Ukraine (MNN/RMI) — In Ukraine, it’s rare to see a child smile anymore.
More than 1.5 million people were forced to flee their homes when the conflict broke out, and according to Mission Eurasia, one third of these refugees were children.
But large portions of Ukrainians still remain in the East, where hearing a gunfire is nothing new, and going without food is a daily problem. Often times, families are trapped in the East due to lack of money or mobility.
While hope for a better future used to burn bright in adults, it’s now flickering. For some, that hope has gone out completely.
It’s similar for children. They used to be able to run freely, play, and go to school, but a lot has changed since the conflict broke out.
Instead, kids are the ones suffering the most. They’ve experienced loss of relatives and friends, been trapped inside their homes, and don’t understand why a war rages in their backyard.
A lot has been expected of them as well. Recent reports indicate the government is recruiting kids to train them how to fight. Children as young as 6 have been spotted with wooden training guns.
But Mission Eurasia is determined to keep children’s hope and faith burning bright.
Over the summer, the ministries’ School Without Walls (SWW) students held Bible camps for at least 10,200 children, in 13 countries of Eurasia, including areas of Ukraine that are affected by war.
Leaders were able to share and talk with kids, restoring hope and guiding them toward the path of healing. They’re also handing out “The Greatest Stories of Hope” gospel booklets, which are truly making a difference.
Little Nastya received one of the booklets and told Mission Eurasia:
“Before, when I heard gunfire and I was scared, I would take my big doll and either hide under my bed or in the cellar. We would stay there a few hours until everything was quiet again. At camp, Aunt Tanya (one of Mission Eurasia’s SWW students) gave me a small book called “’he Greatest Stories of Hope’ that my mom reads to me when I am scared and I can’t fall asleep. Aunt Tanya also told me about God and taught me to pray. I didn’t know how to pray before, and that’s why I was so scared. Now I am not as afraid, because I know that God protects me and sends an angel to be with me when I am scared. Now when we sit in our cellar, I know that Jesus is with us and protects us.”
Mission Eurasia leaders are going to the frontline each week to bring food,and Scripture. Julia shares with Mission Eurasia how incredible it was to receive these “gifts.”
“I love to listen when my grandmother reads me stories from the Bible, especially when there are pretty pictures, too! I like hearing how Jesus, the Son of God, came to help people. Today, people came and gave me a book about God with pictures called ‘The Greatest Stories of Hope’ and food, too! My grandmother was so happy, she cried! Now we will have something to eat and to read. I am so happy!”
The United Nations recently reported 7,962 people–many of them civilians–have been killed in the conflict.
But, God is working in the war-torn country. According to BBC, fighting is currently at its lowest level since the conflict started.
Pray for families and children who have lost loved ones or been injured. Pray that children’s hope will grow and will help parents and relatives to believe there’s a better future. Also pray that peace will continue and the fighting will end.