Unrest began in Ukraine in late 2013, with the people demanding closer ties with Europe and a distancing from Russia and corruption in the government. In early 2014 the president of Ukraine fled and a new government was set up. In April (2014) Russia quickly annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula and began fighting, trying to take over two eastern regions bordering Russia, a region of more than seven million people and a center of mining and manufacturing. Separatist leaders in the region, with the help of the Russian army, declared independence from Ukraine and are now fighting against the Ukrainian government. Despite sanctions and several peace deals between Russia and Ukraine, fighting continues in these regions in 2015. It's estimated 500,000 people from the war zone have left Ukraine for other countries. Additionally, an estimated 1.17 million people have left their homes for other regions of Ukraine. More than five million people remain in the war zone.
Open Bible churches in Ukraine have opened their arms to these Internally Displaced People (IDPs). They come to our churches with little more than a suitcase of belongings, looking for safety and a new beginning. Open Bible churches find them a place to stay, help them look for work, work through the paperwork associated with being an IDP, and provide them a place to start their lives over. New families come weekly to at least one of our churches. In Lutsk, there is a group of IDPs who gather frequently for church-sponsored meals together, a message from the Word, friendship, and support. Some people from our own churches have relocated to safer areas in Ukraine.
Additionally, Open Bible churches send humanitarian aid all over Ukraine to the IDPs and also those trapped near the front lines of the war, meeting others who then get the aid inside the war zone. Many trucks have gone in with tons of potatoes, basic foodstuffs, clothing, and other necessary items. Medicine is sent to military hospitals. Clothing and food are sent to IDPs living throughout the country.
Open Bible churches in Ukraine strive to be Christ’s helping hand extended out to those in need in Ukraine. It is a daunting task and at the same time an awesome responsibility. Your financial help can go a long way in making the lives of displaced and distressed Ukrainians a bit easier. Thank you for your gifts.