A picture tells a story…
This is a photo from The Salvation Army Corps in Donetsk, Ukraine. I picked it up from their facebook page and it shows a traditional harvest display from their thanksgiving meeting in mid October 2014.
Donetsk is in Eastern Ukraine. Because of the fighting, the war going on in and around the city the appointed officers were for safety reasons taken out of the city. The local lay leader, sergeant major Vera Volf (far left in the picture) is in charge.
Although it is four years since I left Ukraine as the divisional leader I recognize some of the ladies. And of course Vera. She got saved and became a soldier quite early as the corps was established. I know she had a longing in her heart to become a commissioned officer. But family circumstances made that impossible. But a calling from God to be his servant and minister to people is not dependent on formal Church rituals or ordination.
She has been employed as the corps social-worker. She has seen officers come and go. She has been without pay during financial difficulties. She has remained when others have left. And here she is – organizing a praise-giving to God for his harvest in the middle of a conflict zone. Houses are being destroyed, people are killed and those who can move to safer areas.
As the custom is in Ukraine, I believe the poor people’s generous gifts will be used to cook food, serve meals and share fellowship with those who are in severe difficulties. That probably includes most of the people present.
I honour this people. I honour Vera Volf for being an example to me and any Salvationist in the world. Together with the potatoes, pickled tomatoes, beetroots, bread, grapes and garlic they make a profound proclamation that God came to give us Life so we shall bear fruit – not destroy and produce barren land and humans without hope.
Pray with me for all the Peace-makers in Ukraine, that they may remain in a blessed relationship with God. They are indeed the sons and daughters of God. (Matthew 5:9)