Yesterday I was struck with many conversations from close friends and Kosovar students asking me about my thoughts on the situation in Ukraine and what it means for me as an American living in Eastern Europe.
Living in the PNW growing up the closest conflict that we’ve ever had to us was the BLM riots of 2020 and 2021. But even that cannot remotely compare to the heartbreak that is currently Ukraine and was the Kosovo war that many students remember from the late 90s. I have friends here in Kosovo who have lost parents, grandparents, close friends, and homes to the war that took place in Kosovo 23 years ago. 13,000 lives lost in a war over land and power, much like the one currently taking place in Ukraine.
Student after student yesterday asked me what I would do if Serbia ever decided to attack Kosovo again as many say they might. I’m American, with American friends who have an American amount of money to get me home if crisis ever occurred in Kosovo. And as much as my mind says I would “flight” my heart says “stay”. Because although wars are devastating, the bigger crisis facing Kosovo right now is the seemingly hopeless amount of non-Jesus believing people in the country. So when a friend tells me to go home just because I can, God tells me to stay because I have to. Because when people are finally faced with death, they start to questions their beliefs and hopes for after death. I know that I have an eternal home in Heaven with my savior but too many people don’t know that for me to flee at the first sight of crisis crawling towards us. While I am facing reassurance of a better life to come after death, many around me are feeling the anxiety of their choices.
So while Serbia may never set foot in Kosovo again, and the Ukraine conflict is far from directly affecting us, I sit here quietly contemplating a reality that I never imagined. The question has not presented itself yet, and very well may never, but it has circled my brain these past days, to stay or go? I believe that God will give me a clear answer if that time ever comes. And for now, I have another beautiful open door to the gospel when a student tells me, “get out while you can”.