Skip to main content

Peacemaking Disrupted by War

Written on Taras, a worker in Ukraine

“We realize that there is no sustainable peace beyond the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we know that we are called to be His ambassadors of peace and reconciliation in this broken world. We are dependent on the power of the Gospel and wisdom of the Holy Spirit in peacebuilding.”

Born during the Soviet Era, in the Western Ukrainian city of Rivne, Taras is no stranger to war and conflict. In this context he has devoted his life to peacemaking efforts across different church traditions. Throughout the decade-long conflict with Russia, Taras traveled widely providing formal & non-formal training in peace-building ministry to leaders in Ukraine, Russia, and Central Asia. On February 24, 2022, however, Taras’ efforts to advance peace and reconciliation came to an abrupt halt as Russia invaded his homeland. Though he was out of the country at the time of the invasion, Taras quickly returned to serve his people.

Taras writes, “I heard missiles flying toward Ukraine...When I went to the border, Ukrainians told me that I must not come back to Ukraine because I would not be able to leave as a military-aged man. But, I had no choice…I had to go back to my family, my people.” Today, Taras and a network of Mesa Global partner seminaries are assisting refugees in Ukraine. To date, Mesa Global has raised over $900,000 which has served 100,000 refugees and internally displaced persons with over 1,400 tons of humanitarian aid. Our Ukrainian brothers and sisters are so appreciative that we are standing with them during this extremely difficult time. When reflecting on his work, Taras sees the Christian calling depicted as a bridge. “When you think missionally, you will always be ‘in between’. For one time you will be Russian; for another time you will be Ukrainian; for another time you are Black or you are white. So, you’re constantly in between. Where the mission of God is, you are there. You are the bridge and this is why my favorite phrase in my diary is ‘we are the people of the bridge.”

Taras’ prayer request: “Please pray for Ukrainian Christians, that we will serve and live as the community of hope in a full sense of this term; that during these terrible times we would invite more and more people to relationships with God and His children, to the relationships of love, hope, encouragement, support; that our minds and characters would continue to be transformed into the character of Jesus Christ.”