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Ukrainian pastor in Virginia thankful for unity amid crisis

Andrew Moroz's children play in a Kyiv fountain on a visit to his native Ukraine in 2019. Moroz, teaching and vision pastor of Gospel Community Church, permanently moved to the United States with his family in 1999. Photo provided.

LYNCHBURG, Va. (BP) – Andrew Moroz, teaching and vision pastor at Gospel Community Church, said he is communicating with his loved ones in Ukraine every day as well as assisting his church with Ukraine-related relief efforts.

Although Moroz permanently moved with his immediate family to the United States in 1999, much of his extended family and friends still lived in the country before the invasion began. Gospel Community Church is supporting its pastor and Ukrainians during this time of crisis both “spiritually and tangibly.”

Andrew Moroz

“I’m grieving with the people of Ukraine,” Moroz said. “I’m grieving with them because I can’t not grieve. I feel it in my body. I feel it in my heart, and in my mind. A lot of my attention and emotional energy on a daily basis is in Ukraine.

“The way I am dealing with that is taking it to God in prayer and inviting others into that with me in community.”

The church has set aside specific times during services to pray for the crisis in Ukraine, raised financial support for Christian ministries in Ukraine and even sent a missions team from the congregation to Poland to minister to fleeing refugees.

Moroz said that in addition to the support he has received, he is thankful for the unity that has resulted from the crisis in Ukraine amongst both his family and fellow believers in the country.

“There is encouragement to be seen in the way that Ukraine has come together,” Moroz said. “Times of crisis end up bringing people closer together and that is happening in Ukraine.

“If the Russian government wanted a quick invasion and to divide people and the government, they did not accomplish that. The people have actually come closer together, and they’re more resolved to fight for their freedoms.”

Friends of Virginia pastor Andrew Moroz wait in a shelter in the Herson area at the beginning of the conflict. Photo provided.

Before the crisis, Moroz would communicate with his extended family periodically and visit the country from time to time. However, since the crisis began he has been communicating and receiving updates from his relatives every day.

The invasion, he added, has forced his loved ones to either relocate to the major cities or flee the country altogether.

Moroz compared the emotions that his family and friends have been experiencing to the stages of grief, saying they have experienced “shock, grief, anger and depression.” Despite everything Ukrainians are experiencing, he is encouraged by the positive updates regarding how the evangelical Church in Ukraine is adapting to minister in the crisis.

Moroz said God can be seen in these unconventional yet special moments in Ukraine. Seminaries are becoming refugee centers and vehicles fleeing the country are turning into sanctuaries filled with worship.

“In the midst of all this chaos and darkness, there are glimmers of hope and light. We can see God’s hand sustaining, protecting and encouraging,” he said. “Ukrainians are incredibly resilient people. What I’m hearing is they’re not going to give up, and the churches and believers who are serving are planning to keep fighting, pursuing people and rescuing people until the end, whatever that end is.”

Members of Gospel Community Church in Lynchburg, Va., pray for Ukraine and its people. Photo provided.

Moroz believes this unity evident among Ukrainians will be fuel for global revival, regardless of the results of the conflict. 

“I think what God is doing globally is orienting our world for revival, and many of us have been praying for this,” he said.

“What the enemy wants to do is divide, create chaos and isolate people. But how God operates is that salvation unifies people and brings them together. It brings us back in relation to God and to each other. What the world is beginning to experience is a taste of that unity, and I think that’s common grace and the bedrock of future revival.

“What I’m praying is as Western nations continue to fight against this injustice, that they continue to ask questions about what’s right and what’s wrong and what is the basis of those things. When you pull on that thread, you end up with the Gospel and His design for our lives. Although there is much loss in Ukraine, that loss is watering revival.”