“The Lord’s delight is in those who fear Him, those who put their hope in His unfailing love.” (Psalm 147:11)
Many Christians have read this verse and come to realize that “putting our hope in God” is no passive thing. It means directing others who have no hope to His unfailing love.
GO Teams have travelled to Eastern Europe every year to share the gospel with children at summer camps. This year, though we couldn’t be with them in person, dozens of members of the ShareWord Global family volunteered to speak into the lives of the young people who attended camps hosted by our ministry partner, Mission Eurasia.
“The live Zoom conferences were a mix of communication, games, and prayer—a great combination for our day camp attendees,” commented Mission Eurasia representative, Igor. “Our friends from ShareWord Global helped make the camp program not only dynamic but also spiritually filled. We saw how the Lord touched the hearts of our youth.”
The weekend before I was scheduled to share a devotional, I had no idea what I was going to speak about. I’ve never been to an Eastern European country, and besides my journalism research, I had little knowledge about the culture of Ukraine, where the youth would be tuning in.
As I prayed, God brought me to the topic of suffering.
I gathered passages and put together a message on God’s omnipotent understanding of earthly pain. Still, I wasn’t sure why He had directed me to the topic in the first place.
My answer became clear the following Monday when Brad Willey, our staff member who was organizing these presentations, shared some details about the upcoming event.
“You’ll be the first to present in this particular region of eastern Ukraine. It’s located in the war zone.”
Here God had called me to talk about suffering in front of a group of adolescents who live in perpetual fear. I took a deep breath and read over what I had planned to speak about, making some adjustments. But deep down, I knew only God could give me the words these kids needed to hear.
I woke up early the next morning, eager to meet the children and translator over Zoom. As soon as I switched on my laptop camera, I couldn’t help but beam at the joy on their faces as my foreign accent flooded their speaker system. It was clear the children were intrigued by the novelty of seeing a Canadian woman on their church projector and excited to receive their Spark magazine following my presentation.
After a short introduction, I read from Isaiah 53. Verse 9 says, “He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.”
Jesus endured excruciating pain—on the cross as well as in separation from the Father. I explained that God knows when we are hurting, understands it, and cries with us. We talked about how to pray and went through a short prayer exercise together.
By the end, I wasn’t sure if my words had resonated with the kids. Yet when it came time for questions, I realized the depth of their understanding. One girl, who looked about 13, asked a serious question about self-harm. A younger child was curious if Canadian children even suffer at all.
It was eye-opening and challenging to address their tough questions appropriately. I hope they now understand that God knows every detail of their anguish. He cares about the anxieties of all His children, no matter where they are in the world.
After I waved goodbye and closed my computer screen, I sat in awe of what God had done. I cannot begin to comprehend the terror these children deal with—even as they step outside of the building they gathered in for that hour. But I do know it was no coincidence that God led me to share about suffering.
Even though the pain I experience may look quite different than theirs, coming together from two countries, being vulnerable about crying in front of Jesus… that was powerful. His presence was there with us, as I sat in my living room and they sat in a little church in the war zone of Eastern Ukraine.
This is just one of many miracles God has made possible through this digital initiative. And though we were only connected by a video screen, the power of the Spirit connected us as brothers and sisters, learning together, suffering together, praying together in the name of Jesus.
Though you may feel evangelism has slowed during this pandemic, there are numerous ways to get involved! It could mean participating in a digital presentation, as I did, or attending an online training event, applying for a future GO Trip, or sending an Expressions card to encourage a friend wrestling with their faith.
We all face suffering in one way or another, but we’re in it together. There are actions we can take to support and remind each other of the unfailing love of our heavenly Father. Reach out and trust Him to lead you in the right direction. We’re already connected as the body of Christ, so let’s look for ways to connect with our global family!