A Place of Refuge

In November, an anonymous donation to UCM funded the installation of a heating system in a building next to Blagodatne church that was being used to house IDPs from other parts of Ukraine. Two women who are staying there have shared their stories with us.

“My name is Tatyana.

Due to constant bombing, our family was forced to leave the city of Lisichansk for Cherkasy in April. On the way here, ​​the bus driver gave us the number of Pastor Sergiy, who had posted on the Internet an offer to accept refugees at the church in Blagodatne. I immediately called him and explained the situation, after which he gave the go-ahead for our arrival. My husband Ivan and granddaughter Alena came with me.

We were received very cordially and with great sympathy for our situation. In a building next to the church, we were given a large, comfortable and tidy room. Everything has been organised for a comfortable stay; we have everything we need. The church constantly helps with food, and people use their cars to serve refugees. We are very grateful to Pastor Sergiy and all the parishioners of the church, who love us and take care of us in every possible way. I am especially grateful to Sergiy’s wife Lilia, who is very kind and affectionate to us.

We are all very grateful that the heating has been done. Now we will be able to live here in the winter, because we cannot return home since our city is still under Russian occupation.

And most importantly, we have learned a lot about God in the church. We are happy to go every day to prayer meetings and of course on Sunday to worship.

I can only rejoice in our situation and praise God for these people.”

“I am Valentina, a migrant from the city of Lisichansk.

I left the shelling and bombing along with other people who were fleeing the war. It was very scary; when we drove out of the city, we saw great destruction and burning houses everywhere.

Volunteers brought us to Cherkasy. At first, my friends and I stayed with an elderly man, but he had problems with alcohol and because of this there were conflicts with him. Then one day, when we came to one of the churches, we were offered to move to another place and I chose the village of Blagodatne, where the local church invited me in.

I was very well received. All the believers here love me and help me in every possible way with everything I need, so I feel very good here. I feel sure that Pastor Sergiy is a shepherd from God, because he is so kind and very attentive to the needs of all the refugees. I am already thinking about staying in Blagodatne forever, since my house in Lisichansk has been completely destroyed from a direct hit by a Russian missile.

I live with other refugees, in my own room in a building in the grounds of the church. I have everything I need for a normal life, and also they have added heating so that we can stay through the winter.

I can only say one thing - glory to the Lord! I am not only comfortable here, but I also got to know God here. At one of the services, I turned to faith in Jesus Christ and prayed together with Pastor Sergei. Now I try to get to know the Lord more by attending all church meetings.”

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