Editor’s Note: The images below were provided by an SGA-supported church in Tajikistan
Thanks to friends like you, churches and pastors like Vladimir are able to continually minister to survivors of conflict in Ukraine and surrounding areas. Vladimir sees the conflict of war up close in Tajikistan. As the senior pastor of a church there, in his most recent report he describes visiting villages and regions and seeing the horrific aftermath of war. His report is difficult to read, but Vladimir doesn’t shy away from the suffering. Instead, he listens to people, meets their physical needs, and shares the hope of the Gospel . . . just like Christ.
Peace to you!
The Isfara region has faced a tragedy, a tragedy that claimed many lives, a tragedy that ruined the health of innocent civilians of our country. The war has damaged many houses of the residents of the Isfara region and administrative buildings, leading to many having become homeless and forced to flee for safety in search of shelter. Most of them have been left without a livelihood and are in dire need of food, hygiene items and clothing.
Our church could not pass by and not help those in need. The Lord, through His children, has provided for this cause to help and we were able to provide food gifts for 30 families affected by the conflict.
Among those survivors were families that we knew personally, moreover, we decided to contact the local authorities and they provided us a list of families affected by the conflict. During our trips, one church showed in word and in deed compassion and empathy towards the townsfolk and our readiness to extend a helping hand.
In Isfara, we visited families who were forced to leave their homes, fleeing in panic in the midst of shelling and explosions. Many of them have lost their homes and now found shelter at their relatives’ homes. Some, in fear for their lives and the lives of their family, decided not to return to their home places, fearing a new conflict to begin or more shelling to continue.
While communicating with the survivors, we found out that some of them lost their loved ones in this conflict, or some of their family members were injured. As we provided people material help, we shared them about the love of Christ, Who knows their needs and takes care of them. People thanked us for care and food, as many of them had no means of subsistence and were in dire need of food.
Some of the families decided not to leave their homes in the area of conflict, so we decided to reach them, encourage them and provide food. When we arrived in a village, we saw the consequences of the conflict with our own eyes: blood on the road and the fences, damaged military and civilian machinery… The villagers were still frightened.
We were able to have a conversation with a resident of this village, named Abduvasit. We knew him personally, as we had previously rented his truck, when we renovated a building of the church. He was standing next to his truck, which looked more like a pile of metal scrap, after it had been hit twice. In fact, during the conflict, Abduvosit and his brother were taking the wounded to the hospital. While loading the wounded into the cargo area, the truck was hit by a drone. Five died on the spot; Abduvasit’s brother was thrown back by the blast and he injured his hand. Abduvasit and his brother have been left without a livelihood, because this truck was his only source of income. We provided him with food package and he was very grateful to the church for the help.
On our way back home, we saw bloodstains and damage on the fence of one of the local households. The head of the family, a 50-year-old man, had been killed there. His wife and two of his sons were mourning their father in the house and we decided to talk to them and help with food. We talked with the oldest son; he was heartbroken and could not fully realize that his father was gone. The father died at the fence of the house, in the eyes of the whole family.
Then we visited families in several settlements who were affected by the conflict. One family showed hospitality and invited us for a tea. They returned home just a few days ago. On the day when the conflict broke out, the family was busy around the house, while one of the shells hit the neighbors’ house and they, in a panic, have immediately left for another town. The family has a little one who was so frightened they could not stop crying, so they went to see the doctor when they arrived to a new place. The family lived with their relatives and for a long time hesitated whether they should return home, fearing for their lives. We provided them with food aid. They were grateful and delighted to get help, because during the conflict, as they stayed in another town, they spent all they had.
All the families that we visited were grateful for the help provided to them and they personally felt the love of Christ towards themselves.
Many of them heard the Gospel for the first time and we will definitely visit them again to continue sharing the Good News with them!
We are heartily thankful to everyone who prayerfully and financially participated in providing food assistance to the survivors!
May God richly bless each of you!
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