The young man shown here is a University grad in Ukraine. He also has cerebral palsy, which makes it difficult for him to talk or move. Nevertheless, his story that you are about to read is true and gives an amazing detail of a man who was kidnapped but continued to risk his life, despite his disabilities, to help others escape the violence in Ukraine. We will call him Sergey and blur his face for security reasons. Below is a partial report of his experiences written by a fellow Ukrainian for a local media outlet:
“Where would I go? I was born here. I love Donetsk; it’s my homeland. I am Ukrainian. No, of course I don’t want Donetsk to become part of Russia! And if it did, I would leave Ukraine. But for now, why would I leave? I want to do something good [while I can].
Once someone asked if anyone could drive a person from Snizhne to Krasnoarmiisk. I came up to them and said: “I want to do it, only I don’t have money for fuel.” I have been driving people for two weeks, now.
In my 35 years of life I couldn’t find a job because of my disability. In the ordinary times I simply didn’t have much to do. But in times of this unfortunate war, it turns out that I am capable of doing something….
Yesterday I was greatly frightened.
I was in Shahtarsk yesterday. I went there to pick up an elderly man. This was when the DNR [Donetsk People’s Republic] bandits captured me. They held me at gun point. Their first question was somewhat stupid: “Are you a Baptist?” Shocked and frightened, I said, “no.”
I asked what did being a Baptist have to do with anything? And they said: “These are our main sworn enemies, they are the agents of America.” They threw me inside my car and drove off with me sitting in the back seat, the two of them were sitting in front. They threatened to take me to the regional administration building.
There was a bus full of children and elderly women moving behind us. There were also criminals on that bus, who were carrying guns. It seemed to me that they [the bandits] were fleeing Shahtarsk and needed a live shield [the children and elderly women].
They were taking elderly women to Donetsk, accompanying them on the bus. And it seemed that they were using it as a way to escape. I was captured, so I couldn’t pick up that elderly man yesterday. Gun pointed to my temple. I told them that I was scared. One of them fired a shot in the air and asked: “How about now, are you scared now?”
The scariest thing was when I arrived in the Pisky village. I had to drive though the fields, because roads are blocked with checkpoints everywhere now; they don’t let you through. I saw elderly women walking. I asked: “Will I get to Pesky this way?” They got in my car and showed me how to get around the mines. And then they said: “Stop here and continue on foot.” I went afoot. I saw mines and trip-wires everywhere.
I found an old woman, 96 years of age; the roof of her house was destroyed. She was sitting in the cellar, knee deep in water. She had been living in that cellar for four days. She was trying to get in touch with me for a week. We walked 3 km on foot toward my car. Missiles were scattered across the whole of Pisky, and there were flare pistols twisted into the ground. The war is going on there.
Only now I know what the expression “ baptized by fire” really means.
They don’t care anymore. When I was taking people out of Snizhne, thirteen people managed to fit inside my car. I couldn’t even fathom it would be possible. There were only eleven of them to begin with, but they told me that there were two more people in Shahtarsk who needed to be picked up. I asked them: “How?”
As I approached Shahtarsk, two elderly men were waiting there. They said that they would be able to fit in. I told them: “Where?! You can’t! It’s impossible.” They started crying as I drove away. I came back for them and they got into the car! I don’t know how.
One of them had a passport with a Lviv registration. (Passports are being checked at every checkpoint.) We were doomed! Somehow he managed to lie down under the women’s legs, and they didn’t find him. I ended up bringing them to Sloviansk. I think that it wasn’t me but someone from above!
Earlier this week, I was transporting a young lady from the regional children’s hospital. She had just given birth to a baby. I was bringing them to Kramatorsk and all the roads were blocked. An old man who was passing by showed us the way and we drove through. Further on, there were mines. She was crying the whole way through, afraid that we would be blown up by a mine.
Somehow, through the fields, we had managed to drive out onto the Konstantynivska route. It took us two hours in order to get out of Donetsk and get onto this route. Yasynuvata (Donetsk Oblast) was blocked; you couldn’t drive through it. When we finally reached Kramatorsk, her dad started hugging me with tears in his eyes. I can’t even imagine, for what? I am only a connector between the steering wheel and the pedals…”
Boyer Writes believes that those who serve as a “Connector” in a desperate situation are angels from God. Continue to pray for the people of Ukraine and this brave young man who has not let his disability keep him from doing what he knows is right when others are in need. We must not forget what the people of Ukraine are going through.
It is also interesting that the enemy of the Ukrainian people made a point to this young man by calling the Christians in the area “Baptists”, which we know as a denomination. While I was in Ukraine, I found that the Christians of Ukraine had opened orphanages and did nothing but help the Ukrainians whose families had often broken apart by alcoholism and the children had no one to care for them. Why they are considered someone to get rid of is hard to understand. Of course, we also do not understand why an aid worker to Syria…who was there to only help the poor and destitute…could be brutally beheaded.
With such events happening around the world, the spotlight on this aggression and violence in Ukraine may fade from the media, which obviously is wanted by the invaders. It must not be allowed to happen. Experiences like this one must be kept alive.