An Amazing Day in Ukraine
The following thoughts from the morning of 28 June helps capture some of what is going on here as we labor each day to bring hope and help to a stricken land:
Yesterday, we had teams in operation in five different parts of this country ... actually six parts if you count me! All were involved with significant missions. All sharing your love and interacting with each other. Thank you God.
Lord, you are opening the paths, different each day, so that your Work can continue to be done here in Ukraine.
My day consisted of an early wake up to see the Lysychans'k Team that Karla is part of off. Then after my 'Quiet and Coffee Time' the rest of the day exploded with activity. First, I found myself helping another Group, Undaunted Loved, load up their van with three pallets of hygiene products. They were taking these up north to elderly who pretty much are now by themselves after their younger neighbors have fled for their lives. I was the only PCCR/SU Team member present in the city for this warehouse effort. Fortunately, I had learned everything from getting through the compound gates and opening the warehouse, to operating the manual jack to move pallets.
Next up was a quick run to a department store to pick up a fan that would help us sleep better at night. Also on the list: storage containers to organize the meds for distribution, gear for the warehouse, and flashlights to hand out as gifts to road guards. Regarding the latter, God provided an amazing employee who helped me find all their USB powered flashlights and then, when he realized I was an American there to help Ukraine, unexpectedly help me get a special discount at check-out! This unexpected blessing, the kindness and favor of Ukrainians, was awesome to experience and reminded me of how our efforts here must encourage the Ukrainians, and it also reminded me of God's kindness and favor to us. Small things can make big impacts!
Returning to the main base, I started counting and prepping for medical distributions, which seems different each day, yet is helping so many. I also entered a state of fasting and prayer for all the teams in action, but especially for the Lysychans'k team which Karla is a part of. This team loses all contact as they travel into the most contested area within Ukraine, and we never know what is happening until after contact is re-established.
God opened up doors for Karla's group, which witnessed much more shelling activity then on their first trip, although none struck as close as the bridge missile from trip one
The military were amazed that Karla's group had ventured in last week without them ... but it is a totally God thing that God is doing with this group, as He provided two additional route guides to help them get in when missiles destroying a bridge had made their route inaccessible.
This trip they were vehicle three of three in a mini make-shift caravan, and while no unexpected route changes emerged, they did witness much more shelling activity to include seeing a building get hit in the rural area. Inside the city, Karla was able to get critical meds and supplies to three hospitals, two of which readily recognized her from the first trip and expressed gratitude for the previous supplies and thanks for the new ones! Karla's Russian speaking is returning (Praise God) and she was able to share the Gospel with several within the city.
The team also brought in food for two distributions to including finding a Red Cross center within the city. God continues to broaden their relationships with others working in the conflict zone. Then they were able to get 12 evacuees out (who now become IDPs) to include getting one evacuee to a hospital near our main base who most likely needs a second leg amputated. Karla was able to have conversations with many of the evacuees on the trip back, and none were throwing up or overcome with anxiety such as on trip one.
They spent over 6 hours in the comm black-out zone, longer than originally planned, keeping me on "pins and needles", resulting in increased prayer times, but God was moving with them in amazing ways. They arrived back at our warehouse at 9 PM to pack and prep for another visit into Lysychans'k. Food and medicines are so needed there, and it is not clear how much longer the window for getting into Lysychans'k will remain open. When finished, total in transit and prep time for this team would be over 18 hours of non-stop activity.
During the day while they were gone, I was able to make significant inroads in packaging cardiac and antibiotic medicines for upcoming Chaplain Compassion Clinics at frontline villages. I also received crucial guidance on diabetic, blood pressure and cholesterol medicines needed to pack a box that will be heading to a Diabetic Camp in the South, with additional meds that will go out to Mariupol. This box contains thousands of dollars of gifts from donors and two pharmaceutical supply companies that helped us medically outfit this trip, and it will be a big blessing for so many.
While packing, our based was rattled by an explosion within
the city, the second such event since getting here 10 days ago. It is one sign of how the conflict is still
close to us. For quick reference, FEELING
the blast means it is less than 5km away.
Yet this still does not compare to any of the events that are occurring when
our teams go on mission.
The other teams were able to get needed food distributing to outlying villages and distribution centers up north, and swing by to evacuate a 96-year-old woman and her daughter.
As the Lysychans'k team came out of the com blackouts, we
started learning some about their trip (and there are still stories to find
out!) But also we began getting specific
requests for medicines and supplies from the hospitals there. Some of these we are blessed to have in
abundance, some of which we have in smaller amounts, and some sadly we have
none of. So I started prepping what
would be five medical boxes that included supplies I had discovered in the
warehouse yesterday, and began piecing through and organizing today. While packing these supplies, I received a
call to go to the warehouse: the group I had helped load in the morning had
completed distributions and were ready to load another van. No one else had returned yet from other
missions, so I flexed to the occasion helping to lead and load three more
pallets of hygiene products. God was
After finishing this, some of our teams arrived to help make family food packs for today's Lysychans'k run. Aware that I still need to complete the med packing, I still helped jump start the food bag packing efforts by moving all the rice, pasta, canned meat pallets to the sorting area.
While doing this, our translator arrived and I was able to discuss with her what the eight pages of med requests translated to. This 5 minutes was invaluable and fine-tuned my awareness of what I need to do to complete the packing the Lysychans'k hospitals. Had I just rushed off to do the med packing mission, I would have missed having this conversation.
Now returning to the main base, I engaged in box packing with new insights, including the boxes that I had translated and identified as pysch meds and insomnia meds. These had been in the warehouse for a while, discovered yesterday by me, translated and organized today. Up to this moment, I had no clue where to send this, as these needs go beyond what we can do on our frontline village compassion clinics. Now it was clear based on the information received that it would be perfect for Lysychans'k and is heading there today, God willing.
Just after finishing packing, I finally met Karla again, 17 hours since I last saw her. Her insights on the hospitals helped us top off organizing efforts for the mission today.
Lord, I stand amazed at how much you did through all of us yesterday. This account only briefly touched on the many stories that cam out .... And still will come out ... from yesterday. You truly are amazing. It was amazing.
We must work the Works of Him who sent me as long as it is day. Night is coming when no one can work. (John 9:4)
May You guide all of us today in our missions. Open up the channels to navigate safely. Open up the spiritual realms so that we can appropriately lay seeds that reap eternal treasures. Guide us today. Fill us. Use us.
~ Eric ~