A pathway can seem rather dark unless we have no lights to help us see along the way. But God uses people and circumstances to be our “lights” as He leads us down His path. He is always guiding us, even in the darkest of times when we may not even feel His presence. Yet, when we look back over the journey traveled, we can see how He was with us in every step of the way.
Let’s thank God for the way He lit the path for Yevgenia and her family as shared in SGA-supported Pastor Vladimir’s report below. And let’s praise Him for also lighting the way for many of the IDPs (internally displaced persons) who find themselves traveling through darkness in these days. From Vladimir . . .
“Dear brothers and sisters,
The warmest greetings to you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ! On behalf of all the IDPs, who have been here in our area, we thank you for the care and for the support! We are grateful to you for the wonderful project of compassion through which we could reach people for Christ. Praise God!
I would like to share one story told by one lady name Yevgenia . . .
I was born and raised in an Orthodox family in Kryvyi Rih. I have heard about God since childhood but have not known Him. Easter was the only day when I went to church. And I went there to bless Easter basket and light the candles. There was the time when I considered myself to be an atheist, because I could not understand why there was so much evil and sorrow in the world, and God did not react in any way. Then I did not see that He had always been nearby. Years later, I realized that if it weren’t for His protection and care, I don’t know where I would be today.
In the last few years, I started looking for something. I read books about the soul, about the supreme intelligence that rules the world. During that time, a lot of things changed inside me. I forgave old resentments, became calmer, and focused on myself. I stopped being interested in other people’s affairs, gossip, and condemnation. Now I understand that this was the preparatory work of the Holy Spirit in my heart, because in that state I was not ready to meet with Him.
The war became the main evidence for me that my life does not belong to me. On March 4, when we decided to leave Kryvyi Rih for Boryslav, where we wanted to join my husband’s mother’s friend, we were told to pay 40,000 UAH for four adults and three little children. We couldn’t pay it. Then my husband put everything into God’s hands. At a certain moment in his life my husband stumbled and fell, but the war awakened him. From that moment, miracles have taken place in our lives.
It took us 10 minutes to make a decision to try travelling by an evacuation train. There were hundreds of people on the platform, who began to push and fight as soon as our train arrived. And I had a three-week-old son in my arms, my husband had a four-year-old daughter, our mother with sore legs was with us, and another woman with a two-year-old girl was standing with us. We were almost the last to get on the platform. A carriage stopped in front of us, but the doors did not open, so the crowd ran to other cars, but we just kept standing and waiting. And suddenly the door opened right in front of us. We got into a crowded carriage, where everything was already occupied, but people moved a little, put away their belongings and we got two upper berths and two lower seats. There were 20 people, two dogs and a guinea pig in the second-class carriage.
When we ran out of water after about 15 hours of travel, at the next stop volunteers got on the train carrying water, food, diapers, and wet wipes. The travel was very exhausting due to constant stops, darkness in the train, lack of air in the car after 20 hours of travel, but our children had been quiet during those hours, and it was a real miracle.
When, finally, a family of immigrants from the Kyiv region picked us up at the train station to take us to Boryslav, we saw God’s mercy again. The driver forgot his passport at home, and we had to go through a lot of roadblocks, and at each one they demanded documents and questioned us, but they let us through. We did not know exactly where we were going, where we would spend the night, because there were a lot of refugees and there was no vacant accommodation. A husband’s mother’s friend encouraged us to come, and then we would come up with something. We were hoping for beds in a church or a dormitory. And when we arrived at our destination, it became another testimony of God’s love even to those who had not come to Him in repentance yet, namely me. People who did not know us at all let us into their home. And there was a baby cot for the younger one, and toys for the older one, and beds for everyone. Could we believe that it was an ordinary coincidence?
Then I had a conversation with a woman who asked me if I had ever read the New Testament. I read the Bible at the university when I studied Ancient Literature, but I realized that she meant a different way of reading. Our family started going to church on Sundays with our hostess. We asked the pastor Volodia to read a prayer of blessing on the children. Meanwhile, I listened to sermons, read the Word of God, and had the example of real, sincere Christians before my eyes. From the first days when we entered the First Baptist Church in Boryslav, we were surrounded with attention and love. God acted and acts through people, taking care of the smallest need of our family.
Later I began to ask my husband more about the questions that worried me, read about repentance and what it meant. I repented at home, but on April 3 I repented in front of the church. From that day on, anxiety and fear left me. Although we traveled 1,000 km from the Nuclear Power Plant and the Kherson region, which had been captured, the explosions I heard on February 24 kept me awake for a long time. But when I felt that all that did not matter to me, God’s peace filled my heart. Sometime later, I decided to get baptized and become a member of the Lord’s church. Now I know that God has always been with me, and today through His children on earth, He cares for me. Praise God!”