Shattered Lives Restored by Christ in Ukraine
Nov 17, 2016 1717
Lilia’s world was turned upside down when conflict struck Ukraine in 2014, but despite what she lost she found Jesus and a way to help others who have suffered in a similar way. This is her story, as told to GNU:
We left Donetsk in July 2014. There were tanks everywhere on the streets. Missiles exploded in the house next door. My friend from work was a victim of bombing, her body filled with shrapnel. Pro-Russian fighters had occupied the city. People with guns were everywhere. They killed a shop assistant I knew, in a small shop near our house.
So we fled to Poltava, where we had relatives, and we planned to stay with them for a month, thinking the conflict would be finished by September. However, time passed and the military conflict went on. We were out of money and began seeking help. It was then we found a church with a handshake food program supported by GNU, which gave foods and clothes to refugees.
At this time I was invited to attend a Christian small group and I accepted the invitation. A month later, I was baptized. Everything was new – a new life, a new city and a new hope only in God. I was so happy to be a child of God!
After my baptism, I was confident that God would not abandon me in my time of trouble. I experienced situations where regardless of how little I had, I always had at least a piece of bread and what was most necessary.
I started meeting weekly with other believers and regularly studying the Bible. I made more friends. We saw many helpless people and we found way to help those in the most difficult circumstances, even though we had so little ourselves.
The Gospel meetings presented by GNU’s Dr Eliezer Gonzalez and Dr Philip Rodionoff in Poltava were very important. They affirmed my faith. I had faith but no knowledge, but in these meetings they showed the connections between science and faith, and now I had a way of explaining my faith.
There was always a friendly atmosphere at these meetings. The singing was beautiful. Those were days of rest, just like at home.
At a social gathering, I met others who, because of the war, had experienced similar misfortune to myself, and we became close friends. We decided that we had to do even more to help other people. We looked for an opportunity to be useful and we organized a social group called “Poltava Self Help” for the purpose of helping refugees like us.
Different charitable organizations started helping us, and the church, supported by GNU, provided a facility for us. At present, each month we receive enough clothes and food for 200 families. We also offer free Art and English classes for children and are eager to organize a women’s club, and excursions.
I do not think we will return home to Donetsk, but in God I can accept any situation. Because of him, I know how to live, how to survive. I am living a wonderful experience. I know that if God tells me to go somewhere, nothing can stop me.
– Edited by Ella Rodionoff from the English translation of Lilia’s original story.