Sunday, August 31, 2008

Outreach to Flood Victims in Western Ukraine (Part 1)

Destroyed Home

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.

Destroyed Home
With most of the older homes built from mud bricks, the floods reduced them to piles of mud and timbers

Destroyed Home
Most if not all of the furniture and appliances in homes were water logged and ruined

Putting together food and clothing for flood victims
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)

Putting together food and clothing for flood victims
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.

Handing out food and water to flood victims
Dominic giving a bag of food and water to a woman from the village

A woman receiving food and water with thanks


Olya Velichko said...

hey guys, it`s been great to meet you!! Now you have one more subscriber to your blog :)

Greg and Edna Silva said...

Thanks Olya,
I hope you will be posting something about the trip soon. I'll link to it as soon as you do. There are so many stories to tell and pictures to share. I was totally blessed by the whole experience.