Editor’s Note: The images and testimony below were provided by an SGA-supported church in Poland.
The following interview was provided by an SGA-supported church in Poland which has provided physical and spiritual support to this Ukrainian family who have fled their country during the war . . .
Roman, 29, Alyona, his wife, 29, their son Vitaly, 7, and the twins Anya and Daniel, 10 months old
In [their hometown in Ukraine], the family attended the Baptist church. Roman was actively engaged in the church service: library ministry, preaching, and church fellowship after the worship services.
The war broke into the life of their family unexpectedly. At that time, they were not at home, visiting Roman’s mother in another district. They heard the news that military actions took place some 12 to 20 miles away from them. And early in the morning on March 2, they heard the Ukrainian artillery hitting the [opposition’s] troops. They hid and prayed in the corridor of their house, as there were three load-bearing walls.
Roman and Alyona recall: “From our backyard, we could see the street, and we saw with our own eyes the columns of [the opposition’s] military going non-stop for three hours in a row, only some feet from us. We heard fighting on the streets of the town. Later, from 8 p.m. till 12:00 a.m., the second column of their vehicles was going in. The [opposition] fired flares all the time around the town, trying to find the location of the Ukrainian area defense.
“Later that day, March 2, [our town] electricity was cut as well as mobile communications. During the next two weeks, we were at home in a complete information vacuum. We knew nothing about what was happening in the town and in the rest of Ukraine. We didn’t know anything about our friends and acquaintances. We lost connection with the whole world.
“On March 2, the [opposition] started plundering the town. They took away everything that came across their way. Moreover, they robbed not only grocery stores, but also shops with clothes, automobile spare parts, and household goods. After those marauders nothing has left in the stores!”
Roman says that later he was able to get from his mother’s to his home to get some diapers, clothes, food and formula for kids that they procured before the war. The occupiers forced the local civilians to wear white armbands. Those who did not have them were shot without warning.
And on March 3, everyone woke up from three powerful explosions. Since then and on, the explosions continued every day. There were massive shellings in the town.
Alyona says, “God showed us at that time that our hope rested only in Him! Because all the authorities left the town, there were no police, and no Ukrainian law-enforcement agencies left in the town”
Roman confessed, “Honestly speaking, it was not easy to believe, while feeling sorrowful and horrified. But what gave me strength to believe was my understanding that God is a sovereign King and that He controls everything. I recalled this verse from the Bible: “When a trumpet sounds in a city, do not the people tremble? When disaster comes to a city, has not the Lord caused it?” (Amos 3:6). We understood then, and now we believe that if God allowed such a sorrow, then He would help to overcome it.”
Roman and Alyona said that they continued to worship the Lord with other believers even in such circumstances. Not far from them, lived four Christian families. There was no mobile communication with them. Therefore, whenever possible, Roman walked around their houses and told them that at 3 o’clock they would have a prayer meeting, time for fellowship and encouragement. Since the pastor of the church left the town, they decided to hold home services together to support each other.
At one of such prayer meetings, all five families decided to leave their temporarily occupied [town in Ukraine] together.
On March 12, they evacuated in eight cars. Some unbelieving families also joined them along the way. Only within [their] town, they had to pass seven Russian checkpoints to check the papers. Then they drove to [another town] through mined part of the highway in a “zig-zag” movements, in order not to explode. It took them to travel four hours of a distance that is normally covered in 50 minutes. They prayed all the way. God Himself led their column with His own hand!
In [another] town, they were met by the Ukraine Armed Forces. Roman says that they were so happy to see the Ukrainian military after living under the [opposition’s] occupation that they were hugging them as if they were their family.
After that, the family finally got a mobile connection and received access to the updated information. They were thinking about heading next and decided to go to a place where they had a biblical church. They were thinking about [a city in Poland]. Then they found a free housing at a Polish family in [another Polish town]. Later God provided them to join the Baptist church community pastored by Krzysztof, which they attended together with their children, and decided to stay with it. They learn to worship God in Polish with their brothers and sisters in Christ. In [this Polish town], they will be able to have a rented housing just for their family.
Roma and Alyona say that God takes care of them, indeed. He provides them with everything they need: clothes, diapers, food. “It was true for our time Ukraine and in Poland. He is faithful! He doesn’t change!”
Roma emphasizes that it is their faith in the sovereign God, and in His grace that gives them the strength to live even during the war!
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