Ukrainian-American pastor: ‘Don’t just wait for evil to come to our doors’

Pastor does not believe evil will triumph over good in battle between Russia, Ukraine

 Daria Garn a Ukranian refugee from Kyiv waits to board a flight at Iasi International Airport in Romania, after Russia's invasion of Ukraine, on rout to Israel, March 8, 2022 (photo credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)
Daria Garn a Ukranian refugee from Kyiv waits to board a flight at Iasi International Airport in Romania, after Russia's invasion of Ukraine, on rout to Israel, March 8, 2022
(photo credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)

A Ukrainian-American pastor from Lynchburg, Virginia has called on his congregants and other Christians worldwide to do their part in “advocating, supporting and giving” to the people of Ukraine.

“Don’t just sit and wait for evil to come to our doors,” Pastor Andrew Moroz of Gospel Community Church said on Tuesday in an interview with The Jerusalem Post. “Push back against the darkness however you can.”

Moroz was born in Kyiv in 1986. His family immigrated to the United States in the mid-1990s, shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union. They then lived in Ukraine again for two years when he was eight. Today, he still has friends and family in the country.

Pastor Andrew Moroz at a family reunion in Ukraine (Credit: Courtesy of Pastor Andrew Moroz)Pastor Andrew Moroz at a family reunion in Ukraine (Credit: Courtesy of Pastor Andrew Moroz)

“I was in shock that the full-scale invasion began,” he said. “Since then, I have been working through the cycle of grief, oscillating between anger and depression, while at the same time trying to be involved in doing my part of the resistance and supporting my friends.”

Moroz is in regular contact with colleagues and friends on the ground, people who have described the fear of rockets flying over their heads and of escaping their houses with no firm plan of where they are going. 

“I have a friend named Anna. She and her 83-year-old grandmother had to leave Ukraine by train about a week-and-a-half ago. They traveled to the Hungarian border, where they waited for 24 hours. They ended up in Spain earlier this week, living in someone’s home. She does not know what is next,” Moroz described.

He said Anna sent him messages from the border saying that she did not want to leave Ukraine and how much she loved her country. She was employed, had friends and was part of the Christian community. Now, he said, she is displaced. 

Anna (in green) on the train en route to Hungary (Credit: Courtesy of Pastor Andrew Moroz)Anna (in green) on the train en route to Hungary (Credit: Courtesy of Pastor Andrew Moroz)

“They are telling me they want to be free, saying that life is hard and uncertain,” Moroz described. But he also said that the war is bringing the nation of Ukraine together and that people are more unified than ever before. 

'It's a beautiful thing'

Amidst the darkness, there are incredible stories of people serving each other, helping each other in unprecedented ways, he said. 

“I have friends who work in non-profit ministries and churches, and they have all changed their plans - whether they were doing orphan care, children’s camps or starting churches - everyone is focused on refugee care, helping get people out of dangerous places or bringing supplies to dangerous places,” he said. “Pastors who are used to preaching sermons are now refugee workers, and they are doing it with smiles on their faces. It’s a beautiful thing.”

He said he has a Ukrainian-born friend now from Seattle Washington who last week said goodbye to his wife and flew to Germany. There, he picked up a vehicle, filled it with supplies, and drove into western Ukraine. He is now actively using that truck to drive refugees to the border. 

A couple of Christian spiritual leaders he is close with have put beds in their basements for anybody who needs a place to sleep. 

“One of the good things that is happening is that Christians who are serving in Ukraine and living in Ukraine are now not exclusively serving Christians,” Moroz said. “Many individuals who would normally be more comfortable with a certain group of people are removing barriers and people are together. They are experiencing each other’s worldviews, suffering together, praying together. 

“I see pictures of people in church basements huddled together,” he continued, “people who would normally not hang out together have come to a church in search of shelter.”

A family in southern Ukraine is held up in a bomb shelter (Credit: Courtesy of Pastor Andrew Moroz)A family in southern Ukraine is held up in a bomb shelter (Credit: Courtesy of Pastor Andrew Moroz)

His own church has launched a fundraising campaign to send money directly to the individuals doing refugee work to pay for fuel, supplies and medicines. They are also sending small groups of spiritual leaders and trauma counselors to Poland to support the refugees themselves and the people who are working with the refugees.

“They need emotional and spiritual support,” he said. 

Gospel Community Church members pray for Ukraine (Credit: Courtesy of Pastor Andrew Moroz)Gospel Community Church members pray for Ukraine (Credit: Courtesy of Pastor Andrew Moroz)

'Good will overcome'

The pastor said that he does not believe that evil will ultimately triumph over good in the battle between Russia and Ukraine.

“Evil is reigning and pushing against light and goodness,” Moroz said. “But the Bible tells us that good will overcome. We are not wired for evil but wired for good. The people of Ukraine will be able to overcome it.”

He added that while “evil does not have boundaries, God can restrain evil, and he does it through the good that is manifested through people.”

Moroz said that the people of Ukraine are resilient but to overcome they need as much help as they can get. He said they need people to keep talking about the war and to pray for them.

And when the war is over, Ukraine will need help rebuilding.

“It will be a long journey, because rebuilding will be physical, but also emotional and spiritual,” Moroz said. “Let’s do this together, let’s not leave Ukraine alone.”