left in the store were seeds – for cucumbers and tomatoes. I considered buying them. I thought, maybe by summer, they would yield us something to eat.

Spring came, summer came, and the sunflowers testify that life always wins.
Consider it pure joy, when you face trials of many kinds. – James 1:2

Thank you for your continued prayers,
Al Akimoff and the Slavic Ministries Team