Last week I met with a small task force in Hamburg to see how we can continue to provide help to church members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ukraine, suffering mightily from the effects of the war. All their men between 18 and 60 have left to fight the Russian attackers (as have all men across Ukraine), while the women, children, and old folks remain back home to hold down the fort. Literally. Courageous people risking their lives to defend democracy in their homeland—not unlike what we Americans experienced in WWII. Our task force is composed of Lavra (not her real name), who is from central Ukraine and took refuge in Hamburg in March, together with her daughter. (I reported on her on March 30. She was the “most Lutheran of all Lutherans in Ukraine”). Our third member is “Mikhail” who is working through the complex process of sending supplies to Ukraine. Lavra is a punchy lady who speaks German. A nurse by profession, she got off to a running start in Hamburg: within a few days, she had contacted young fellow refugees studying to become nurses themselves. Lavra now teaches these young people German for several hours every afternoon. Lavra shared how some local people had commiserated with the “poor” young students, “victims” of the war. With a sparkle in her eye, Lavra shared her passionate response to the well-meaning folks. “No, these young people are not ‘poor’ and certainly not ‘victims.’ Too many people today hide behind this much over-used term ‘victim’… These are the children of HEROES who are risking their lives to push back the enemy. And they are themselves heroes because they will return to the homeland as nurses to help our people!” Thank you, Lavra, for your shot in the arm, as it were, encouraging us to address the issues in our lives with vigor and confidence—drawing strength from our Lord Himself, as the Psalmist reminds us: “Be strong; and let your heart take courage, all of you who wait for the LORD! (Psalm 31:24).