When the invasion first happened, many of my friends around me were posting about it on Instagram Stories (IGS).
My Christian friends put out calls for prayer, and so I prayed. I saw it as my Christian duty to pray every time I came across an IGS.
Every time I prayed, however, there was a niggling thought at the back of my head.
If I’m called to go, will I go? Am I just praying at arm’s length?
But I kept brushing that thought aside, because I thought to myself: “Aiyah, it’s impossible to go. Probably not even legal.”
A week later, completely out of the blue, a sister from church reached out to me over text.
“If I were to form a team to go down to the Ukraine border, are you interested?” read her message.
I received that WhatsApp message after my IPPT, so my legs turned to jelly as I read it. I was so overwhelmed I had to lean against the MRT station’s wall for support.
Somehow, I knew at that moment God was making a claim on my life.
God had dropped my name in her heart as she prayed about the team, she elaborated.
I decided to weigh up this divine invitation, taking time to pray about it and seek godly counsel.
As I did so, she asked me another question some time later: “If we were go INTO Ukraine, are you willing?”
That was tough! From then on, for every friend I met — I would wonder if that was the last time I would see them.
Googling how to write a will was also very surreal and scary.
I had so much life ahead of me to live. Was I really going to throw it all away?
The most significant point in my journey of surrendering came when I cycled to my old house in Pasir Ris where I used to live.
Over there, I saw a neighbour, the only one I knew growing up. I said hi, and noticed his hair had turned greyer than before.
Generally, the estate also looked older and quieter, less vibrant than I remembered.
I’m not a sentimental nor emotional person, but I was overwhelmed at the experience.
While cycling, I asked God why I was feeling this, and He revealed to me it was because I was touched by the redemptive work He has done in my life.
Though outwardly many things were fading away, He has been working a great work in me to renew my purpose.
I recalled the many hours I spent in my youth wasting away on my computer, arguing with my mother, living a selfish and pointless life.
Yet now, here I was, doing “business” with God. Thinking of going for missions in Ukraine.
God asked me: How valuable is this renewed purpose to me? Will I follow even at the cost of my life?
With tears, my answer was a thousand times yes. I surrendered then knowing what God has done and how great it is to follow Him.
Another key moment in this decision making process was when I was communicating this decision to my parents.
They were very against me going after considering the implications of this trip. At one point, they even asserted that unless God appeared right in front of them or in their dreams, they wouldn’t change their minds.
For all their resistance and concerns, one thing my mum said in the spur of her emotions really rang in my head: “It’s ridiculous for me to let you go, how can God ask me to sacrifice my son like that?! Crazy — I won’t sacrifice my son for this.”
I felt her pain, and I was also very moved by her heart for me.
But it was also glaringly obvious, at that moment, that such was the price God paid by sending Jesus to die on the cross for wicked people like us.
This firmed up my conviction that my life would be an appropriate sacrifice for God’s call.
To cut a long story short, having more conversations with my parents about the trip proved to be very healing for relations between us.
As I continued to honour them in communicating updates, and assuring them that their decision would be final, God spoke to them through their life group leader.
These conversations revealed the distrust towards each other that we had, and especially my fear of disappointing them which allowed for us to have an open conversation affirming our hearts for each other.
God always speaks to me in a timely way so that I remember my role in His kingdom and to simply be faithful.
In the end, while my parents still expressed great concern over my decision, they made the decision to trust me and let me go to empower me since I stand on the “brink of adulthood” as I approach graduation.
I also made the decision to limit my trip to the border rather than enter into Ukraine itself to honour my parents’ trust and compromise to let me go.
Since then, God has sent many people to pray with me and affirm my obedience.
Even in times when I doubt whether there’s any point in me going as I don’t feel I have much to offer, God always speaks to me in a timely way so that I remember my role in His kingdom and to simply be faithful.
While writing this article, I am rushing to complete a 4000 word final essay two weeks ahead of the submission date.
As I’ve got no finals and other assignments, I look forward to going into the field without any distractions! I’ll be at the Ukrainian border from 13 April to 18 May, ministering to refugees by sharing Christ with them, which includes meeting their physical and spiritual needs.
I’ll be partnering with organisations like Awakening Europe and YWAM Poland as I go. I’ll also be looking for long term opportunities for believers to serve the needs of refugees there.
Ultimately, as the situation is very dynamic, I’m just looking to just go where God calls me!
Finally, if you would like to pray with me, pray…
- That the war will end quickly
- For safety and protection
- For a sensitivity to and courage to obey God’s leading
- That hearts will be turned to Jesus
This article was penned before Wesley took off to the Ukrainian border. After a few weeks serving refugees in Przemyśl, Poland, Wesley went on to plant a Slavic church in Lézan in the south of France. It’s what he’s doing right now — you can follow him and see what he’s up to on our Instagram and TikTok.
- Pause and examine how you have been living your life.
- What is one area of your life that God is looking for radical obedience in?
- This week, what is one practical thing you can do to obey and live out the Great Commission?