On the Way to God: a Missionary’s Story
13 January 2023
“Since the first days of the war, I have been praying for my friends and relatives who are serving in the Armed Forces. All of them – an uncle, a cousin, a neighbor, an acquaintance – are alive at this time,” says CITA missionary Andriy and shares the story of his neighbor Yuriy, who is defending Ukraine.
Yuriy grew up in a dysfunctional family, had problems with the law in his youth, and now is suffering from alcohol addiction.
During the war, God has saved Yuriy and his brothers’ lives on the front line four times. Out of 120 men of the military company, 16 survived in three months. Among them was Andriy’s neighbor.
“I should have died several times already, I don’t know why I’m still alive? It’s a miracle… I’m alive and I’m covering my brothers… Maybe a guardian angel is protecting me? It’s a miracle! A third of our combat team died… the battle lasted for more than three hours until the enemy retreated” .
Andriy received this message from Yuriy, who sent it after the battle. This was the first news from him in two weeks.
Then Yuriy ended up in the Odesa hospital with a concussion after being shot with a machine gun. Surprised doctors, looking at a picture of the affected area, informed the soldier that he was a lucky one: a small fragment was stuck a millimeter from the carotid artery.
After that, there was rehabilitation and the front line again, and then the command let Yuriy go home. The old swamp sucked again: after drinking too much alcohol, he got into a fight, he was beaten and almost died, a large sum of money was stolen… He was admitted to the hospital in a serious condition, and was in a medically induced coma. He recovered after three days, but was partially paralyzed.
“I am amazed at the Lord’s mercy and patience..,” continues the missionary.
A brother in Christ took care of Yuriy, who was paralyzed, in the Rivne military hospital for more than two weeks: he fed him home-cooked food, repaired a broken telephone at his own expense, so that the son could call his parents.
“He was pleased that a stranger took care of him like a family member. He once asked me, saying, what motivates this brother to act like that? I told him: not what, but Who… The One whom you have not yet met, in whom you refuse to believe, the One who loves you, cares for you and protects you.
How many times I wanted to just give up on him, stop mentioning Yuriy in my prayers. After all, I see his stubbornness, recklessness and pride. But the Lord always sees more, and I understand how much He needs this soul to be saved! For my part, I will do everything I can to make it happen,” admits Andriy.
The last time Andriy met Yuriy on January 1, he was returning to the front line, in the Bakhmut region. The missionary encouraged him and reassured him that he would continue to pray for his neighbor.
The material is prepared by the CITA press center.