Lydia serves as one of SGA’s Compassion Ministry coordinators in Ukraine. She was recently able to travel to one of the aid distribution locations to meet incoming food aid cargo. Below, Lydia speaks from her heart of what she saw and experienced. Please continue to pray for the people of Ukraine, who are trying to regain some kind of normalcy after having lost so much, and even now still face the possibility of more destruction. Pray and join us as we . . . weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15). And may many continue to be reconciled to God even within the destructiveness of war:
Blessed is life when it is under the Lord’s protection! I realize this all the time when I see and hear terrible news from different dangerous places in our country. This time I had the opportunity to visit Chernihiv, a city that was under siege for 40 days at the beginning of the war and is now slowly recovering and coming to life. It was wonderful to meet the cargo from Chelm, Poland, to talk to the team and volunteers who helped unload the cargo. I also had the opportunity to meet with Volodymyr, the regional pastor, and talk to him. I rode through some of the streets of Chernihiv, where the consequences of the shelling were clearly visible. Most of the houses are still unrepaired, and some houses or buildings are not repairable at all. Even so, many people have already returned to their homes in Chernihiv, although there is a great lack of jobs for many people in the city.
One of the churches in Chernihiv holds two services every Thursday for all those in need, for those who fled away from the border with Russia. These people are always invited to the meetings, where the Word of God is read and food packages are provided. You can see the grief in the eyes of these people who will never forget the horrors of those days. So much of what people valued and had in the past has now turned into ruins and a pile of stones. I cannot feel what they felt and experienced. But my heart weeps and sympathizes with them!
The following information was provided by Pastor Volodymyr, who says it is difficult to tell the exact number who have fled for the whole region. Those Christians who fled during the war are now returning to their homes.Volodymyr and his team travel to the villages that are close to the border and where people have remained, and witness to them on the streets, distributing food aid and New Testaments. A humanitarian center was opened in the downtown area of Chernihiv, in a rented building. This is how people who needed help during the war received aid during the shelling. There is a lot of work and ministry, and it is constantly growing. The number of people in need is not decreasing, but increasing. Another great challenge is that the houses of some Christians and some churches have been destroyed. For example, the Central Church in Chernihiv was partially destroyed when a shell hit the courtyard of the church. The Second Baptist church was also damaged—three shells hit it: the first and second floors were destroyed.
Pastor Volodymyr adds, “People certainly have become more open and vulnerable during the war. There are those who repented during the war and are preparing for baptism. When we ask them what motivated them to turn to the Lord in repentance, many of them respond with one word—war! During the war, they heard about the Lord, they received the necessary food aid, and many hearts were touched by God. Therefore, we understand that for many people, this war brought reconciliation with God, and this is the most important thing for us, His servants. I am grateful once again to all of you and sponsors for your help! May the Lord be glorified in everything!”