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Ukrainian-American Pastor Shares What Christians Need to Know after Two Years of War in His Homeland 

Maina Mwaura | CrosswalkHeadlines Contributor | Updated: Mar 08, 2024
Ukrainian-American Pastor Shares What Christians Need to Know after Two Years of War in His Homeland 

Ukrainian-American Pastor Shares What Christians Need to Know after Two Years of War in His Homeland 

As Ukraine approached its two-year anniversary of war with Russia, Andrew Moroz, a Ukrainian-born American pastor from Lynchburg, Virginia gave ChristianHeadlines a firsthand account of his travels to Ukraine. Moroz has made repeated visits to Ukraine to deliver aid, and to serve. In April, he's taking mental health professionals with him to offer additional support. Though many military experts thought the government of Ukraine would collapse quickly after the war began, two years later the country is still standing, although tattered and bruised.

CH: When you look at the two-year anniversary of the invasion, what comes to mind?

Moroz: Two years of courage and resilience. In reality, the war in Ukraine dates back to 2014 with the annexation of Crimea and the conflict in Donbass. Unimaginable stress, sweat, blood, and tears. Ukrainians are courageous to resist the unjust invasion of their country and very resilient. I also see a lot of courage and integrity in the Church (of Ukraine). It's easy to facilitate worship services and practice religious expression when things are peaceful. Even in the midst of war, Ukrainian Christians are actively worshipping God and meeting the needs of others in Jesus’ name.

CH:  What was life like in Ukraine before the war?

Moroz: Every time that I have visited Ukraine in the last 25 years, Ukraine has been changing in positive ways. Its independence from the Soviet Union in the early 1990's created opportunities for faith to flourish and for the economy to develop. It was very difficult in the 1990's and the early 2000's for Ukraine to develop because corruption was still prevalent and Russian influence was overbearing. Through a series of revolutions, Ukrainians rejected Russian-based political leaders and chose instead to align with the West. In 2019, when I brought my American children over to Ukraine for the first time, Ukraine was thriving. There were still plenty of challenges, but the future was bright.

CH: Can you tell our readers a little bit about your background?

Moroz: I was born, and spent my childhood, in Ukraine. I'm a first-generation immigrant to the United States. Almost all of my extended family still lives in Ukraine. For the last 15 years I have been pastoring Gospel Community Church in Lynchburg Virginia. My work in Ukraine led me to start The Renewal Initiative, a non-profit that exists to restore dignity and hope where it's been stolen or lost.

CH: Can you give our readers a sense of what life is like in Ukraine today?

Moroz: Right now, the future of Ukraine is in jeopardy. But not just Ukraine. Think about the implications of what is happening in Ukraine on other free and democratic nations. If the sovereignty of independent nations like Ukraine can be disrupted, freedom everywhere is threatened. Ukrainians are doing everything they can to live life "as usual," except there is a notable absence of 25–45-year-old men in society (they are defending Ukraine), there are daily air raid sirens, nightly rocket and drone attacks. Life is much more challenging, but people are doing their best to keep going. Businesses and churches are open. The needs of those who are displaced as a result of the war are great - but there are good people who are serving those in need.

CH: Many Americans are asking how they can help.

Moroz: I will never get tired of asking my Christian friends to pray for Ukraine and to contribute however they can. Prayer is the greatest asset of every Christian, more powerful than any weapon made by human hands. In addition to prayer, we can advocate on behalf of Ukrainians and people who are suffering. This is one of the reasons I launched The Renewal Initiative: to amplify the voices of people in need. We can do this by sharing the needs of others with our friends and neighbors, but we can also do this by challenging our elected officials to not withhold aid to Ukraine. It's been discouraging to see aid to Ukraine being held up by the House of Representatives. Ukraine has become a political pawn. Finally, Americans can donate financially to help Ukrainians in need. There are vibrant non-profit organizations doing good work in Ukraine. In 2022 there was an overwhelming global response, but a lot of that funding has been used up. From larger NGOs like World Vision to smaller operations like The Renewal Initiative, Americans can donate funds.

CH: Why should American Christians be concerned with the war in Ukraine?

Moroz: I wrote about this explicitly in a recent CT article. The Bible invites Christians to remember and help address the plight of those who are suffering, especially the suffering of our brothers and sisters. Ukrainian Christians are a beautiful reflection of Christ during an unbearably challenging season. We cannot abandon them, and we cannot forget them. On a pragmatic note, if we fail to help Ukraine now, I believe there will be a greater cost later.

CH: How can we pray for the people of Ukraine?

Moroz: Pray for peace and a definitive end to the conflict. Pray for the Kingdom of God to be evident in Ukraine, as it is in heaven (Matt. 6:10). Pray for the Lord to be close to the brokenhearted and to save those who are crushed (Ps. 34:18). Pray for Ukraine to receive the aid that it needs in this critical moment.

CH:  What will happen if Congress doesn't pass financial aid for Ukraine?

Moroz: I have no doubt that whenever this war ends, there will still be a nation called Ukraine, but if Congress doesn't pass the current aid bill we don't know what Ukraine will look like. We do know that countless people will die. They are dying now, but thousands more Ukrainians will lose their lives. I am pro-life and pro-peace, I don't want this war prolonged, and neither do Ukrainians. I believe giving Ukraine the aid they need can help them stop the Russian invasion and restore peace in their land.

Image credit: ©Getty Images/Jakub Laichter

Ukrainian-American Pastor Shares What Christians Need to Know after Two Years of War in His Homeland