Photograph of Betina Gollander-Jensen with a backdrop of a destroyed building with a cross still upright on the top
By Betina Gollander-Jensen 12 Apr 2022 | Mission East

The Easter message of resurrection is seen in the survival of refugees

How to recover from war, death and destruction? The resurrection message of Easter demonstrates the life force that flows through nature and gives hope that also refugees and displaced people from Ukraine can return to a more normal life again.

Death and resurrection. That is the message of Easter in churches across the world, and it is a tangible reality in countries in crisis and conflict. Also in Ukraine, where hundreds of dead and wounded leave both close relatives and the whole world in shock. But where the Ukrainian authorities are already appealing for help in rebuilding devastated cities so that refugees and displaced persons can return home.

What a courage! What a survival force!

In Mission East, we are repeatedly witnessing people's ability to hold on to hope in the midst of hopelessness and to maintain the courage to rebuild their lives after war and disaster.

We see it in Syrian refugees in Lebanon who plant small kitchen gardens in the refugee camps so they can provide their children with nourishment and vitamins. We see it in Iraq, where Yazidi women who were raped by ISIS fighters start their own businesses so they can support their families. And we see it in our 100 staff in Afghanistan, who keep working in the face of difficulty and despite the Taliban's takeover, to help their countrymen survive a looming food crisis.

And we see it now in Ukraine, where we support hundreds of volunteers who provide refugees and displaced people with food, medicine, hygiene equipment and accommodation.

It may look as if death has taken over. But no! Beneath the surface, life, strength, miracle sprouts.

Just as we now see it in our gardens and the nature around us. Spring causes plants to sprout from the soil that was previously frozen by frost and covered with ice and snow. We now see this in the soul of the Ukrainian people, which is reminiscent of the reality of the Apostle Paul:

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.” (2 Cor. 4: 8-10 NIV).

That's resurrection. That is the message of the church. And we are witnessing that in Ukraine right now. The resurrection message of Easter demonstrates the life force that gives hope that refugees and displaced people can return to a more normal life again.

Picture: Betina Gollander-Jensen in fron of destroyed church in Sinjar, Iraq.