Deaf refugee escapes from Kharkiv, Ukraine

By August 2, 2022

Ukraine (MNN) — War is chaotic and confusing even when you can access the latest information. Imagine being stuck in a warzone in Ukraine, cut off from communication.

Elena, a Deaf Christian woman from Ukraine, recently shared her story with Julia Bange, a Deaf missionary serving in Romania with DOOR International:

Bombing started along the border, eventually hitting Kharkov, where Elena lived. Her building was hit, blowing out the windows, electricity, running water, and heat. Elena huddled in her apartment with her son whenever they weren’t in the bomb shelter, boarding up the windows to keep the cold out. They lived on crackers, a little drinking water, and whatever food they had left.

One day, Elena decided to go out to get more food. She was stubborn and did not listen to the Lord or her neighbors about staying inside. She went out and saw a man about a short distance away in front of her fall over from being hit in the arm by a bullet! She immediately went back to her apartment building. She asked the Lord to forgive her and apologized for not listening to Him. She then began to pray, asking the Lord what to do next.

Eventually, Elena escaped to Romania with help from Deaf Bridge, one of DOOR’s partners. “Deaf Bridge had a van ready to load up Deaf individuals to escape from Ukraine; it (the van) would fit 10 Deaf individuals,” Bange says.

“Elena was the only one that showed up that day. The other Deaf were too afraid to leave their homes to the van.”

Entering the van was the first of many frightful steps on a perilous journey. “They drove through the dark to the border of Romania; it took 10 hours,” Bange says.

“Deaf Bridge communicated with the driver, guiding them on which routes to take and how to avoid all the barriers Russia had set up on the roads.”

Julia Bange (left) and fellow missionaries pose for a photo with Elena (red shirt).
(Photo courtesy of Julia Bange/DOOR International)

How to help Deaf Ukrainians

Today, Elena is safely sheltering in Greece. For the Deaf Christians who remain in Ukraine, “it’s just a waiting game to see what happens next,” Bange says.

“As we know, [Russia is] planning a big attack on the city of Kharkiv. Many Deaf pastors, their families, and church members are preparing to escape. Deaf Bridge is looking for more funding and resources to help meet the needs of the Deaf Ukrainian believers.”

Send financial support through DOOR International and Deaf Bridge here. A gift of $100 can help 20 people escape the war zone.

Pray the Lord will provide Deaf families with daily essentials and more. “Some don’t have basic resources such as food and water. And, if their buildings – like Elena’s building – were hit by a bomb, they’re not going to have any water or any heat,” Bange describes as an example.

“Pray for the Lord to give them peace because many experienced severe trauma.”



Header image shows Elena’s apartment building after a Russian bombing. (Photo courtesy of Julia Bange/DOOR International)

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