How do you define friendship?  How many “true” friends can one have?

As Americans, we often can meet a new person and later the same day, during conversation, we can say, “I met a new friend today…”  Historically, Ukrainians have lots of acquaintances and a few people with whom they call friend.  However, I am finding this may be changing with younger generations.

Recently, I have spoken with several pastors whom I consider friends.  While our paths do not cross as often because of the war in eastern Ukraine, usually when we do talk, we pick up “where we left off.”

One pastor, who is in his 70’s and still serves the Lord very actively, called me on Monday.  This brother in Christ is remarkable.  One of his assistant pastors was at the conference we led last week and he was calling to let me know that he had received greetings from me.  His church is on the war front and they continue to serve on both sides of the front.  I am encouraged by all his travels and thank God for his devotion.

Another friend from Donetsk called me recently as well to give me some great news.  We met back in November to catch up and I prayed for several of his requests as we sat at the table.  While I won’t divulge what I prayed for, let’s say the Lord is blessing his family!  I am so excited about the news!  Then, he shared that the church he attends in Kyiv would like to ordain him to the pastoral ministry.  (This is a loooong time in coming…)  He asked me to be there if at all possible.  Of course, if my schedule will allow, I will be there!

One of the saddest effects of the war for me is that most of the people I grew to love are scattered.  Some in America, some in Russia, Poland, Germany and many places in Ukraine.  We don’t see each other often and I miss that fellowship. But I am thankful for Viber, Skype and FaceTime that allows me to “see” them from time to time.

As friendships go, I am rich!