Ukraine (MNN) — It’s being called Ukraine’s Forgotten War. Since February’s Russia/Ukraine ceasefire, the frontlines have been largely quiet, despite the sporadic skirmishes inside the war zone. Those skirmishes continue to see victims injured and killed. The Moscow Times reports daily casualties there. As recently as Saturday, shells hit central Donetsk for the first time since the truce was signed. One civilian was killed.
That violence also means more refugees, or internally displaced people (IDP). Reports indicate there are more than one million IDPs, many of whom are dispersed throughout the country, including cities like Zaporozhe–a large city just 200 kilometers outside of the war zone.
Paul Tokarchuk with Mission Eurasia tells us from Zaporozhe, Ukraine, “Zaporozhe is the closest city to the war zone, and there are up to 50,000 internally displaced people in the city of Zaporozhe [alone].”
Despite the current ceasefire, he says, “Little by little [Ukraine is] recruiting new soldiers. It looks like up to 45 or 50 [years old].”
Tokarchuk says the recruiting isn’t being well received. “People are just trying to avoid it. They are really afraid to send out men to the war zone because it’s obvious thousands have already died.”
How are the evangelical Christians responding? Tokarchuk says, “The evangelical Protestant churches are very active, doing ministry, helping refugees to feed and get some clothes for new refugees who came. So, the church is doing very well. Many are coming to Christ. The church is growing.”
As a result of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine that began in late 2013, Mission Eurasia established the “I Care” Refugee Assistance Program to care for more than one million refugees who have been displaced by the crisis.
Through “I Care,” Mission Eurasia provides urgently-needed relief aid in the form of food packs, warm clothing, and other essential items. In partnership with local churches in Ukraine, Mission Eurasia has established the Homes for the Homeless project that quickly builds warm, pre-fab houses for homeless families, and provides jobs for local refugees.
Also, through “I Care,” Mission Eurasia is providing counseling materials and training seminars for local pastors working with the refugee population.
Tokarchuk says, “As a [Mission Eurasia] leader, I need to be part of the reconciliation process. I need to be part of God’s Words of Hope proclamation. That is my credo, and I’m doing that at every place, especially [here in Ukraine].”
Support Mission Eurasia’s “I Care” program by clicking here.