Refugees or missionaries? Because of the war in Ukraine, some of the believers left, while others stayed. Within the churches, people were divided into two groups. And those who did not leave can condemn those who did. And those who have left may feel guilty about leaving. Of course, many people want to return and they will return when the war is over. But a number of people are likely to stay here in Europe.
And in this context, I want to say that everyone should check the will of God for their lives, their goals and motives. This is a difficult time, but any, even a difficult time, can be used for God’s will, His purposes and plan.
Prophecy for Ukraine
Once we heard the prophecy of one of God’s people about Ukraine. He spoke about the fact that there will be a war with Russia. He talked about the fact that before this war in Ukraine there will be such a freedom for believers, which was not in any country of the former Soviet Union. And so it was.
For example, in our city of Zaporozhye, the authorities even for several years set up a stage with equipment and lights on the central square of the city so that all communities and churches could celebrate Christmas. This opportunity was available from one Christmas to another (until Christmas in Russia in celebrated), that is, from December to January. There was such freedom that it was not even necessary to get a permission to evangelize. We just had to let the authorities know that we would do it.
And then this man of God spoke about the fact that there would be a war, and that many missionaries would go to different countries from Ukraine. For me, the first thing that seemed unreal then was the war with Russia. But, as we see, the situation is unfolded.
Who can be a missionary?
When we hear the word “missionary”, what associations do we have? Usually for us this is some kind of a pastor, a preacher, an administrator and maybe worship. But very often, ordinary people did not consider themselves missionaries, because they did not understand that a missionary can be a person with different gifts and vocations.
For example, I remember the time when we moved from Nikopol to Zaporozhye as a family of young ministers. We needed someone to help us with our four small children.
Everyone who travels should consider himself a missionary. And anyone can be a missionary. It may not be possible for everyone to preach, but congregations need help in many ways, such as administration, worship, staff and more. Even being a nanny and helping a pastoral family with children is also necessary. At the time, we really needed this kind of help.
Don’t forget your calling
I think it is very important that everyone considers himself during this time of forced evacuation and refugee as a missionary, no matter how long he came to another city or country. And wherever you go, it is very important to consider yourself without separating yourself from God’s calling and destiny. It is important to understand that even if your main motive was to improve your life, your financial situation (after all, some really could come for this purpose), it is still worth putting your heart in the right position before God, without breaking away from God’s family and God’s purpose that all of our messianic churches have.
Moreover, the new Jewish messianic communities that may appear in the near future are very much needed here. Up to two million Jews live in our region (Germany and surrounding countries). This is a fairly large number, given the number of Messianic communities already available. Yes, there are many Russian-speaking churches in Germany, there are small communities in the Netherlands, Belgium and France. But for such a number of Jews in Western Europe, this is not enough.
Each person is completely free to make decisions and build their personal relationship with God. But I urge everyone who has gone somewhere not to consider themselves outside of God’s purpose for messianic service, calling and destiny. It is very important for each of us to be useful, work and invest where we are today. Because where you are today, I think, is also the will of God. I urge you to think about how to help those communities that already exist, in order to perhaps start some kind of ministry, serve people and give God the opportunity to work through you to the maximum, achieving His goals, even in this difficult time.
Is now the right time for missionary work?
I remembered the time when in the 1st century A.D. Jerusalem was destroyed. For believers, this prophecy of Yeshua was not very good. Yeshua said that when they see the Romans besieging Jerusalem, “Let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.” He warned of disasters. For the Messianic community of Jerusalem, this was the time when they understood that it would not be better, that Jerusalem would be destroyed. They became forced refugees and migrants. But this did not free them from the responsibility to bring God’s light to all peoples! They didn’t stop carrying the Gospel, they didn’t stop serving God even when God’s capital, the city in which the Temple was located, was destroyed, robbed, and many Jews were taken into captivity.
In the worst, most difficult time, God can still continue to act through us and can even strengthen some things. And I think that the number of people who have now come to Europe only from our Messianic communities is already a great gift for Europe — for all believers in Europe, this is already a great blessing. Can this be seen as the will of God? I don’t know, but I know that even the worst of times is not a surprise to God.
Maybe someone did not consider himself as a minister in Europe, but suddenly it happened. And therefore, even those who will return (and a large number of people will return), while they are here, they can invest in the service of God. Wherever you are, whatever city or country you find yourself in, this does not release you of the responsibility to serve God where you are. And may the Lord bless you all greatly, help you in this difficult time and strengthen you!
Author — Rodion Samoilovich, Rabbi of the Jewish Messianic Community, Cologne, Germany / ShomerTV