This is our country: our home

"This is our country, our home. And even if it's destroyed now, even if we have to rebuild it, but it's our home. Our grandparents also rebuilt the country after the war and we, with God's help, will do it."

These are the words of Ukrainian refugees in the village of Chemeshen when Allies leaders and volunteers delivered supplies and support. This is a common story among Ukrainians in regions that have been shelled or invaded by Russian troops. Allies has been established in Ukraine for more than 10 years, so we’ve been able to hear first-hand accounts from our contacts there. One of the first things we were able to provide after the war began was a car for area leaders in Priluki to help get orphans and other disadvantaged families to bomb shelters.

Reports we’ve received from Allies area leaders in Moldova paints a surreal picture reminiscent of the days of World War II. People who enter these refugee centers, like all the others, stay mostly for a few days and then continue on to Romania, Poland, and Germany. They have visited refugee centers daily, taking food and medicine, and praying with families. Some centers have as many as 400 to 600 refugees.

One area leader wrote:
"Today after church we went to the refugee camp in the village of Chemeshen to deliver food. We talked to several families, all of them from Odessa and nearby villages. Many of them have small children. One family has two little girls who are twins and are only six months old. All of these people spoke in tears about the horror they had gone through, even though they left at the very beginning of the war.

According to them, while they were driving up to the border, sitting in a 10-kilometer traffic jam, and then ending up in a refugee camp, they were on adrenaline and held tight. And today, on the fourth day of the start of the war, they felt devastated for the first time and began to realize the tragedy and horror of what was happening. Still, they try not to lose hope. One young family said they hoped to return home to Odessa as soon as possible. We pray, they cry, then they hug us, thank us, and cry again. And then we go home, praying and crying on the way.”

Fear. Devastation. This is what our brothers and sisters in Ukraine have been experiencing since Russia decided to invade their cities, their neighborhoods, their backyards. Ukrainians are fleeing for their lives. Many families have parted with their fathers and brothers who have been called to fight, wondering if they will ever see them again.

Dr. Tatiana Baeva, Allies director of international operations, has expressed her deepest condolences for the situation – not only because of the tension happening across Eastern Europe, but also because her father is Russian and her mother is Ukrainian. "It breaks my heart to see what is happening between the countries,” she said. “We’re just trying to save lives at this point, literally.”

Despite the hopelessness and fear, there are beacons of hope within Ukraine – Allies leaders and volunteers are selflessly and tirelessly working to rescue and evacuate orphans, bring food and supplies to refugees in need, and provide hope for those who have experienced the horrors of war. Some of our area leaders and volunteers are still in Ukraine, visiting orphanages in the middle of fighting going on around them.

We are humbled and greatly encouraged by the outpouring of support from our current supporters, churches, and even people who we have never met. Thanks to our strategic network, we are able to take those funds and immediately disperse them to those in need in Ukraine. We are already receiving stories, messages, and pictures of the funds at work.

Thanks to this speedy generosity, refugees in Ukraine are able to eat a meal today, have a place to sleep tonight, and have needed transportation to evacuate orphans to safety. Thank God for the years of planning that prepared us to serve (together with you) during this tragic time.