Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | April 22, 2022

The Shattered Homes of Ukraine

A little more than 50 days ago, Vladimir Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine. The world watched this invasion unfold in real time while simultaneously expressing its outrage on the social media platforms that have lessened the degrees of separation between us.

The movement of armed forces into areas populated by civilians always ends badly for civilians.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has recorded 5,264 civilian casualties in the country to date. This includes 2,345 killed and 2,919 injured — numbers that sadly include children.

In addition to those killed or injured, more than 7.7 million people are internally displaced in Ukraine and more than 5 million have fled to neighboring countries. That is a staggering 12.7 million people who have been displaced since the beginning of the Russian invasion in late February.

Many, if not most of those displaced, fled with the barest of essentials, leaving behind much that was dear to them and sacred to the memory and history of their respective families.

This brings us to yet another casualty of Russia’s illegal and immoral invasion of Ukraine — the home.

Home is, or should be, a sacred place — a haven in which the next generation is nurtured, a place filled with the comforting bric-a-brac that is meaningful only to us, the setting where our shared family memories fill the rooms like a fragrant perfume.

Daily images of the consequent destruction of homes and neighborhoods in Ukraine are numbing. The weapons of war have demolished more than physical structures, they have erased the context in which so many families did life together along with their neighbors.

The reality of it all is that those who have suffered the terrible loss of family members, neighbors, friends, and their homes will have to move forward with only memories of what once was — the meals and laughter and celebrations and also the items and old photos that were a link to the past and forever lost.

The destruction of so many houses and the displacement of those who once occupied them reminds me of a stanza from a favorite poem by Alfred Joyce Kilmer entitled, “The House With Nobody In It.”

But a house that has done what a house should do,
a house that has sheltered life,
That has put its loving wooden arms around a man and his wife,
A house that has echoed a baby’s laugh and held up his stumbling feet,
Is the saddest sight, when it’s left alone, that ever your eyes could meet.

My heart hurts for Ukrainian families that are displaced through no fault of their own and also for all the houses destroyed or vacated.

I leave for Poland in a few hours, accompanied by my fellow pastors Cesar Perez and Eric Conley, to serve Ukrainian refugees over the coming week. As I prepare to leave, my mind is flooded with thoughts of my time among Syrian refugees, Eritrean children who had fled their homes to find safety in Ethiopia, displaced families living in squalor in Darfur, and other opportunities I have had over the years to move in the direction of people in need in seasons of crisis.

As a Christ-follower, I am inspired by the example of Jesus and grateful to be a part of a church family that is responding to yet another crisis by sending both financial and human resources to help people in need.


  1. Bring it! And by that I mean, bring the Love of Christ to all those you meet along this mission of mercy from the heart of Kingsland Baptist. Praying…

    • Thanks, Ed. Hoping to be a help, encouragement, and blessing to those we serve.

  2. May God bless your trip such that the love and compassion you three will show the Ukrainian people gives them hope in better days ahead and they can rest in the assurance that God loves them!

    • Thanks, DT. We are hoping and praying our presence and service will be an encouragement to those we serve. Grateful for your friendship and prayers.

  3. Our prayers go with you

    • Thanks, Joe. Prayers much appreciated.

  4. God’s speed! Thus is the work of nobel men! Kingdom men, doing what men should do.

    Not waiting on governments or principalities. They show up and face evil head on.

    His Kingdom builders. Moving towards those in need. Encouraging and helping others.

    Prayer much protection and comfort for those God has places in your path. Lives will be touched.

    • Thanks for your kind words of encouragement and for your friendship, James.

  5. Heartbreaking. I have had a difficult time watching the news of the Ukrainian upheaval. Thankful for people like you that are responding with compassion and the hands and feet of Jesus.

    • Thanks for reading and for your kind words. Being on site has given us painful insight on how the lives of ordinary people have been turned upside down. Glad that we can help in some small way.

      • God be with you and your team. Prayers for the Ukrainians.

      • Thanks so much for your prayers.

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