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Pain and Joy Walking Together

Published on December 27, 2022

Sasha Dieniukova
by Alexandra (Sasha) Dieniukova, FCA North Global Team

This article appears in the Fall 2022 issue of the FCA Donor Publication. The FCA publication is a gift from our FCA staff to all donors giving $50 or more annually. For more information about giving, visit here.


“When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.” Psalm 94:19 (NIV)


At the beginning of this year, I chose “Joy” as my One Word. Little did I know what would unfold.

I started working with FCA in November 2021 as an Administrative Assistant. There was something in the water, something that quickly captured my attention when I hung around the team. My interest went beyond the constant discussions about basketball games or my boss’s colorful socks. Being around them brought me happiness and peace.

FOF 10 416After I was hired, I jumped right in and planned to attend FCA’s Realtime 2022 conference in San Antonio, Texas, in February. I wanted to match names with faces of our European and Eurasian leaders. As we were packing and leaving for the U.S., rumors of war were spreading. But nobody really believed it was going to happen. Just days after we arrived to the U.S., the unimaginable happened. Ukraine came under attack.

For the first few minutes, hours, and days, all of us who serve with FCA Ukraine were trying to catch our breaths. We were shaking, constantly on calls with people from home and scrolling through the news headlines. Nothing else mattered. It didn’t take long before we understood that for those of us who’d come to the U.S., we would not be returning home in a week and a half as planned. Our plane had no place to land anymore.

A girl in my church from Ukraine had the same One Word as me this year: Joy. “Do you think it will go to waste?” we asked each other as we caught up. We didn’t know. I hoped not.

SashaUkraineFor the past six months, I have hit several occasions where I can’t control my tears. But, I have discovered love and I’ve learned openness because of Jesus’ church. His people are an even deeper draw well than the one I can fill with these salty waters. Somehow, the Lord is keeping me alive in my soul, mercifully treating me with joyful moments, days and sometimes even weeks. How can pain and joy walk together? This is a mystery. But if I refused for it to happen, I would be broken or turned into stone.

Joy is still my One Word for this year. I’ve been joyful and grateful to hear the voices of my beloved ones on the phone. I’m joyful our house in Kyiv is still standing. I’m joyful that miraculously, God holds my tired self in His arms. I wake up every day and He still has a plan for me although my heart is grieving for the families who are losing their loved ones. Every day, the Lord gives us courage to move forward. I’m grateful we are not stuck, considering ourselves victims. We are a part of His story, His picture. This is the greatest joy no matter what else is going on.



  • Whether it’s a good or uneasy season for you right now, what are the reasons for joy that you can find today?

  • What scriptures can you remember when people of God were in difficult circumstances but still experienced joy? How can we learn from their experience?

Romans 15:13; James 1:2-3; 1 Peter 1:8-9


"Lord, I pray for all who are mourning today. Remind them of Your faithfulness, be their peace and shelter. Surround them with Your care. Encourage them and give them strength to find reasons for joy and also be joy carriers. In Jesus’ name, amen."