Thursday, May 23, 2024
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Ministry in Moldova Helps 60,000 Ukrainian Refugees: ‘I Want Them to Know Who This Jesus Is’

CHISINAU, Moldova – When Russia invaded Ukraine two years ago, nearly a million Ukrainians headed to the tiny country of Moldova. While most of these refugees have returned home or resettled in other countries, more than 100,000 remain.  

April will mark two years since Iryna Mishina escaped from Ukraine’s Donetsk region. “I miss home. My work. My son used to be in school. My mom used to have work,” she said.

Since then, Iryna, her mom, 15 year-old son, and the family cat, have lived in a one-bedroom apartment on the outskirts of Moldova’s capital city.
 
“We cannot go to Donetsk region right now because there’s a war. It’s impossible to live there. There’s no electricity, no water,” Iryna said.

She also worries about her husband, Daniel, who remains back home, still serving on the frontlines. 

“It’s awful when we don’t hear from him,” Iryna said. “I remember for one week we had no communication.”

Twice a week, she and her mother travel for hours on a bus to a church for fellowship with other Ukrainian women stuck in Moldova whose husbands also fight for the homeland. 

“It’s a wonderful time. We can feel the support. Even when I talk about it I get goosebumps,” Iryna said.

Leading the group is Inna Tokarchuk with Mission Eurasia, a Christian organization serving 13 countries of the former Soviet Union and Poland.

Inna said, “I’m serving people who’ve experienced war, who’ve lost their homes and maybe their loved ones and have for the last two years been forced to live in a different country in hard conditions.”

Tokarchuk says she has ministered to at least 10,000 people through these group counseling sessions, mostly women and children.

“Every one of our meetings begins with fellowship and ends with a message from God’s Word. My goal is to share what the Bible says relating to their situation. I want them to know who this Jesus is and how His Word can be made applicable in their daily lives,” she said.

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Iryna Mishina says Tokarchuk’s emotional support has been invaluable. 

Iryna said, “We feel so relieved in our souls because the knowledge we get, stories from the Bible, the icebreakers, all of this makes us calm and peaceful.”

Mission Eurasia also holds outreach activities for Ukrainian children living in Moldova. Many like Inna Ruptanova’s 5-year-old son, are having to make new friends in their new land.

Ruptanova told us, “All his friends are scattered all across Ukraine and the entire world and here tonight he’s finding new friends that’s why it’s so important to participate in these kinds of events.”

More than two years after the war started in Ukraine, Mission Eurasia here in neighboring Moldova, has ministered to over 60,000 Ukrainian refugees meeting their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.

Moldovan Pastor Alexandr Belev also serves as Mission Eurasia’s executive director for field missions. With war raging less than 100 miles away, Belev says his country feels the ongoing effects of the conflict.

He said, “Pray for us so that we can maintain the desire to minister and that people would have compassion and will share what they have with others and fulfill the scripture that says to take care of orphans, widows, and those who are oppressed.”

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