Last night we returned from our trip to western Ukraine to help the people who are still recovering from the floods that devastated that region. (You can see pictures of the floods and read about it by checking out Olya's blog. She's the one who was on the phone making all the contacts and finding out exactly how we could help.) We were blessed to be able to serve in any way we could even if it was just to talk to someone and tell them that God loves them so much that He sent His only Son, Jesus, to die for them on the Cross. Dominic and I made the trip down to the Chernivtsi Oblast near the Romanian and Moldovan border, along with nine other people from the Chernihiv (Chernigov) church, early Thursday morning. (Interestingly, most of the people we met were ethnically Romanian although Ukrainian citizens. Their preferred language was Romanian. We learned that the region we were in had actually been part of Romania before WW II.)
What we saw was heartbreaking, but yet encouraging when we would hear that people were placing their Hope in Christ to bring them through their present trials. We met several people as we handed out aide who had literally lost everything that they owned in this world and yet would decline extra food and supplies telling us to give it to someone who was in greater need. There is so much to tell about this trip that I can't do it in just one post. I'll have to share this experience with several posts and links to the four other people on the trip who will be blogging about it as well. I can honestly say that it made our Joy complete to spend ourselves in service to our brothers and sisters in western Ukraine. No one on the trip felt that it was ever a sacrifice, but rather our blessing to see Christ glorified in tragedy and suffering and to be able to witness the Sovereignty of God even in disaster.
With most of the older homes built from mud bricks, the floods reduced them to piles of mud and timbers
Most if not all of the furniture and appliances in homes were water logged and ruined
The team putting together food, water, and clothing to give out in the village (from left to right: Marina, Olya, Valya, Dominic, Conor, Jake, Mira, and Andriy with Vlada and Anya in the background)
All sources of drinking water are polluted and travel is difficult for the elderly, so it is vital that someone takes them food and water
As I get more time to sort through all the pictures I'll do my best to recount all that we saw and experienced in future posts. My hope is that, along with the others who will post blogs about our experience, we will encourage people to spend their lives for Christ finding their pleasure in Him.
Dominic giving a bag of food and water to a woman from the village