Christians under pressure, but vital to helping Chernobyl’s suffering in Belarus

By May 3, 2006

Belarus (MNN) — It’s been 20 years since the nuclear disaster in Ukraine struck havoc throughout the former Soviet Union. The fallout carved out a path throughout that region and affected the country of Belarus significantly. Global Aid Network, or GAiN USA, has been helping.

“GAiN has been involved in Belarus actually for the last 12 years and have sent literally thousands of volunteers in along millions of dollars worth of humanitarian aid,” says Duane Zook, CEO of GAiN USA. He says, “The recipients have been children in orphanages, hospitals.”

Zook says the end goal isn’t just to help physically. “What we’ve been doing is working real closely with the churches there to help them open up doors and communities to extend the love of God in both word and deed.”

The Belarusian government invited Zook to be a part of the recent commemoration of the 20th anniversary of Chernobyl nuclear disaster there. He says despite the political changes, GAiN USA will continue working there. “There is pressure on the church and yet, even on my recent trip, the requests continue to pour in — continue to bring Americans, continue to bring the aid, continue to work in our country.”

Despite the pressure, Zook says, “The church in Belarus is absolutely growing and is vibrant. It’s going through some significant hardship and yet, with those challenges and difficulties have come a commitment from the leaders of the church to say, ‘we are here for the long haul — upon this rock I will stand and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.'”

While the disaster struck 20 years ago, the disaster is still impacting lives today, says Zook. “60-percent of the nuclear fallout fell on Belarus. 21 percent of the population was affected. 23-percent of the land of Belarus was contaminated.”

Thousands are suffering still today. He says, “Anytime there’s a need, there’s a need for hope. And, we know that the author of hope for the world is God through Jesus Christ.

GAiN will continue to work in the region. Zook says funding is needed for relief supplies and other needs. But, they also need volunteers…specialized volunteers. “A specific need for Belarus is a need for some doctor specialists in cardiology and cancer and so forth to be able to come along side some Belarusian doctors.”

If you would like to help, contact GAiN-USA through their information listed below.

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