Editor’s Note: Central Baptist Theological Seminary has a genuinely global ministry. We teach students in many countries, including both Ukraine and Russia. What follows is a message from one of our students who is also a Ukrainian pastor. You may recognize the name of his city, Chernihiv, as one of the centers of fighting during the Russian invasion. Our purpose in publishing this message is not to editorialize about the war, but to let you hear the voice of one of your Christian brothers who is serving the Lord in the middle of the conflict. Please pray for this brother and others like him. Pray for the Ukranian people.
Dear friends, my name is Lyosha Savchuk and I am a pastor of a church in Chernihiv. And I want to share a brief update on my status and the status of my family. When the war began on Thursday morning, the first thing I did was drive to the gas station and filled my full tank of diesel and took my family and a couple other families from our church and we fled. Didn’t have time to think. Didn’t have time to hesitate. We just put the most necessary things and gone. I even left my bag, because the priority was people, not things. So, I wore the same clothes for five days. That’s a little unusual for me.
We made it a long way to the Poland border which was very difficult because of traffic jams all over Ukraine. People flee to Europe and Western parts of Ukraine because these places are much safer than, let’s say, Chernihiv, the city where I am from. That city is right on the border with Russia and Belarus. I received news from my town, and I know that people are suffering because Russians, Russians they don’t know how to fight other soldiers. The only thing they know is how to fight civilians, women and children. This is whom they fight with. They don’t fight with our army. They fight with civilians, with cities, women, and children.
I want to let you know that we all felt your prayers and support. My family is safe now. Alusia and Solomia and Kirill, they are in Poland in Krakow. And we know a further step of how to put them in an even safer place. So please keep praying for them. I stayed in Ukraine for several reasons. One of them is Ukrainian customs, they don’t allow men to go through the borders in the time of war. So, I stayed. Another reason is we took family from Chernihiv. The wife was pregnant and almost due, so it was priority to save them. And she delivered right before the border, in the hospital near the border, on the Ukrainian part. They are there now, and I am in a motel close to them. So, my goal for now is to save this couple with the little baby. The baby’s name is Mia, the couple’s names are Mary and Dennis. Please pray for them. This is my goal number one, to help this family to go through the border to Poland, because Poland is a safe place now.
I can’t tell anything else, because from Thursday until Sunday night I was travelling, did not have time for rest. I made a quick stop in Ternopil where my brother Vitaly Bilyak (brother in Christ) received us and fed us and gave us time to rest a little bit. We spent, I think, three hours there and then moved further because we all understood that staying in Ukraine for women and children is not safe. Please keep us in your prayers and we feel your support, we feel that you are with us. And, if you can, somehow influence your government, please, let them know that we need help. We need military help.
Thank you very much.
You can view further information and a video recording of this message at the following links.
War, Horrid War
Benjamin Beddome (1717–1795)
War, horrid war, deep stain’d in blood,
Still pours its havoc thro’ our land;
Almighty God, restrain the flood;
Say “’tis enough!” and stay thine hand.
Let peace descend with balmy wing,
And all her blessings round us shed;
Our liberties be well secur’d,
And commerce lift its fainting head.
Let the loud cannon cease to roar,
The warlike trump no longer sound;
The din of arms be heard no more,
Nor human blood pollute the ground.
Let hostile troops drop from their hands
The useless sword, the glitt’ring spear;
And join in friendship’s sacred bands,
Nor one dissentient voice be there.
Thus save, O Lord, a sinking land;
Millions of tongues shall then adore,
Resound the honours of thy name,
And spread thy praise from shore to shore.