Another good word from Marie John (Kyiv)
The return of the horses
One young woman we met in a village just outside of Kyiv told us a story: As the whole village was under occupation, the Russians set up their headquarters close to the horse farm. Days passed, and they would not allow anyone in to feed and take care of the horses. So, this lady who happens to live right next to the farm came up with an idea. She took heart and went straight to the Russians, asking them to free all the horses so they would not perish from hunger and thirst. Miraculously, they agreed. It is an even greater miracle that after six long weeks of occupation, just days after the Russians left the village, the horses returned. The girl smiles as she says, “One by one they returned. Not one is missing. Somehow they knew it was time to come home.”

But there are some who are not coming home. Three neighbors, who were dragged out of their homes and into the forest, close to the occupiers’ camp, did not return. We spent the afternoon walking the mined area very carefully and searching every square meter with a drone.
It feels so unreal. Suddenly seeing something in the thick grass. This fearlessness in our hearts when we look at each other and decide to slowly lift the cover of something (or someone) laying there on the ground. Knowing a mine could burst and swallow us at any moment.

We don’t have a death wish. We do live a bit more dangerously these days. I dearly love this verse: Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But God does not take away life; instead, he devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him (2 Samuel 14:14). Indeed, he has made a way so that everyone who believes will not be estranged from him! Have we realized that? Not just in a cognitive and theoretical way, spelling it out in credos and liturgies. How would we live if we realized that Christ is indeed truly risen? Would our lives not suddenly start looking differently, would we not stop trying to grab things and hold on to things that ultimately perish?

Paul says – If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.
Ultimately, knowing Christ is risen gives us the certainty that we too will return home. And on this side of the world, there is an inner compass guiding and returning us ever so back to Him, no matter how far we might have gone astray. The decision to follow it is ours though.

Thank you for your prayers and giving….
Al Akimoff and the Slavic Ministries Team