We attended Sunday morning services at the Evangelical Community Church in the village of Kniazhychi, Ukraine. The pastor was Methodist, while the worship singers were Nazarene. We have found that most churches have not started meeting yet, due to their members and pastors fleeing Ukraine, or the dangers of gathering together in wartime. Instead, many believers are gathering in house churches. We were blessed to participate in both!
The word had gotten out that American doctors would be in church, so there were lots of curious people in the congregation. After a 2 ½ hour service, with former missionary Bob Skinner preaching, the church hosted a wonderful dinner-on-the-grounds for us!
As we returned to Kyiv, we traveled along a road where a long line of Russian tanks had been totally destroyed. We stopped to take photos, and I counted 10 tanks and armored personnel carriers (APC’s, as we called them in the Army). Each had been hit with sophisticated artillery or perhaps anti-tank missiles, and been blown to pieces. Many, many lives were lost in this Russian convoy the day these tanks were destroyed.
After taking a few pictures, I looked across the road towards the forest, and saw a small burned, charred area, with pieces of blackened, twisted metal that I assumed had been blown away from one of the tanks. I walked over to investigate, and, unfortunately, found the remains of at least one Russian soldier. I say at least one soldier—-because I found only charred pieces of human remains that were in no way recognizable. Whether one or many, I remember a song from my childhood, that every person “is precious in His sight.” I said a quick prayer over the remains of these Russian soldiers, and for the families that still may not know that their sons or brothers will never return.
There has been a terrible loss of life on both sides of this conflict, both of soldiers and innocent civilians. I can never understand the blatant torture and murder of the innocents. And sometimes I have a hard time justifying the taking of another human being’s life, even in self-defense.
Yet, they are ALL precious in God’s sight.