Ukraine (MNN) — The war between Russia and Ukraine drags on, and civilians are caught in the cross-fire.
If you haven’t heard anything about the war in Ukraine recently, it’s not because it’s over. A week ago, Russian-backed fighters attacked Ukrainian forces near the town of Zolote. Under artillery fire, the Ukrainians retreated. Read more here.
The attack came 5 years after the Minsk II agreement was supposed to have ended the conflict, and the artillery weapons used in the skirmish were specifically outlawed by that agreement.
Since Minsk II, nearly 14,000 people have died in combat, 30,000 have been injured, and well over a million have been displaced.
Helping the civilians
Eric Mock from Slavic Gospel Association (SGA) says, “I was just in the war zone, near the Minsk accord line in eastern Ukraine. And the need was profound. We went inside buildings that are in shambles after being shelled by artillery fire, only to find that people actually were still living there.”
SGA’s Operation Winter Warmth was able to provide small heaters, food, and blankets to some of these people. And Mock says he also saw the local church at work in the region.
He shares the story of a girl he met in the war zone named Anna. “Anna is one of the many kids that can hear the artillery fire in the distance, but for them it’s almost become commonplace.”
She showed Mock the small room in her home where she studied and drew her art. “But in the middle of the conflict, the glass window had been shattered near where she studied and she was shivering and cold as she was doing her homework. Through operation winter warmth, we were able to replace a window as well as provide warmth for their home.”
Mock shared another story about a family he met. “The mom is raising four young kids on her own. She was displaced due to the fighting with improper paperwork, and now they’re in an apartment, surviving in the difficulties and doing much better by the aid that has been presented to her.
“I asked her how she was doing. And she told me that she’s doing much better, that they’ve gotten used to hearing the explosions in the distance. But they sound much further in the distance which has allowed a little bit of peace to come to our family. And I asked, because the question often comes from people, ‘Why do you stay?’ And she said, ‘Where else would I go? I have nowhere to go.’”
Pray for the local church
Mock says he heard many stories like this from family after family. “No one is helping them except for the local church. And the local church has no capacity outside of believers here in the US that are willing to step up and help these churches reach their own.”
Support Operation Winter Warmth to help people caught in the war between Russia and Ukraine. And pray that the local churches would continue to help people in the region and boldly proclaim the hope of Christ’s return.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.