Exactly what would you do, if your community was on fire and destroyed from an invasion? What would you do if the young people were not there to help you as an older person? What about your grandmother or grandfather living some distance from you whose home is also in the middle of a war? What about your lovely pets? If you had no food, would you turn them out because there was nothing to feed them? Terrible questions to consider. Now, consider some of these pictures about the people of Ukraine, who had their own country separated from Russia after the collapse of the former Soviet Union:
Having spent time teaching in Donetsk, Ukraine, I am regularly updated with the REAL story of what is happening to the people who are enduring the Russian separatists and living with what continues to go on there
So many elderly, sick and homeless have so much pain. Even the college where I taught has been taken over by the soldiers. This was a lovely campus….thriving and vibrant. Over the years, the curriculum had been made relevant to the people. Oxford University in England, had some influence to the development. I was there to teach English to a number of eager students. No longer do college students have a place to learn. Faculty, staff and families no longer have a place to live and work for the good of Ukrainian youth. Even former faculty children’s elementary classrooms has become a place for target practice as some of the Separatists posted on You Tube recently.
Ukrainian Emigrants to the U.S.A: Those of us who had the opportunity to travel in Russia and Eastern Europe, after the cold war was over, believed that things were changing for the better. Some people from Russia and the Ukraine may have seen the handwriting on the wall. Here in the USA, many Ukrainians have immigrated and settled off the Gulf Coast of south Florida. They have built beautiful traditional Russian style churches and they are thriving. Even the public schools in that area look for teacher who may be bi-lingual in the Russian or Ukrainian languages. This Ukrainian community are hard-working people who have brought many skills with them to this country. Many are strong in their Christian faith.
A little history: After the collapse of the old Soviet Union, many Russians around the Moscow area became rich people. There was a dark side to these new ways because the old ways never really went away. This can be confirmed by the “little man” or average person whose businesses were often under the threat of “mafia like tactics”. This type of influence also came over the border into independent Ukraine. Tactics of poisoning, assassination attempts or burning down the businesses of people who may speak out or are seen as the opposition has long been a part of the Russian history. ( A most publicized and controversial example was the 2004 poisoning attempt on Ukraine Presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko )
What does the future hold? Will Russia continue the march to the south and into other countries, like Ukraine, that once were part of the old Soviet empire? Is this the ultimate goal of the Russian Leaders? Either the people of Russia today will see that their own freedoms are at risk and will rise up….or they will succumb to the old ways. The Ukrainians are not the only ones in danger. Even this week, the thousands of people pouring out on the streets of Moscow in protest of the assassination of Boris Nemtsov, may be thinking that they have had enough of war with Ukraine, intimidation and strong-arm tactics as well as assassinations from whatever source.
The war in Ukraine has not only devastated the lives of the Ukrainians, but hundreds of others throughout the world. When Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine,10 Britons 192 Dutch, 28 Australians, 44 Malaysians and 1 U.S. citizen died…including children.
Regardless of all that is going on, the people are suffering…whether in Ukraine or other parts of the world. (We must not forget the religious cleansing of Christians going on in the middle east.) Perhaps the world is mad!
The letter below was sent to me from Ukraine. The names have been removed for the security of the person writing. THIS IS THE REAL STORY of the people left behind and their need for care as well as a way to get away from the fighting. I remember the beautiful, little town of Donetsk. The town square, as it used to be, is no more with men playing chess and artists selling their paintings. Donetsk now has a ruined airport, collapsed buildings and devastated homes.
LETTER FROM FIRST-HAND WITNESS IN UKRAINE:
Greetings. First of all, thank you very much for your prayerful support.Our evacuation mission was blessed and finished successfully. XXXX,his grand-mother and mother are in safe place in our home town, XXXX. The trip was a bit more than 2000 km back and forth, to a town not far from the war zone. Two volunteers agreed to bring [XXXX’S family] to XXXX through XXXX, which was under non-systematic shelling. The Lord kept them all the way and provided so that they were allowed through several block posts. The day before, hundreds of people were [sent] back to Donetsk and other cities by Ukrainian soldiers with no explanation. But the Lord had mercy on this poor family. My father and I came back very impressed and sick from what we saw and heard…Hundreds of thousands… Can you imagine? Hundreds and hundreds of thousands feel that they have no past and no future, because they lost their houses, jobs,belongings, many lost their relatives who were either killed, or died because of hunger or diseases in air-raid shelters… So much pain and suffering… Many dogs were [cast out] by their owners because of a lack of food. They are slowly dying [from] hunger as well–hardly [able to walk] or [stand] on their feet. Some people still try to share their food with them…After we returned from XXXX [Region], I could not concentrate on my work for two days… I felt awful and sick that I cannot help all these many people. And that so many people feel indifferent in Ukraine towards refugees… Yes, I know all these theological dogmas that we should be driven by calling, and not by the needs of people…But when you look in the eyes of dozens of people, which reflect hopelessness and despair, you feel sick… you get sick… because you [can only] take one family and leave… With the help of some of you this mission became possible. This family is now safe. However it will take months before they recover physically, emotionally, spiritually. They react very nervously [at] every loud sound, which reminds them of shelling. I witnessed this yesterday and today when XXXX and I came to visit them and brought them some food. But this is just one family. One of hundreds of thousands… And at such moments I realize deeper and deeper the consequences of what had happened in the Garden of Eden – the consequence of the right to define yourself–the essence of what is good and what is evil for you personally and [for] your neighbor….
1) Pray for peace and an end to the fighting.
2) Remember all those left behind and those traumatized by warfare.
3) Pray for all Ukrainians who bring aid (food, medicine, financial help) to
people suffering in the war zone.
4) Pray that people will be open because of this crisis to seek God in their