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Train Up a Child: Ukraine’s Christian Schools Model Wartime Education

Evangelical-led movement offers family atmosphere and biblical values increasingly attractive to the beleaguered nation.

As air raid sirens blared down the hallways, Tetiana Garkun hurried her middle school students outside the My Horizons Christian School campus into the designated bomb shelter.

Located in Khmelnytsky, 200 miles southwest of Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, the school’s children moved in orderly fashion—a sign of how accustomed they’ve become to Russian missiles targeting military installations in nearby Lviv.

They prayed, waited for the all-clear signal, and returned to their Bible class.

Garkun’s own children, daughters aged 16 and 17, were similarly composed. Confident high schoolers who only a few years earlier were sharing their faith in Ukraine’s secular education system, they follow after their great-grandfather, a Pentecostal pastor sentenced to death by magistrates in the Soviet Union.

Times have changed, as have education authorities.

“The government encourages us to teach our students how to be Christians and live godly lives,” said Garkun. “They see that we are needed in these horrible days.”

She had earlier led the students in a discussion prompted by the official state health education curriculum: What helps us live a long life?

Model answers included a good diet, avoiding smoking, and participation in sports. But amid war, these answers no longer apply, she said, and even her prepared integration of Christian material hardly satisfied her own soul. In years past, she recited Ecclesiastes 7:17: “Do not be overwicked, and do not be a fool—why die before your time?”

However, she pondered, what about when the righteous are killed by Russian evil?

“When we follow God’s rules and truth, we lead happier and healthier lives,” Garkun said. …

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