Updated: Nov 29, 2022
Winter, it seems has begun where I live in Canada. I have mentally resisted the snow, ice, and cold. But here it is anyway. Perhaps one of the reasons I am so anxious this winter season is because of my deep concern for those living in the country of Ukraine right now.
Much of Ukraine, being at a similar latitude to us here in Southwestern Ontario, has a winter season. It gets cold outside. They need to heat their homes. But this winter will be unlike any other.
You see the conflict with Russia has resulted in many, many communities being without electricity and without natural gas for heat. I also heard from one of our partners in Western Ukraine, a relatively safe area, that they have no water in most of the town because of the recent bombing the last few days.
I have been concerned for months about how people in Ukraine will survive the cold winter. We always have a winter initiative that helps people in poverty stay warm, but this year there is a much greater urgency. Ukrainians are facing a massive crisis. It is no longer just that some of the population cannot afford heat. It is that there is no heat. Critical infrastructure is being absolutely crushed. This crisis needs our attention today.
I am so grateful for donors who have responded to the crisis in Ukraine throughout this year. It is because of you that we have been able to able to give our partners the funding needed to respond to this urgent issue. Some are creating warming centers in their churches and ministry centers by installing wood-fired boilers. Others are delivering truckloads of firewood to people with wood-burning stoves.
Below is a story we received from Pastor Alexei in Western Ukraine in a town called Kremenets. This town is now home to thousands of internally displaced people from occupied areas of the country. Most have lost their homes, their jobs, and all their belongings.
Generous support from Canadians through MPI supplied the funding for Alexei (and other partners) to purchase alternative fuel for some of the vulnerable people in Kremenets. He has been hard at work ordering and then delivering the wood or peat briquettes to people's homes.
Here is what Alexei shared with me about one of the first families he was able to deliver wood to this past week.
This morning we took a truckload of firewood to another special family of refugees that we met recently. Zhanna and her parents moved to Kremenets from the Donbas region to stay alive.
We met when Zhanna when she and her family first came to our church! Today we are friends. Friends, who help and care for each other.
Since the conflict began with separatists in the Donbas region in 2014, Zhanna and her family have lost their house and all their property twice. Twice they have had to start over!
Here is a short excerpt from Zhanna’s testimony.
Our family has been living in Kremenets for almost 8 months now. In 2014, we were living in the town of Horlivka in the Donetsk region. When the town became occupied with troops, we knew it was no longer safe for us there. There was fighting all around us. So we left our home, our jobs, and all our belongings and we moved to a safer location, in the town of Druzhkovka.
It was very hard to start over again, but we managed by staying together and supporting each other. We worked very hard to recover our lives, and in 2021 we bought a small house hoping to retire there.
But in February 2022, the war began and we were forced to leave our home for the second time. It was devastating. We had lost everything again. We left with only our lives. We left behind our home and all our belongings and moved as far west as we could, to Kremenets.
The war is a great horrific tragedy for every Ukrainian, however, our people are kind and caring, helping each other during this very difficult time. We couldn’t have made it without support and help. We thank everyone who helped us, especially Water of Life Church and Pastor Alexey. You stood with us and didn’t leave us to face the cold winter on our own.
The war in Ukraine has already taken many lives and destroyed people’s futures, but people have not given up! I would like to express special thanks to Faith Woods and the team at MPI Canada!
How tragic that they have lost everything not just once, but twice because of war! Zhanna and her family had lost more than just their material possessions, they had lost all hope. But praise God, together we restored that hope today. Thank you Mission Partners for all your faithful support. Because of your kindness and the caring of Canadian donors, we were able to help this family survive the cold winter that is coming.
We thank God for you all in the MPI family! Alexey Radchuk