“Russia has carried out several waves of deadly missile and drone attacks in recent weeks, reportedly destroying almost a third of Ukraine's power stations and other energy-generating facilities ahead of the cold winter period.”
(BBC online Nov 1st https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-63454230)
All across Ukraine, it is getting colder. Temperatures in the Cherkasy region are expected to fall below zero before the end of this month and are likely to remain low until March. As bombings and missile strikes continue to destroy crucial infrastructure, the situation grows ever more grave and the need for support with fuel, food and firewood increases.
Our pastors all have plans for how to help those in their communities, and our Winter Warmth Appeal, now in its third week, has been specifically designed to support them in their endeavours. Much of what they are doing is a continuation of the work they started in February: sourcing and distributing daily essentials to meet basic needs. Throughout the winter they will be purchasing food, medicine, warm clothing and shoes, heaters, winter blankets, firewood, and whatever else is needed to help those around them survive the extreme cold.
Cherkasy ‘oblast’ (province) has seen a steady influx of refugees from the east since the conflict began, and there has been pressure on accommodation since that time. Many of these people have moved into houses which are old and don’t have running water, or which were designed only for summer use, so they don’t have heating systems. In the village of Denghi, the church youth have been giving their time to carrying out general repairs and modification of these buildings, doing tasks such as creating fireplaces, so that people can stay in them throughout the winter.
In the village of Blagodatne, an unused building next to the church had been housing displaced people from other parts of the country, but was also not appropriate as winter accommodation as it had no heating. Thanks to a generous donation, we were able to fund the installation of a boiler on the ground floor, which pumps hot water through a network of radiators on the first floor, thus creating a safe space which can be inhabited all year round. Three families who fled from the Luhansk region, including an older couple with their granddaughter, are currently living there, and there is space for more people to join them. “They are very happy that they can spend the winter with us,” says Pastor Sergiy.
As the attacks on the electricity framework have caused regular power cuts, we asked the pastors whether it would be helpful to have generators. The overwhelming response was yes. “When you're in a service, and you don't have a light, it's very uncomfortable,” Pastor Dima told us. Pastor Sergiy said, “People could come to church to charge their phones or batteries. It is very bad without electricity, and we don't know how long it will be for.” We have been able to provide generators for each of the churches, so that they can not only continue their ministries, but also be a place for others to come to for warmth, light, comfort and company.
“Everyone is happy,” says Dima. “It's a blessing for everyone; it is a great support and a huge blessing.”
Ukraine Christian Ministries Registered Charity No 1061221