News stories about places that you have been feel different from other news stories. Even a short visit can plant of seed of connection that feels like an invested interest when there is a crisis. caption

Several years ago I had the opportunity to go to the Ukraine.  I was teaching a class for a new seminary that was training people for ministry in Ukraine, Georgia, and Russia – as well as outlying regions beyond. As we drove out from Kiev, the director of the seminary told me that where the Seminary is located, Vorzel, has a long history of being considered a place of healing  for people with heart and liver problems as well as general bad health.

Starting in the 1950s, under the Soviet system, people were bused there from all over the region for healing.  Apparently, Soviet scientists who studied the area concluded that it was something about the combination of the pollinating trees that converged in the air. The director explained that decades of scientific tests have proven the healing benefits of the area over and over again.

I suggested to him that maybe this is why it was a good place to have a seminary! The idea of sending people out as ‘the Fragrance of Christ’ (2 Corinthians 2:15) to bring healing to the nations.  Revelation 22 looks forward to a city where trees have a significant role.

 “and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.” (NIV)

My prayer life has changed a bit in the years since that trip to the Ukraine – but my heart still breaks to think about the pain, stress, fear, and violence happening in that region today.

Here is my prayer this morning. Would you please take a moment and join me in a prayer?

May there be peace for the children 
and for the trees,
healing for the nations. 
Amen

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