The best way to ensure survival for children in the middle of this current conflict is for the Church to rise to the challenge of finding extraordinary means to act as protectors for their families. I use “extraordinary” with a dual meaning. What so many in Ukraine and beyond are doing right now is extraordinary in the sense that they are exhibiting a courageous posture that is an anomaly to most of us, rather than the norm. But it is also extra-ordinary—a very real reminder of how Jesus lived and how He calls us to live. Following Jesus is defined by our love toward our neighbor and towards the vulnerable, the orphan, and the widow.
Russian troops continue striking civilian structures like kindergartens, hospitals, and orphanages. Men cannot leave because they must defend their nation. Families are being separated and children are being sent on buses and arriving in neighboring countries unaccompanied.
And for those unable to leave, bomb shelters and underground basements often do not have heat even while temperatures drop below freezing. Many people have been left homeless, jobless, and without means to survive as their hometowns have become a battleground for military activities.
These are the realities for so many families in Ukraine and for neighboring countries receiving those who are being uprooted. In this dark space, stories of courage have emerged, and the call of Christ has become clear: we all are our brother’s keeper.
As you pray and consider giving to support relief and compassion efforts in Ukraine and beyond, remember the children separated or at risk of separation from their families, many of whom will carry the wounds of war for years to come. Pray for those who are working to keep families together and organizations like the Ark that is working to protect and provide for children waiting to be reunited with their families. And pray that this display of Christ-like courage would set us all into an extraordinary posture of compassion and care.
It’s our time to take extra-ordinary measures that follow in the footsteps of Jesus to ensure Ukrainian children and their families know they are not forgotten.
*Full names withheld