APRIL 2022: WAR IN UKRAINE
Some of you may think that I seek out extreme situations or war zones to get involved in, but I want to assure you that I do not. They have a way of coming to us. When I awoke Tuesday, the 8th of March, I had received 57 texts, messages, phone calls, and signal notices during the night asking for help in Ukraine getting family, friends, and members of the body of Christ to safety. Far Reaching Ministries (FRM) already has boots on the ground with former special forces and believers that have worked within the intelligence community. Far Reaching Ministries has a sister ministry in Holland that we have worked with for years. I have shared with you in the past. She first went with me back in the early 90s and was a tremendous asset to the work of sharing Christ in the prisons. There was a lot of physical labor required of our team, and what was unique about her was that she outworked all the men. She has been a key part of the Afghanistan rescue operation that FRM has been facilitating. A large part of our work is supporting missionaries and pastors in closed countries under FRM’s Ghost Operations ministry. FRM is working in nine of the ten most dangerous Islamic countries in the world, and we have a vast network of pastors serving in the underground church. One of the countries we work in is Ukraine, which is not a closed country but is under siege. We have over 40 pastors and missionaries serving in Ukraine. From the first day of the invasion, calls started coming into our office. Now it is becoming a tidal wave of requests for help in getting women, children, and orphans out of Ukraine. One pastor planned to leave with his family when seven orphans were abandoned at his doorstep. He sent his wife on with their children, but there was not enough room for the seven orphans, so the pastor stayed behind to care for them. On a Zoom call he opened the door to show the seven orphans playing, then shut the door and opened the outside door to show artillery shells exploding all around. The very next day, we were called and told that 30 babies were abandoned in another orphanage.
We immediately went to work on getting a team in to extract and get these children to safety. This will be a very difficult, and may be an impossible, operation at this time. The city has been taken, but we have people who are trained in these types of situations and, we are seeking to get them deployed as quickly as possible. Because of the work in Afghanistan, we have become well versed in extracting people out of dangerous situations. We have a vast network of believers with the skill type required for this operation. We have had former FBI, CIA, and intelligence agents that have sought us out to volunteer their services to us. One agent called and asked if he could fly out and meet with me. When he arrived, he shared that he did not know that Christian organizations like FRM even existed. He then went on to say that he worked in the world of counterintelligence and that many people were talking about us. He said that they could not understand how a Christian organization was getting people out when the U.S. intelligence agencies could not. I took the time to explain to him that we trust in Christ to lead and direct us. The conversation was very detailed about the hand of Christ. I do not have time to go into the details. I was recently back in Afghanistan. While there, I received a message that he had sent. He shared that he had been a Catholic and had walked away from his faith many years ago, but after meeting and watching the way that FRM operates, he surrendered his life to Christ. This brother has been helping us with the work and has become a tremendous blessing in helping to save lives. I called and spoke with Pastor Joe Focht and Pastor Don McClure about what was happening, and the need to move quickly to save lives. Don and his wife, Jean, have become dear friends to Vicky and me and have been a tremendous help to FRM. Pastor Joe Focht has been a pastor to both Vicky and myself. Both men have been great counselors to me, and I have needed to talk to them about difficult issues and choices that we face almost on a weekly basis, including those working in a war zone. When you are constantly having to figure out how to keep a good witness under such extreme circumstances, the Bible says that there is wisdom in a multitude of counselors. And, I value the years they have had seeking the Lord.
FRM and CCA (Calvary Chapel Association) are working together to save as many lives as possible. We will be attacking the war on several fronts. One way is that we want to have teams from Calvary Chapels and other churches go to bordering countries of Ukraine, like, Poland to bring aid and minister to these people whose lives have been shattered. The second way is to send in men with the skills needed to get families out of Ukraine. Many Ukrainian pastors have chosen to stay, but the problem they are facing is that there is no food or medical supplies. We have spent over $4 million on the rescue of Afghan citizens, and we still have over 2,000 additional requests for help with getting people out. On top of ministry in Afghanistan, we now have another extreme need. We are asking our faithful body of believers to prayerfully give so that we can save and repair, through Christ, as many lives as possible. If you would like to give either a one-time or recurring donation, please mark “Ukraine Crisis” on the enclosed gift card. All donations will be used solely for this mission. Even if the war ends in the next few weeks, it will be years before families are able to rebuild the homes and lives that were shattered. For some families, they will have to relocate and find a place to live. Sadly, some will have lost husbands and fathers. The spiritual needs will be great. We will have to take lives that have been destroyed, and with Christ’s love, try to help them find peace and hope again.
Far Reaching Ministries