Tensions relaxing in East Ukraine, conditions grim for refugees

Photo courtesy of Wade Kusack of Mission Eurasia.

(Photo courtesy of Wade Kusack of Mission Eurasia)

Ukraine (MNN) — One room, 50 people. A bunk bed as a family’s “home.” This is an example of a refugee camp in Ukraine as described by Wade Kusack of Mission Eurasia (formerly Russian Ministries).

In East Ukraine, there have been several reports of Russian troops moving out of conflict zones. CNN speculates that tensions are relaxing between Russia and Ukraine. Despite this news, conditions for refugees continue to look grim.

As winter approaches, many are wondering how refugees will survive brutal temperatures. In the camp mentioned above, there are no heaters in the building. The amount of people crammed into a small space means if one person gets sick, everyone else does, too. Sleeping is hard when small children cry during the night.

Image courtesy of Wade Kusack of Mission Eurasia.

(Image courtesy of Wade Kusack of Mission Eurasia)

In another area, Sergey Rakhuba of Mission Eurasia reports: “We’re in the town of Slavyansk in Eastern Ukraine, and we’re in one of those temporarily-organized places where refugees or internally displaced people from all the regions where the war is taking place, where Ukrainian forces fight with the pro-Russian terrorists here, are trying to survive with their families.”

This city received heavy damage from being under siege for about three months. While many churches have been burned and many hospitals bombed, Mission Eurasia has seen the church step up and lead Slavyansk toward healing.

Image courtesy of Mission Eurasia

(Image courtesy of Mission Eurasia)

In a video report from Slavyansk, a group of young refugees interact behind Rakhuba. He says, “And you see those kids in the background? They’re here for a few weeks, but the winter is coming. And we see how enormous [is] the need of warm clothing and shelter and food and medicine.”

Early on, Mission Eurasia reacted to this need by forming the “I Care” program. This was a response to a set of standards defined by a group of pastors and mission leaders who met earlier this year. Mission Eurasia says it was conclusive that:

  • Christians should not have a detached, uncaring attitude toward war, because God calls His people to engage in their communities to promote healing and forgiveness.
  • Christians must serve and defend the suffering and dying–those who are victims of the conflict.
  • Christians must pursue and encourage reconciliation, reconstruction, and forgiveness so that God’s love and power is proclaimed, even in times of tragedy.

Rakhuba explains this program seeks to meet the many-faceted needs of the refugees: “With our I Care program, we’re trying to provide, first of all, food for these families, then we provide counseling, encouragement. We provide training for pastors.”

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And if you already have come alongside Mission Eurasia, they are thankful for your help. Rakhuba says, “We’re so grateful when you continue supporting Mission Eurasia that supports local churches to provide all that these families need here. Thank you all, and God bless you all.”