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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - From Ukrainian Christians

Allen Jackson - From Ukrainian Christians

Allen Jackson - From Ukrainian Christians
TOPICS: Ukraine

Hey, it's an honor to be with you again. Today is a special broadcast. You know, through these last few months and actually the last couple of years, every time we have been at a decision point, God has given us a window with insight in order to respond in that moment. He did it over and over and over again through COVID. Over these last few weeks, our news cycle has been dominated by Ukraine and the war there and all the different messages surrounding that, and to be honest, it's confusing. We don't know who to trust, what message to receive, where to look.

Well, I have some good friends, and they are church leaders, pastors in Ukraine and Belarus, and God brought them to Tennessee, and we're gonna sit down, and with their wisdom and insight, they just arrived in the U.S. from Ukraine, we will hear what's happening there and how we can respond as believers from the place where we stand to make a difference in what's happening right now. I believe it's God's timing again, and if we will ask him, he will give us the insight we need to move forward no matter the confusion and disruption around us. You're gonna enjoy meeting Pastor Gena and his wife, Larisa. There's an anointing on their life. They're making a difference in nations where that is a challenge, and God brought them today to share with us. Enjoy the lesson.

Allen Jackson: Well, I have the privilege of introducing our guests. Gena and Larisa, why don't you join us up here. Give 'em a hand. They're comin'. They've come a long way to be in Middle Tennessee. We first met Gena and Larisa, we were trying to, it's been at least 20 years. Some of you, one of the families who were a part of World Outreach, when we were, really, a fledgling congregation, just trying to find our way, was Dr. and Mrs. Bob Hackman. And Dr. Hackman met Gena and visited Belarus, and after that, if you had a five-minute conversation with Dr. Hackman, you had to get an update on Gena and Belarus. And my parents have been and we have been friends, and they had been here before, but we've had the privilege of making a journey together now for, I think, it's at least 20 years. Your children were small...

Larisa Kernazhytski: Yes.

Allen Jackson: ...and they're not so small any longer. You're gonna be a grandmama.

Larisa Kernazhytski: Yes.

Allen Jackson: Hallelujah, that's exciting. You understand my accent better than theirs, so I'm gonna give you some of the words and the key ideas, and they're gonna give you the details, but their English is so much better than my Russian. I tried to think of the Russian words I knew, and the list was embarrassing. I knew "vodka".

Larisa Kernazhytski: What?

Allen Jackson: Right? Well, apparently, you knew it too, or you wouldn't have laughed. So it must be 'cause we watch TV, and we learn those kind of words from watching television, but my Russian vocabulary was pretty limited but, welcome, Gena, back to Murfreesboro. We're delighted to have you tonight.

Gena Kernazhytski: Thank you. "Privyet". If you will say, have Russian word, "privyet," that's a "hi".

Allen Jackson: "Privyet".

Larisa Kernazhytski: Mm-hmm.

Allen Jackson: Look at me. I'm bilingual.

Larisa Kernazhytski: This is better word than "vodka," you know. "Privyet," you will know another good word in Russian, "privyet".

Allen Jackson: Good, I need some help. Oh, how long since you have been here? I was trying to... I can't remember. It's been quite a while. It's been a few years.

Gena Kernazhytski: I think four years.

Allen Jackson: Four years ago? Okay, we all look younger. You have two daughters?

Larisa Kernazhytski: Mm-hmm.

Allen Jackson: Tell us their ages and...

Larisa Kernazhytski: Our oldest, she's almost 26. She came to Germany to Bible school, and she met there American guy, and then they married, and now she live in Atlanta, and we're expecting grandbaby in September. And our youngest, she's 22. She's living with us, and she's studying.

Allen Jackson: Very good.

Larisa Kernazhytski: Anastasia and Tanya.

Allen Jackson: And why don't you tell us your last name. If I pronounced it, it would not help you.

Gena Kernazhytski: My full name, Henadzi Kernazhytski. Kernazhytski, last name.

Allen Jackson: And if you can spell that, I'll give you a gold star. Very good. Thank you for naming me "Allen". I would've had to have my name tattooed on my hand if it had that many letters. God was good to me. But you pastor in Belarus, in Minsk.

Gena Kernazhytski: Yes.

Allen Jackson: Where you planted that church, correct?

Gena Kernazhytski: Correct?

Allen Jackson: But now you actually oversee churches in Belarus and in Ukraine?

Gena Kernazhytski: And Ukraine, yeah, we have 20 churches in Ukraine and about approximately 1.000 people altogether in all these 20 churches.

Allen Jackson: Very good. Tell us a little bit about what church life is like. Like, you mentioned that the police came since you left.

Gena Kernazhytski: When we left, when war start, actually, we came to America three days before war came, and our churches got together for prayers, and some people will say, "Well, we have to go outside on streets and protest against the war," and some people did, and they put them to the prison, but as Christians, we decided we need to pray more, and we announced, like, it will be a prayer meeting between all the churches, like, prayer, night prayer, and police came, and they said, "No, you are not allowed to have between churches. Like, one church, it's okay, you can gather and pray, but because it's against the war and many churches", and this time, it was a polite way, what they said, "Please, go home. We'll not give you opportunity to pray anymore".

Allen Jackson: So churches can't gather in groups. Your one church could get together, but if two churches or a group of Christians wanted to get together to pray for the war, it's illegal, and they send the secret police to monitor that. So when Americans talk, we talk about socialism and Communism like they really have some good features that we could consider. If you were gonna talk to the American young people, what would you say to them about that?

Larisa Kernazhytski: I will say, if you wish that way to live, you don't understand. I mean, you don't understand what you wish. It's bad wish, I mean. I will tell you one thing: It was very, very difficult to be Christian, and when I was in school, I just tell you one small story. When I was maybe 12, I was good student. I mean, I liked to study, but because I was a Christian, she will put me in front of the class, and she will tell so many bad things about me like I'm a liar, like I'm stupid because I'm believing Bible, and I will be nothing when I will grow up, and I was hearing this, like, years, so I will say be thankful to God and maybe to your parents and your grandparents for freedom, yeah.

Allen Jackson: All right, well, we hear a lot about Ukraine these days in the news, and I know you have a brother who's a pastor in Kyiv or Kiev, a large church, 3.000 people?

Larisa Kernazhytski: Yeah, mm-hmm.

Allen Jackson: And then, Gena, you oversee many churches in Ukraine, so you have a lot of first-hand experience with that. So all we have is what we hear on our news, and I know you've been here a couple of days, and you've seen our news. Do you think it was accurate?

Gena Kernazhytski: Well, when I turned Fox News, and first thing they was tellin', I heard, I turned it off. I couldn't listen even. It was just so not true. What I hear, they were saying, "Zelenskyy is a dictator, and he is trying to stop all the political parties and be like kind of one," and there's one, several parties was, they were pro-Russian, and there was, kind of, on my opinion, I will put them to jail, even, because, during the wartime, they was creating difficulties. They was, I will just say they were, be traitors, not opposition, but there is real freedom there, and I will say more: Ukraine is a so-Christian country. Some villages are 60, 70, in one village, I know even 90% of the people are Christian. They're all going to the church, and if you will go, you don't need even to lock the door. It's just so safe and protected, and it's not true, like, "Ukrainian people are killing their own children" and they are like what's Russian propaganda is saying. It's absolutely not true. If you will ask now any Russian pastor who's in Russia somewhere, when freedom came in 1991, all the Ukrainians, they went to Russia and start new churches there because Ukraine was most of the Christian people, and this war is not just against Ukrainians. It's against Christianity, I will say, because people want to have their own freedom. And how they are now united, how they are, how they're praying, it's just different. Of course there is some problems in Ukraine. I didn't say, like, oh, they are holy and everything, of course, not, but not true what Russian propaganda is saying. Absolutely not.

Allen Jackson: So what I've heard several reports of was that Zelenskyy was banishing all the opposition parties in an attempt to establish himself as a dictator, kind of similar to Putin in that, and what Gena helped me understand was that he took the parties that were betraying Ukraine and working with Putin, really as traitors against the country, so it wasn't a political move. The other thing you said that I thought helped me so much was that the Ukrainian people would never tolerate a dictator...

Larisa Kernazhytski: Yeah, yes.

Allen Jackson: ...because they had been free. I heard that. That was so real in you all.

Gena Kernazhytski: It was already two revolutions. It's called, first revolution, it's called Orange Revolution, and Russia, they were saying something bad about, they said, "During the Orange Revolution, American put drugs inside of oranges and give it to people". It's just kind of stupid, some stupid things. But, anyway, it was Orange Revolution. Then, in 2014, when Russia start to occupy it one more time, Ukraine and Crimea, there was another revolution. It was a big, and Ukrainians want to be free, and local people, they will not celebrate dictator. Not at all. They become a free nation.

Larisa Kernazhytski: And I will want to say some Russians or some other people, ask Ukrainians, "Are you fight for president"? And they say, "No, we fight for our country, for our people. Yes, we honor president now because he's with us, but we are fighting for the country, for freedom, not just for government".

Allen Jackson: So tell us more. Then, you oversee churches other than just the one, the one you pastor personally in Belarus and...

Gena Kernazhytski: And Ukraine.

Allen Jackson: ...and Ukraine.

Gena Kernazhytski: Yeah, especially, I would like to share about Ukraine more and during these days, because there are so many refugees going away from Ukraine, we have one, my good friend, he's a pastor in Czech Republic, Pastor Peter, and I talk to him, and I asked him if he can host some wives and children from our churches in Ukraine, and they was able to move, and we have 76 now. It will be 80, already, people, like, who's coming to live in Czech Republic, and this is one of the big things, like, we need to help them to maintain and everything, but also not all the people are going away from Ukraine, but they're going to the west part of Ukraine, and in the west part also, they need to find a place to stay and things, and also, we're able to help them, but mainly now during this, for example, Pastor Yuri in Nikolaev, city is almost rounded, and there's not easy to find food and everything, but he's trying to, kind of, go to Odessa because he have minivan and bring some food, and he have, in church, kind of like a place to give food to other people, and they make kind of registration with government, and government know, if they need, if somebody will come to them and ask for help, they will come, said, "Okay, there's a church, this address, and they can help you," and this way, kind of like a, and what is good now, how, on my vision, what I understand, if I will able to help these local churches, and they will be a base, then, when everything will be over, people will know, "In difficult situation, this church helped me. I want to come and be member of this church because this church was able to help me". And I'm just thinking, like, not just thinking about now but also about those people, like, the church will be in bigger authority because of that. Actually, how I start to know you, through Dr. Hackman. We just start the church in Berezina. It was government, everybody was against us, but because of the group of doctors came and, for one week, we saw about 1.000 patients. Big group of doctors came, and we were helping, and people were coming, and we gave them medicine. We prayed for them together. I like to say, I say, "we," because I was in prayer team, and Dr. Hackman check blood pressure, things like this and give some medicine and put people, and they have to go, everybody, through us, and after that, all the... because city... or not city. Town where I was living, about 15.000, and 1.000 people came through us. Can you imagine, people... because, before, they would think, "Oh, this is sect. We don't want to do anything," 'cause it's a new town for us. We came to start new church, and when, after the group of doctors came, and we have a kind of... people was more open to us, the same way how I just see now, in Ukraine, when we will be able to help more, these churches, and they will be help to local people more, then it will be more, kind of, will we bring light to them.

Allen Jackson: You said people were coming because of the war, Larisa. People were coming to the churches because of the war?

Larisa Kernazhytski: Oh, yes, people comes even, for example, the church in Kyiv or Kiev, it's Ukrainian and Russian language why you hear sometimes Kyiv or Kiev.

Allen Jackson: Which one is Ukrainian?

Larisa Kernazhytski: Kyiv.

Gena Kernazhytski: With two "I". It's Ukrainian way.

Allen Jackson: We're multilingual hillbillies, come on.

Larisa Kernazhytski: And they have church building with basement, so local people even come to spend a night to the church through the basement, and church people serve them, like, hot tea, coffee, something, you know, small food, and the people, they in huge stress. Can you imagine? You know, because they always hear these strange sounds, you know, the sirens and all that, so Christian people talk to these people and ask them, "Can we pray with you for peace? God will", and all people, they say, "Of course, you can pray for me". And then they tell their stories and how they afraid, so church now, it's a light. It's a light. So people come into the church, and people pray with them, and I believe it's already start, and it will be huge revival in Ukraine, but I need to tell you, many Christians from Ukraine, they went to Poland, Moldova, Czech Republic. I mean, into all Europe country, and they will bring gospel to Europe. I believe it, and do you know what? I told Pastor this, and I want to tell you, Ukrainians, they'll fight not just for Ukraine. Can I boldly say to you, they fight even for you? Because I know, Ukraine will win, because, if not, the war can spread to Europe and, you know, who knows? So pray for Ukraine. Maybe do something because it's not... the war, not just in Ukraine, and they fight not only for Ukraine, so I believe in prayer.

Allen Jackson: We have brothers and sisters around the world, who are standing under much greater adversity than we have even imagined yet, and they're doing it with courage and boldness. They have an enthusiasm for the gospel that challenges me, and I think you hear that, and then we're still trying to decide what we'll do with a mug or six weeks of an invitation to a festival, and, Lord, help us. I hope we run out of parking. We've only got 200 acres. We'll figure it out. If you'll help, we'll figure it out, but we will make a commitment to continue to pray for you. You know, we have walked together for quite a while. both: Yes.

Larisa Kernazhytski: Yeah, we feel it. We feel it like we are family. Thank you very much for your prayer and your support. Thank you very much.

Allen Jackson: I believe God has given you and me freedom so we can take our place in praying for the church and the earth and not just asking for his blessings upon our lives. Let's pray:

Father, I thank you for your people throughout the earth, certainly for those in Ukraine today, who are suffering greatly at the hands of this very destructive conflict. Lord, send your angels to stand guard around them, but we pray beyond that. Lord, I pray for the church, around the earth, that's persecuted, that stands beneath great threat and intimidation. I pray that you would meet every need that they have. Give us a burden in our hearts to stand with them. May we be aware of the freedom and liberty we have and the opportunity it gives to us to pray and intercede and cry out to you, in Jesus's name, amen.

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