Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | June 21, 2022

Return to Ukraine

“It’s just hell there. Everything is engulfed in fire, the shelling doesn’t stop even for an hour.”

These words, spoken by Serhiy Haidai, governor of the Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine, are a sobering reminder of the ongoing reality of Russia’s illegal and immoral invasion of Ukraine. The Russian army continues to leave its destructive signature in villages and towns and cities throughout the eastern part of the country.

Thirteen million Ukrainians in the path of destruction have fled their homes. Many of these have no home to return to. All of them face the challenges of an uncertain future. A few have opted to return to the places they called home to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives.

This war has taken a hard toll on families, especially children. Three months ago life was normal even as the gathering storm clouds of war loomed beyond Ukraine’s eastern border. Families went about their daily routines. Kids went to school, played with their friends, and went to bed at night in the relative security and comfort of their homes.

And then all hell broke loose — and life was no longer normal.

On my visit to Poland, Slovakia, and Ukraine last month, I witnessed what an exodus looks like. Within Ukraine’s borders, internally displaced people have found help at various locations on their westward journey. Churches have set up way stations where the displaced can find a bed and a hot meal and other necessities.

At the border crossings a stream of mostly women and children wait in lines to take their final steps toward safety. Noticeably absent are men — dads who have remained behind to keep the invaders at bay. Once across, refugees make their way to places where they can receive help in taking their next steps toward an uncertain future.

Since the start of the conflict, our friends at Proem Ministries have hosted upwards of 900 refugees at their campground situated on fifteen beautiful wooded acres. It is an absolutely picturesque and peaceful site.

Most recently, the ministry purchased a hotel in a nearby town. Kingsland generously donated toward the purchase of this building. Proem Ministries has repurposed the hotel to become their new Family Crisis Center for the Nations. The hotel rooms are already at capacity with Ukrainian refugees.

This past week Proem hosted a camp for Ukrainian kids. We gladly helped to underwrite the cost of this camp because of its strategic significance. The kids in attendance had the opportunity to enjoy a fun week but also had access to counseling to help them cope with the fears and anxieties brought on by the war.

One mother wrote to Daniel, the director of the camp:

Daniel, I would like to thank those who made the subsidy for our camp experience possible. Camp was an incredibly enriching place, we were able to experience a sense of community and belonging. The friendships we made there are invaluable. Without the help of sponsors in this terrible time of the war we would have missed out on an incredible time. I give you a multitude of thanks. Thank you for the wonderful opportunity for our children.

We also purchased food and medical supplies that we transported from Poland into Ukraine. After a nine-hour drive we arrived at Chervonograd south of Lviv. Our friends were overjoyed to receive the timely help. From there, they will transport various supplies and meds to locations along Ukraine’s eastern border.

After off-loading our supplies, we enjoyed a meal with our friends and some refugees. I had the privilege of speaking at their prayer gathering that evening. The church in this community has met for prayer every night since the start of the war. We were inspired by their faithfulness to pray daily for their own people who are in harms way.

At this point no one knows how much longer this war will last. One thing, however, is certain — the impact of the war on young hearts and minds will last far beyond whatever date will mark the end of the conflict. The painful memories of loved ones killed, homes destroyed, and futures lost will remain.

Sadly, those who fled and those who stayed will all bear the damaging marks of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But, the beneficiaries of the aid given by God’s people will never forget the kindness shown to them in their hour of need. No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.

As the war rages on, may we continue to do what Jesus did best — move in the direction of people in need and make a difference. Pray for the peace of Ukraine.


Responses

  1. Thank you for what you do Mr. Omar.

  2. Omar, Thank you for leading this mission of mercy and thanks to all those willing and able to help you do it.

  3. Omar- My prayers continue for you and your group as you touch many with love and compassion. Please continue to give insight and love to those who need it the most. Please also be careful!

    • Thanks so much for your prayers, Alex. Will be careful indeed.

  4. We keep praying for your ministry always!!! May our God bless you always!!!

    • Thanks you,Carlos. Appreciate your prayers.

  5. Thank you for leading these vital efforts! In these turbulent times it’s wonderful to see Kingdom Men in action.

    His righteousness abounds!


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