Category Archives: Ukrainian refugees

Twice a refugee, Always a Ukrainian

Hello family and friends,
We are grateful for your concern, your kindness to the people of Ukraine. Our great victory has been followed by more attack on Kherson from the opposite side of the river.

The infrastructure in Ukraine is under attack. Electricity grids are being damaged daily. We are receiving reports that electricity in Ivano-Frankivsk is turned off for large parts of the day, along with heating. So many chicken farms have been destroyed that Ukraine’s big export product is now an import product. Eggs are being imported, driving the price of eggs in Ivano-Frankivsk to $2.16 to per ten eggs, and in Kiev to $2.71 per ten eggs. That is at least 325% increase in ten months. The exchange rate is $1 for 36.95 UAH. 

This is only a small picture of the challenges. It will be a difficult winter for all of Ukraine.

Ira has been one of our managers for many years. Her husband, Platon, is pastor of a church in Ovidiopol. He and Ira sent us updates with pictures. Below are excerpts from their letters sent to Sveta and me.

Ira’s Insights

Each photo is a life story, a tragedy.

Many families were forced to leave their homes because, as we say today, the “Russian style of peace” occupied their village, town, or city. Some people left their houses because they were damaged. Some have lost their jobs because of the war and have no money for groceries. Some lost their families.

About 10,000 refugees from neighboring regions, such as Kherson, Mykolaiv, Donetsk and Kyiv regions, are now living in our Ovidiopol region. Since there are not many people in the local government social services department to help, many refugees turn to the church as a social service to get food, clothes, medicine, and diapers for children.

One of the refugees, who now lives in my town, Ovidiopol, survived the war twice. The first time he lived in Donetsk. He had a big business: a chain of stores that were seized by the Russian military in 2014. Then he lost not only his business, apartment, and car, but also some relatives and friends who were killed by Russian soldiers. He and his family had to move to Mariupol to live and start business again.

On February 24, after hearing the sounds of bomb explosions and realizing that it was a Russian invasion, once again. He gathered his family and left Mariupol. He already knew the “Russian style of peace” that this horrible army would bring to Mariupol. Now he and his family live in Ovidiopol as refugees and hope that the Russian army will not be able to come here.

All of these families are grateful for your compassion and financial support. Each grocery bag is delivered to people with God’s word — the complete Bible — for people to read. And with this, you also help people to hear God’s word. We don’t know if they will accept the message of the Gospel, Jesus, the Christ; but we know that we did what we should do. Please pray for those receiving this help to come to know our wonderful and merciful God, Jesus, the Christ.

We are grateful to God and to everyone who prays for Ukraine and who helps financially in this difficult time for Ukrainians! We thank God for your participation and partnership in the difficult times for our country. May God abundantly bless every heart whose desire to help the Ukrainian people endure, whose heart encourages us in our sorrows. Thank you for being a part of our lives!

Mark and Sveta

You can see all of our videos at our YouTube site

How does your imagination work?

Hello family and friends,

So much is happening. So many people are seeing change for the better in their lives. News tends to focus on the brutal parts of the war. Four months ago, Sveta and I saw the war come to our doorstep. We saw fear flow into our city. Four months later, we are hearing about missiles destroying different parts of our city every day.

The good news is, we are hearing about our city that was once closing most of its businesses and shops, is coming back to life. The resilient people of Ukraine are reclaiming their cities and lands. We are seeing Ukraine begin to rebuild. Step by step, Ukraine is getting stronger and stronger. We still need help. As a matter of fact, now is a crucial time to encourage the people to stand strong.

MUCH continues to enable people who are protecting the innocent. Many mothers with children are in need of rescue and relocation. That is what our story is about today.

Mark’s Moments

Many people throughout Ukraine have been seeking safety, living underground, in the lowest level of their homes or available buildings. Can you imagine taking only your necessities underground, and living there for weeks? Each day, coming out to seek humanitarian aid, checking on the condition of your home, looking for sunshine, and rays of hope.

Each day you see more destruction, your road is littered with debris, and cars on the side of the road displaying different kinds of damage. You have read stories and seen movies of the effects of war. Now, you are in the middle of it. This war is your life for the moment. How long will that moment last?

Finally, the “cavalry” arrived. Paul and his team arrived with bags of supplies, boxes of food and canned goods. It has really happened. Can you imagine the joy that would flood your heart? Tears begin to run down your face. At what seemed to be the last minute, help has arrived.

So many of your neighbors stand in line to hear the “Good News” and receive food and supplies to last you for more days of the war. Paul and his team personally handed you food. He said a few words of hope to you, and smiled. And he moved on to share the same compassion with your neighbors.

And then it happened! You were invited to join the group of your neighbors to be relocated to a safe community in another location of Ukraine. You accept the invitation, you gather the few things that you have, and you step up into the bus.

It is night by now, and you imagine only the adventure. The reality will hit you later. Right now, your life has become this moment in time. Your mind stops looking at the big picture. You can only see, digest, each moment as it comes.

Your journey has begun. What will be waiting for you? Will a better life, happier times, new friends, be in your future? These thoughts do not cross your mind. You are caught-up in the moment, many moments, as your journey begins …

Now imagine this story, this experience, and the variations of the hundreds, maybe thousands, of people that Paul and his team have helped.

Thank you Paul and your team, for the great work that you are doing. Thank you for the opportunity for MUCH to sponsor such a great organization doing great works of compassion.

Thank you so much readers for your part in the war effort through MUCH.

Thank all of you who share our stories with your friends, pray for our children, and sponsor the financial needs of MUCH!

Chornomorsk and Krakow

Hello family and friends,
We are safe in God’s hand’s. His hands are working through us!
These first two months have been a nerve bending challenge as we struggled with moving money from America to Ukraine (MoneyGram), and later from American to Poland (MoneyGram). We have it all figured out. Sveta and I have bank accounts here in Krakow. The rest is safe and secure, enough said. Russia has big ears.
We are now getting money directly to people in need. We reported that our Dr. Natalia in Chornomorsk continues to treat children in need with massage therapy. This special child has been one of her MUCH patients for about five years. This precious child cannot chew food. She can only swallow and digest pureed food. MUCH is buying her a blender to provide fresh food, and better nourishment. Dr. Natalia is one of our Ukrainian Heroes!
If you remember Alyona, from our Christmas fundraiser, here is an encouraging update about her and her children. Alyona sat with children, imagining the dreaded experience, if she had to run for safety in another country with her two children. Thankfully, they survived the Russian attempts to attack her area. They are now finding a small amount of peace as they go about their lives. Her son has found an older friend. It is ok though, because so many people moved away. We continue to support and encourage this family.
Sveta and I were invited to the Refugee House for an Easter meal. Sveta has visited on occasion to translate or help with this or that. I have only visited one time previous. 
Something about food prepared the Ukrainian way looks so appetizing.
Sixteen or seventeen people squeezed around the large and small table, ready for a great feast, good conversation, and laughter.
What amazed me the most was that all of these wonderful dishes were prepared by the women refugees. Most of the food was donated, but the grandmother who has a paying job, used her money to buy much of what she prepared. She was the hostess, organizing and cooking/baking many tasty varieties of food.
I had a good time talking to those who spoke English. Thank you friends! 
As for Sveta and I, there remains a shock, a numbness. It is gradually fading away. Our emotions catch up with us now and then; our memories of our comfort zone remind us of what we called home. We look forward, finding home in our daily moment. We find our home, our strength in the Power of Jesus Christ Who lives within us.
Thank you for your prayers!
Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Sveta