'Liberating Ukraine with their blood' Local chaplain in Ukraine

A wall in Kyiv, Ukraine
Posted at 3:25 PM, Apr 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-08 20:08:03-04

JOELTON, Tenn. (WTVF) — Chaplain Joshua Darnell calls Joelton home, but for weeks he’s been embedded with Ukrainian soldiers.

Roughly fifty people were killed and dozens hurt in a rocket attack at a Ukrainian train station. Many of them were families trying to escape the war-torn country. While the fighting has intensified in some places, in areas like Kyiv there’s been a reprieve.

"Honestly, everything has changed, and it’s been so dramatic I’ve already cried three times." Darnell said, "It’s almost like an entire month everyone was in a terrible horror movie, just never ending."

For weeks, Joshua Darnell has been embedded with the Ukrainian military as a chaplain.

"There’s a lot of people here fighting for the freedom and the liberty that we often take for granted," Darnell said.

He snapped photographs in black and white to capture the fighting spirit of the Ukrainian people.


Darnell said, “When you do talk to the Ukrainian people, they want what we have. They want freedom.”

Photography helps him process the atrocities of war as he spends most his time counseling people. "I mean giving the love of Christ in this situation, is really easy I mean, you just walk up to people and say, ‘How are you doing?’ And they’ll start crying and you help them, give them a hug," Darnell said.

Spending time away is a sacrifice because he misses his family. "I would hope that my granddaughter, I only got one, I hope she understands,” Darnell said, “And my sons, I hope they understand that I’m here so that these people get to enjoy what we get to enjoy all the time."

Darnell hopes his photography will give Tennesseans a new perspective while honoring the fallen. Darnell said, "They are the real heroes, they are the ones who are liberating Ukraine with their blood."

If you’d like to support him, he’s sponsored by Agape To The Nations and you can donate here.