“For the body does not consist of one member but of many…If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” – 1 Corinthians 12:14 and 12:26-27
The Eastern Ukrainian conflict that has been raging since early 2014 has claimed thousands of lives, including many innocent civilians.
In May 2014, FEBC’s tower in Slavyansk, Ukraine, was shot down by pro-Russian separatists, and the station was taken over by them. In the aftermath, several of the volunteers at our station were beaten, taken hostage and then murdered by the rebels, all because they were Evangelical Christians. One of the people who was killed was Natalia’s husband, Victor Brodarsky.
“Victor loved people. He was a very committed, very faithful person. He loved our children and was passionate about our lives,” Natalia shared. “He loved to be on the air telling people about God. He was a man of deep faith.”
“I’ve had this feeling my whole life that he was not a regular person,” says Natalia about her husband, Victor. “It seemed he was always charged, as though someone was filling him with this energy and I, of course, know that this was God.”
“I truly feel that I am a part of the Body of Christ. I know that people are praying for me not just here but in America, Germany, Russia. It’s like scripture says: the entire body suffers when one member suffers.”
It’s been two and a half years since her husband and three other FEBC volunteers were first abducted and then killed by pro-Russian separatists for their faith. Yet despite this, Natalia is still living in Slavyansk and is now ministering to refugees and others that have been affected by the conflict in Ukraine.
Think about that. Would you have the courage to minister to a group of people who killed someone you knew—killed your spouse, your child? Think of someone who has truly harmed you and ask yourself if you’re still harboring evil in your hearts towards them. God tells us to never let the sun go down on our anger, but to ask God for the courage to forgive those who’ve harmed us. None of us can do this alone, which is why Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians that we are part of the body of Christ. “If one member suffers, all suffer together.”
Lord, search deep within my heart and root out any anger I may be harboring against something done against me. Father, we also lift up the people of Ukraine. They are in the midst of both a physical and spiritual battle, where people are killed for believing in You. Our brothers and sisters around the globe like Natalia face persecution daily, often in ways we can’t even imagine. May we find ways to comfort those who have lost loved ones and to help them through these hard times. Comfort them, God, and give them strength to stay committed to You. We pray also for Natalia and her family, that You would remind them daily of how much You love and care for them. Amen.