Amid wailing sirens warning of bomb attacks, Liuba decided to leave her home in Odesa, Ukraine and take her four children to safety.
She fled the conflict in her country along with her sister-in-law Natasha, who also has four children, the youngest just two weeks old when they left.
At the time of writing almost 5.9 million Ukrainians have left the country, mostly women, children and elderly, as men under the age of 60 are not allowed to leave. Liuba’s husband stayed behind to continue to work and sustain the needs of the family as well as look after her ageing mother.
Barnabas supporters have been swift in sending money, food, clothing, blankets, nappies, sanitary and hygiene products for displaced Christians from Ukraine such as Liuba and her family, and many other Ukrainians remaining in their homeland.
“Hands open, hearts open”
Our food.gives programme has gathered pace as a steady flow of lorries have left our warehouse in Swindon, UK, with supplies to relieve suffering Christians affected by the Ukraine conflict – both refugees in neighbouring countries and those who remain in Ukraine.
Liuba’s family were among those who received warm bedding, food and clothes at a refugee centre supported by Barnabas Aid in eastern Romania, not far from the Ukraine border. Over several weeks, hundreds of refugees stayed there. She is grateful for the Lord’s provision that she has experienced through Barnabas supporters and our project partners and entrusts her family’s future to Him. “I know that He will protect me and my children all the time through the people,” she affirms.
Liuba, who worked as a Spanish translator in Odesa, has been offered translation work in Spain, but before she moves on she is happy to help serve her fellow Ukrainians at the centre, enjoying the security with her family, away from the turmoil in her country.
One of our project partners in Romania also expressed his joy at being able to serve. “I thank God that we were very close to Ukraine so we can help,” he says, “and we still give them as much help as we can. Hands open and hearts open to help them as much and as best we can.”
More than 200 tonnes of aid for Ukraine Christians
By the beginning of May nine lorries from the UK had arrived in eastern Romania. Each consignment carried up to 15 tonnes of essential aid items, all donated generously by supporters in the UK.
Two 40-foot containers also reached Romania from across the Atlantic Ocean, one from Canada containing dried potatoes and one from the United States containing soup mix. Their contents were being distributed in Ukraine in mid-May. Further shipments are being prepared in both countries.
Our partners have already distributed supplies to Christian communities across Ukraine itself. In total more than 200 tonnes of aid have been sent from Barnabas Aid to the region.
Supporters in New Zealand have brought dry foodstuffs and other practical aid – including first aid kits, hygiene products and nappies – to several food hubs around the country. By the time you read this, God willing, these donations will have been shipped to Ukraine.
Families receive much-needed care in Moldova
Across another of Ukraine’s borders, several of our project partners are active in caring for Christian refugees. One partner in Moldova provided accommodation for 30 mothers and 60 children. The refugees are accommodated in a Christian camp usually occupied by children. Rooms for about 3-6 persons have been allocated within three large blocks.
Thanks to Barnabas supporters’ donations our partner was able to provide medicine and clothes, and cater for refugees’ hygiene needs. In particular, they have been able to buy in much-needed supplies of underwear and nappies. In the house where the refugees stay, they have kitchens where they are brought food for lunch and dinner.
Many new arrivals have experienced considerable stress and exhaustion after making the arduous journey from Ukraine. One young mother, accompanied by her two children, the younger of whom was just two months old, had driven 28 hours to reach sanctuary in Moldova.
Your donations, and your prayers, are making a huge difference to our Ukrainian brothers and sisters, whether forced from their country, internally displaced, or remaining at home amid the ongoing crisis.
One of our partners in Ukraine, as well as expressing thanks for the funds and aid received, added, “I am also grateful for the huge moral and spiritual support given to the internally displaced people during these difficult times. … May the Risen Lord bless you all and bring His peace to the world.”
The conflict in Ukraine has had a devastating impact way beyond the region as the export of wheat, seeds, vegetable oils and fertilisers is being severely disrupted. As food becomes scarce, poor and persecuted Christians suffer more than most. But Barnabas Aid is responding through our food.gives programme that is providing food aid to impoverished Christians around the world.
For more information on how you too can help our hungry brothers and sisters, visit www.food.gives
Ukrainian Denys has been overwhelmed by the generosity of Barnabas Aid supporters in response to the crisis in his homeland.
He, his wife Taryn and son Daniel volunteer at Gracecity Church in Auckland, one of three Barnabas collection hubs in New Zealand for donations of dried foodstuff for Ukraine as part of the food.gives programme.
“People from Barnabas were amazing and the idea of the food box was really good,” he said. “We were handing the empty boxes to the people after the church service and the week after we were collecting full boxes from them.
“The food collected would sustain hundreds if not thousands of people who are living in makeshift accommodations. It will provide hope for the future.”
He added, “It was also amazing to see the smiles on people’s faces who were bringing these boxes back.”
“Often we feel helpless in situations like this, when we are far away and unable to do anything,” said Denys. “Barnabas provided a way for people to help and I am grateful for what they do for Ukraine.”
Project references: 96-1196 (Food and basic needs for Ukraine Christians) PR1555 (Food.Gives)