Hope in Eastern Ukraine

War, Destruction & Poverty

It was back in 2014 that fighting broke out in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine. Houses were destroyed, people killed and maimed, and many thousands relocated to other parts of the country.

From the beginning of the conflict, Ukrainian Christians responded by helping those in need. Displaced people were provided with shelter, food, clothing and help to rebuild their lives. Those who remained in Donbass needed additional help resulting from the exodus of vital people and the destruction of infrastructure. Teams of Christian medics visited the area, and others took food parcels, clothing and heaters. SGA supported several projects.

The humanitarian help was gratefully received. Hearts that were once closed began to open to the Gospel message. The ‘fruit’ of this ministry has been the conversion of many souls and the growth of the church in the Donbass region. 

The war had been good for the church in Ukraine!
Words of a Ukraine Pastor

Daily struggles

Five years on both sides remain entrenched and unreconciled. Volodymyr Ivanytsky, humanitarian co-ordinator, says, ‘The war in the east is continuing, and the needs are not decreasing, they are increasing. People are in difficult circumstances and in trouble. The feeling of hopelessness is especially felt here.’

The humanitarian effort continues. Each month, teams of doctors, surgeons, ophthalmologists and therapists visit churches in the area to carry out free consultations and counselling. This year, teams have already visited the cities of Kharkiv, Valki and Izyum and several villages.

In May, four trucks carrying seventy tons of cargo (4,800 boxes of food and hygiene kits) travelled to Donetsk and Lugansk. Sunflower oil, cereals, sugar, tea, canned food, pasta, spices and salt were among the products distributed.

Tonia’s twenty-five years have been difficult ones and she was left to bring up her two children, surviving on $30 per month. They have received food and means for heating, a ceramic panel and three tons of coal. She later admitted that if the church had not helped they would have died from cold and hunger. Tonia now meets with another family in her village for Bible study.

Anatoly, disabled from childhood, also received aid. ‘I get a small pension, but it’s a constant battle for survival. I felt stuck at the dead end of the road and that nobody cared. When I received this aid, I felt like God’s hand had touched me and is helping us through this hard time.’

In June, 100 children from the ‘grey zone’ had a week of respite at the Black Sea camp in Odessa. Each day they enjoyed Bible lessons, sports and swimming. On the last day, twelve opened their hearts and prayed a prayer of repentance. There was much sadness when the camp concluded!

Hope through studying the Bible together

While continuing to pray for peace, we give thanks for the Lord’s blessings in the midst of the troubles. Pray for churches in the occupied territory – for God’s protection, help, courage and wisdom. Pray for harmony between believers on different sides of the conflict.