It Was a Dark World Then, Too; But God
Before immigrating to the United States from what is now known as Ukraine, but then known as a part of Russia or the Soviet Union, my dad experienced unimaginable suffering.
BY ALEX MURASHKO (JR)
It was a dark world then, too.
My dad and members of his family survived the atrocities of the Great Famine (Holdomor, 1932-33) and World War II (1939-45). They witnessed the worst in humanity on many levels. Their struggles were personal, but it was events in their town and region that set the stage, and even internationally for the worst of sins.
There were triumphs, too.
My dad was 21 years old when he arrived in America.
His first job was picking oranges in a small town in Ventura County, California. He and his brother were hard workers and they were promoted to the packing department where they made about $8 per day boxing oranges.
Dad went on to serve in the Air Force where he worked as a maintenance man in the Armament and Electronics Squadron. A letter of commendation from the Brigadier General included this part, which is simply amazing:
“When one considers that you first reached the United States in June of 1949, enlisted in the Air Force in June of 1950, and received your naturalization papers in July of 1953, the progress you have made and the work you have performed is outstanding and again I would like to congratulate you on this achievement.”
My dad served during the Korean War and after an honorable discharge from the Air Force, he enrolled at Los Angeles Valley College. He received an Electronics degree and then worked for RCA, a major tech company of the time.
After working at RCA, he landed work for a company that was contracted out with the U.S. space program, NASA, which stands for National Aeronautics and Space Administration. He retired many years later with Boeing, having worked on several space program projects, including the Space Shuttle and Space Station Mir, a joint program between the U.S. and Russia.
Dad was away at work a lot. He felt his main job as a husband and father was to “bring home the bacon.” He was always able to make sure that mom, my brother, and I had a nice house situated in a nice neighborhood.
Admittedly, there was some distance between my dad and I in the area of relationship at different points of our lives, and that can be attributed to both of us. But here is where it gets interesting.
During the process of what I can only describe as a “rescue operation” from unfavorable conditions, at first, from a senior facility he was living in, and then, from within a misguided hospital system, my dad and I became friends!
During the last 3 weeks of his life, my father and I had a chance to get to know each other again. This time I, along with my wife, had the opportunity to pray with him, share the Gospel, and talk about faith and God’s love.
A remarkable transformation took place not only in our relationship but within dad himself.
The transformation began when my wife and I were visiting him at his place inside the senior facility where he was residing. He was having a rough time with a poor heart condition and other ailments, including falling frequently. At the end of our visit with dad, he laid back down on his bed and said he wanted to rest.
We asked him if we could pray with him and he said, “Use whatever words you want.”
Thanks dad, freedom of speech!
Because he repeated a few times that he just needed to rest, as he closed his eyes and lay motionless, I prayed, “The rest you are seeking can only be found in Jesus! Jesus offers the ultimate rest!”
As we held his hand and prayed, we noticed that a sense of peace had come over him. He mouthed the word, “thanks,” and soon after, we left his place.
Little did we know that we were about to embark on a 3-week journey of hospital stays and a 4 days and 4 nights time of being together the entire time, including at our home.
It was during this time that we prayed some more and talked some more. During the first night, “on my watch,” I discovered on my phone’s Bible app the Russian translation of a devotional titled “Anxious For Nothing.”
Perfect! It was during my transformation that began 24 years ago, that I read Philippians 4:6 for the first time and was immediately shown by the Lord that I was headed in the right direction.
Philippians 4:6,7 reads, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Беспокоиться ни о чем!
Anxious for nothing!
Dad was half asleep at the time we listened to that devotion, but I could tell he was tracking. His nights were filled with a lot of painful moans and cries, but his anguished sounds stopped when he heard this Russian translated devotion.
Other times, it was simple prayer or Gospel music that would help him relax and fall back to sleep.
On his first day of his last stay in the hospital I was in the ER room with him when a nurse came in and asked,”So, Alexander, can you tell me what happened?”
“Well, I was dead, and now I’m alive,” he answered with eyes wide open.
Eleven days later, he went on to his next residence. He’s still alive. He has simply changed addresses. However, we are now talking about his soul in Heaven… for eternity.
When we physically leave earth we can have that same address, too.
We simply need to surrender to Jesus.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16
All the glory goes to the Lord!
December 20, 1928 – June 22, 2022
The above eulogy was edited from one read at my dad’s memorial service and originally appeared in the Faith Content Blog category at Thinke.org.
Alex Murashko is on the Thinke Writing Team and blogs at Media on Mission.
Find him on various social media sites (@alexmurashko). GETTR username @MediaOnMission.
UKRANIAN EVANGELIST GIVES GOSPEL PERSPECTIVE TO DARK TIMES – CLICK HERE TO READ