1. Zaporozhye, Ukraine, is cold. The last two days have been cold, cloudy and damp with a biting cold wind blowing. I am writing this post at the end of several long days … there is just not enough hours in the day or energy in the body. I recently viewed photos drawn by children and taped on a wall in one of the patriot battalion posts. The drawings aptly present war’s sorrows through the eyes of a child. These drawings are used by counselors to help the children process their emotions and come through the horrors they have endured. More than two million have been displaced by Russian aggression. We have delivered dry food mixes, clothing, personal hygiene supplies and bedding (mattresses and linens) to the families living in many locations. Families have arrived from the eastern sections of Ukraine with very little in their possession. Everything they had worked a lifetime for was suddenly gone and they were able to flee with only what could be hurriedly placed into a plastic shopping bag. Our efforts have collected clothing, winter coats, shoes, hygiene products, school supplies, bed linens and basic living essentials. We have shipped these into Ukraine to trusted non-governmental organizations who then distributed to any in need.
3. Nothing but concrete is seen. Windows are broken. There are no toilets. There are no sinks. There is nothing but a cold, bare structure. No furniture. No pictures on the walls. No ceiling lights. Nothing but cold concrete. The harshness of the structure is eclipsed by the conditions under which most live in this location. There is no privacy. Humiliation is overpowering. Helplessness is weighing on all present. The graphic presentations of Hitler’s death camps and Stalin’s gulags must have been comparable to the living conditions. When I looked at this location, there was an immediate contrast brought to my mind about the “here” and the “there.” But the difference in this location is that the people are here by choice. They fled here to escape there. Here they have freedom and life, there they had horrors of humanity’s worst evils. Here the situation appears intolerable, but there the situation was worse than intolerable. Here is hope because of the compassion of others, but there was no hope as compassion was nonexistent. The shower is staged under a stairway and its water supply is rigged in an unbelievable manner; the cook stove is wood fired and outside; the seating for eating is
4. upon the roughest cut planks I have ever seen and some have plastic to hinder injury from splinters; the sleeping is arranged on the floor with pieces of wood to give some space from the concrete (some have been fortunate enough to receive a metal frame upon which to place their mattresses); the wash room is a trough on the outside with nine spigots to gravity-feed water to the wash station. The delivery of the relief items that many of you have sent is made by troops in their off-time as well as by a host of our partners in the effort. I was overwhelmed with words of gratitude and tears from hearts that cannot believe why so many of you would care for people so far away and whose lives have been destroyed. Over and over the question was asked, “Why do you send us help?” Over and over the response was “Because God loves you.” The most impressive and humbling point in all of this interaction is the tremendous gratitude over the smallest of items.
6. Ukrainians — potatoes, cabbages, carrots, beets, etc. After this visit, I am reminded of how critical our shipments are, how valuable those “Family Buckets” are and how significant are the most insignificant things in life when there is nothing. Please continue praying for our efforts. There are so many actions that are ongoing in our efforts and often discouragement seems overwhelming. But our call is not to solve every problem but to remain active in seeking the resolution and in faith that the Almighty God will resolve matters in an absolutely righteous manner! John L. Kachelman Jr. is chairman of the Advisory Committee of Par t ne rSHIP for Impact, and president of Life Resources International, where he has coordinated humanitarian efforts in 23 countries. He is also a lecturer and author of more than 20 books. Donations can be sent to UAOH, 131 Main Str, Suite 250, Hackensack NJ 07601 or PayPal “firstname.lastname@example.org”