SHS’s Chris Lujan – missionary to Ukraine
When Stephenville High School alum Chris Lujan started going on mission trips to the Ukraine several years ago, he had no idea what was in store for the nation.
During the summer of 2015, Lujan, a SHS Class of 2007 graduate, started working with Wellspring Ministry based out of Alaska, and that lead him to a series of missionary trips to the country of Ukraine.
"The reason that it has taken me so long to get this first letter out is because I have spent the greater part of these last few months in Kiev," Lujan wrote in his 2015 newsletter, sent a little more than three months into his initial visit. "I was there enrolled in a language school to begin learning Russian. Though I am far from fluent, I am very glad l went there first. Now I have a solid grammatical foundation from which to actually learn and build from, am able to express basic thoughts, desires, and know all the conventions relative to basic life. Most importantly, though, I am able at some level to actually communicate one on one with the people I have been sent to serve, which is absolutely vital for building relationships."
While he's served in this part of the world, he has performed several duties, including teaching English classes and helping as a counselor for summer camps and being a spiritual guide and mentor. He has visited the many dormitories that are in the Orphanage Network in Ukraine, such as dorms for children, older youth who were looking for jobs and people whom the state deemed mentally handicapped or had developmental issues. Lujan also worked on physical maintenance of buildings and utilities including hot water and plumbing. He helped expand those buildings, so the members of the dorms could improve their skills.
In addition, he has visited and resupplied refugee camps and been an advisor to help children get into schools or obtain jobs.
"Last Saturday I had the chance to go serve at the refugee camp in our city," Lujan wrote in his 2015 newsletter. "These are all refugees from the eastern conflict zone in Ukraine, most had lost everything when their homes were destroyed. One of the ministers gave a message on Salvation, then we got the chance to pray for anyone who wanted it, and hand out lots of clothes. One little boy I had the chance to pray for had been very close to a bomb blast, and it had severely impaired his speech ever since. He was far too shy to speak directly to me, but later that day, his mom ran up to tell my interpreter that God had healed her son. The next time he spoke his speech had been restored. Another lady who had a chronic cough had it healed while another minister was praying for her. God is so awesome, and it is obvious how much he loves these who have been hurt so badly."
This year, the onslaught of the war brought on by Russia since Feb. 24 has prompted many changes to the country, where Lujan still continues to serve in his humanitarian effort to aid the people left behind in Ukraine.
The Chaplain’s duties have evolved over the past several weeks since the conflict has intensified at the hands of the Russians. Lujan's current duties now include religious leadership services, medical and food deliveries, first aid training and counseling during this extremely difficult time.
His most recent trip to Ukraine has left him stationed there for more than three years now. At the outbreak of the invasion, chemical warfare was mentioned by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Chris's wife, Alyona Lujan, who lives in Alaska, states, “My husband has been very specific to me about what will happen if chemicals become involved in the current state of the war as started by Russia. If there is any a hint of that type of deadly warfare, he will immediately gather all of his group as quickly as possible and depart for the United States, where there are already plans in place to take in the displaced Ukrainian immigrants in the State of Alaska.”
She continues, “My two sons (ages 12 and 2 1/2) and I really miss Chris (and their father) while he’s away for such long periods of time, but I am very thankful that I get to talk to him often via cell phone and we also communicate a lot by email on the internet. The only real problem is the day and night factors, which can be tricky at times. When it’s day here, it is nighttime there.”
When Mrs. Lujan was asked if she is worried all the time about him being in a dangerous place during war time, she quickly responds, “Of course, it is a little scary knowing that he and his followers may have to seek shelter from time-to-time, but I continue to trust God and a sort of supernatural peace comes upon me. That God kind of peace makes me a lot less nervous about the entire situation. Also, I get a lot of love and support from the Ukrainian people that work with my husband. They send me messages via email that encourages me, and they are always quick to tell me how much they appreciate all that Chris and his organization are doing for them.”
Mrs. Lujan says that her husband plans on staying another five to six months in Ukraine, but that plan might change based on what unfolds as far as the war goes on and further escalation might force the people to flee to a place of safety. Chris and the Wellspring Ministry are very pro-active about making sure that these people are safely removed from danger and transported to territories in Alaska in the future, if necessary.
As Chris Lujan wrote in a 2016 newsletter: "Those of you who have been reading these for awhile know how much I love this place because of how God always shows up."
How to help
Support for Chris Lujan can be made by going to: https://akwellspring.com/donate or by calling Wellspring Ministry’s phone number: 907-563-9033. Also, requests can be made for the donation to go to any of the following designations: “Ukraine Missionary” or “Chris Lujan” or “Christopher Lujan”.
Chris's parents are Telessorf Lujan and Morana Horn. His mother still lives in town.