In Illinois, the congregation of East Jordan United Methodist Church of Sterling is making sure that Ukrainians are not forgotten as their homeland continues to suffer in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion. According to The Christian Post, knowing that Ukrainians need our prayers, the church has made over 700 wooden crosses for people to place in their front lawns as a reminder to all to keep praying for them. Pastor Jim Miller shared that everybody “with a heart” wants to do something for the Ukrainian people, but with most not being able to go to Ukraine, these crosses give them an opportunity to take action and ask for God’s help for them.
Miller shared that the idea of planting the crosses came to him because Ukrainians cannot place them in their front yards themselves under their current circumstances with Russia. Once the crosses are made, they are placed next to the church’s marquee sign where drivers can stop by and pick one up. Miller also shared that the response to the church’s cross ministry has been “amazing,” adding that people have told him why they are participating and who they are doing it for.
While the crosses have been made primarily to pray for Ukrainians, Miller explained that prayer is needed constantly as there is suffering around the world. He shared that “the biggest problem we see in our human condition in this nation and for the world is that every morning, you turn on the news and you get a new crisis and our interest and our attention on the previous crisis wanes and disappears.” Miller added that planting these crosses allows all to be remembered in our prayers, especially because some people may be able to “turn off” crises in their minds, but those who experience a crisis can never “turn it off” and their needs do not go away.
As time goes on, it is important that support and prayers for those who continue to suffer never ceases. Since Russia’s invasion in February, months have now gone by, but the people of Ukraine still need help, prayers, and hope. Planting these crosses is a reminder of that, and as more and more people collect the crosses, placing them in their front yards and reminding all to pray, brings strength to Ukrainians who are currently living on faith.