More than ten years ago I moved to Kyiv and met lots of young people through Blagodat Church. Several of them are still good friends to this day. One young man was an electrician without work. In December 2003 I invited him to help me with some work in the apartment I was moving in.
We became friends and I learned a lot about him and his family life during those months that followed. He started attending our small group, even praying and inviting friends to small group and my English class. That next summer he attended the church’s summer camp. I was seeing him grow in his relationship with Christ.
During this time, he asked us to pray for him to find a job. He had been working for a company that wasn’t paying him. So, our small group began praying earnestly for him to find a good, steady job that would pay him. After a couple of months, he found a job. God had answered our prayers! After a few weeks, he attended less and less of our small group meetings and eventually quit coming. Same true for my English classes. When we talked by phone it was apparent that he had moved on.
In Donetsk, there is a young man who I think of very highly. He began attending a college in Donetsk, he started going to a church and repented. We would meet sometimes 2-3 times a week. He became like family. We started going through Experiencing God and I saw him growing in his relationship with Christ. Then, one day, he quit studying, stopped calling or coming by.
At first I took it very personally. I couldn’t see how a person who seemed to be growing could just stop. I questioned maybe it was something I did wrong. We still talk from time to time and see each other occasionally. However, our friendship is not what it used to be.
I have prayed lots over both of these situations. I still care for each of these men as family. Recently, as I was praying for them (and others) God reminded me very clearly that it was He who loved them first and that He still loves them to this day. I was reminded that it is not me who determines if and when a person makes a life changing decision. God also reminded me that, for now, it is enough for me to “keep on loving them.”