The Rev. Tim Krick, who works with congregations on behalf of Lutheran World Relief, recently visited some of the communities your compassionate support is reaching in Ukraine. This trip took him just four miles from the Russian border, into towns that were occupied by Russian troops within the last year. Here are some of his observations.
What was it like to visit an active war zone?
Tim: Very surreal. The vast majority of buildings had been damaged, and all around were reminders that the war is ongoing … As we were handing out quilts, the Ukrainian military was clearing mines from some nearby fields, and we heard explosions go off … And then there were the frequent air raid sirens. There is this constant apprehension. And this is their everyday life.
How are the people holding up?
When we talk about serving the most vulnerable, this is as vulnerable as it gets — the people who stayed behind when war broke out. Many are elderly, or they didn't have the resources to go somewhere else. They are often alone. Some of them had their homes occupied or looted. They've lost loved ones. Some were sexually abused during occupation. And there is so much uncertainty. They are adamant that Ukraine will prevail, but they don't know what might happen to them personally.
One young mother at the quilt distribution told us that you live every day with this feeling that you could die at any moment. She's afraid to let her son just go out and run. There are mines and broken glass, and you don’t know who you can trust. And so people feel isolated.
The refrain we heard over and over again was, "Thank you for remembering us." Thank you for your prayers. Thank you for providing this food, this place to stay. Thank you for remembering.