In the city of Kyiv (or Kiev, the old spelling of the city) is an old historical prison - Lukyanivska Prison. Here is a photo of the prison as it looked in 1900, about 45 years after it was built.
My husband's grandfather, Heinrich Epp, was arrested on false charges and was incarcerated in this very prison. Because of malnutrition and typhus, he died there on Christmas Eve,1921. He was found the next morning, on his knees with his open bible before him. My husband has that bible.
My husband was deeply stirred listening to the choir and orchestra, wondering what his grandfather would have thought if someone had come to him as he suffered at the hands of the prison guards, and told him that 91 years later an orchestra and choir would travel from Kyiv to Canada where his grandson would be blessed by their musical performance giving glory to God.
Only God could bring such a thing to pass - that the descendants of people on opposite sides of terror and inflicted torment could worship God together, sharing God's love as His children.
Mennonites were known for their pacifist beliefs, and I know that those who suffered prayed as Christ commanded ...
Mat 5:44 "But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you."
Someone once said that the best way to destroy an enemy is to turn him into a friend. Only God knows the prayers of those that were persecuted, that laid the foundation for the souls being saved in Ukraine today.
Perhaps my husband's grandfather's prayers almost 100 years ago were answered in the concert tonight.