Nov 7, 2022 | 3 min read | Dave Patty
What do you want more of?
Ben, our Ukraine country leader, recently passed on an unusual prayer request. His family spends part of almost every day in bomb shelters, seeking safety from the indiscriminate missiles raining down on Ukrainian cities. All of his life and ministry have been disrupted by the constant pressure of war.
I expected he would ask for protection, peace, or wisdom. Instead, he asked that we pray for just one word—zeal. Then, he quoted Paul’s words from Romans 12:11. “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.”
In every time of upheaval, there is also great opportunity. When danger comes, some focus on preservation and self-interest; others press into the turbulence with the hope of Jesus, responding with courage to the unusual open doors that a crisis brings.
It is inspiring to watch the zeal embodied by the 22 members of our JV Ukraine team. In the last month, they have held two weekends of training with close to 200 young leaders, equipping them to lead strong young ministries in 23 churches. In spite of the pressures of war, they recently launched an initiative to plant 100 churches in the next three years in partnership with a local seminary. On top of this, they continue to care for many displaced people in practical ways.
At one of the training weekends, a young man named Max introduced himself to Ben. Nine months ago he was fleeing with his family from the front lines of the war. When he reached safety, someone shared the gospel with him and led him to faith in Christ. Now, less than a year later, he is one of the key youth leaders in his local church, being trained by our JV team to lead others to maturity in Christ.
Just as Ukrainian soldiers are surprising the world with their resilience and sacrifice, young Ukrainian believers are inspiring all of us with their fervor and zeal. They are allowing a tragic crisis to focus their attention on what really matters and giving their energy to that which has eternal value.
In reality, the entire world is in crisis, as markets crash, inflation spirals out of control, and political leaders fight among themselves for influence and power. It may be that all of us need Paul’s challenge in the midst of these pressing distractions—to “keep our spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.”
In these times of great opportunity, may we never be lacking in zeal.
Thank you for joining us in this vision,
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