by John Maust, MAI President
Meeting for lunch in the dining room at LittWorld 2022 in Hungary, author Serhii Solohub of Ukraine shared with me an astonishing idea: “What do you think of us organizing a writing contest in Ukraine?” I sat thinking for a moment, wondering just how that would work in the middle of a war.
But wasn’t it already astonishing enough that Serhii had somehow managed to make it to Hungary for the conference? If anyone could pull this off with God’s help, it would be Serhii.
As conversations between global attendees buzzed around us in the crowded cafeteria, Serhii (pictured at right) sketched out some initial ideas for the contest. Participants would write about their experiences in the war. Judges would select several for top awards. Later, a selection of the best entries would be published digitally. The contest would be a way for Christian writers to process the tragedy and suffering from the war and give voice to experiences and insights that would encourage their compatriots.
I chipped in with a few suggestions from what has worked in other writing contests in which MAI had a part, and Serhii promised to keep in touch as plans developed for the contest.
Within a month, Serhii wrote that plans were set: Participants would be asked to submit an article: “My War Story.” A distinguished panel of judges had been formed to evaluate the entries. But how many people would actually participate, writing from the hurt and heat of war?
Significantly, 38 entries were received. The judges selected three for awards. Serhii gave us permission to have the winning entries translated into English to share with you and other MAI friends around the world. So, with thanks to translator Kos Ivantsov, we are privileged to share with you the first-place article, “From the Very Heart of Mariupol.”
May Tymur’s moving account lead each of us to pray with renewed fervor for an end to the war in Ukraine, for God’s strength and protection for believers there, and for His supernatural healing and comfort for the suffering.