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Kimberly P. Yow

Kimberly P. Yow

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Biblical Reflections from a Ukrainian Theologian’s War Diary

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As Russia’s invasion fades from Western interest, daily musings from an evangelical seminary leader remind readers of the war’s ongoing reality for Ukrainian Christians who stay and serve.

Editor’s note: Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Taras Dyatlik, an evangelical Ukrainian theological educator, has shared his daily reflections in a WhatsApp group. The following are two recent journal entries from June (edited for style and clarity).

In an old carriage with shabby walls and faded curtains, I am traveling on a train from Kharkiv to Uzhhorod in the same cabin as a soldier returning home for a short but longed-for vacation. His wife and children have found temporary shelter in a land saturated with pain and fear.

Yesterday, this soldier bought his daughter a small puppy. Now, he plays with it like a child, hugging and kissing it as if he has found a ray of light in this tiny creature. In a few days, he will return to the hell of war, and the puppy will remind his daughter of her father’s love.

The soldier is about 30, with a weathered, tanned face. He has scars on his arms and legs and deep wrinkles near his eyes. He naps nervously, anxiously, like almost everyone who has returned from the frontline.

Sometimes, he falls into a deep sleep and starts snoring loudly as if trying to drown out the memories of explosions and cries of pain. And when he is not snoring yet still asleep, he shouts orders as if he were back in the middle of a battle.

At one of the stations, when the rattle of the wheels and the squeaks of the worn-out railway car have subsided for a moment, an elegant woman of medium height in a blue tracksuit flies out of the neighboring cabin. She’s about 35, and once upon a time, she must have driven men crazy with her beauty. But now her face is haggard, with deep shadows under her eyes.

Bursting into our compartment, she cries out to me, “Tell …

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