Ukrainian Refugee Report 7-10-22
Working Together to Meet the Needs
Hunger. Do you know what it is like to be truly hungry? Most of us in America hardly know what REAL hunger feels like. That deep nausea of craving something, anything, to eat. Just a glimpse of a restaurant or grocery store sign is enough to bring raw cravings deep within. Forget about bygone days of fancy dishes or tables laden with delectable offerings. You just want food – any food. Basic foods would be great. Without sugar and fancy flavorings. Like bread. Dry bread would be fine. Without jellies or honey. Even without butter. It could be dry and crusty as long as it is nourishing and filling. But you have nothing!
You feel yourself slowly growing weaker each day. You haven’t bothered to get on a scale for weeks – what would be the point? Scales used to help you monitor your weight to keep you from getting too heavy, now it would simply inform you of how much you have already lost. Why is that important? Deep down you begin to realize that this can only continue so long… then what? Throughout history many have succumbed to starvation, you know.
But the hardest is watching how this effects your family. You have already unselfishly shared most of the resources you once had with your children and the elderly family members. Now they too are suffering the same symptoms you are experiencing.
Suddenly you get word that a church group a few blocks over has bags of food available! Furthermore, they are giving it away! You rush over to check it out and sure enough, it is true. Where did they get it and why are they giving it away? A crowd has gathered quickly, and the Pastor gets up and begins to speak. He explains that people far away have donated funds not only for the food but for the transportation costs as well. They have done so because the Love of Jesus Christ in their hearts causes them to love us too. So much so that they willingly shared with us to meet our needs. Evidently God really did hear my prayers and He really does care enough about us to meet our needs. These people seem to know Him personally! Could they answer my questions about Him?
Such is the situation for thousands of Ukrainians whose lives have been shattered by the war. While many of the everyday items we take for granted are not available, most basic food items are still plentiful in some parts of the country. In fact, due to many export avenues being closed some items are simply sitting in storage. But in other parts of the country the needs are getting desperate. Severe fuel shortages caused by the war inhibit the normal transportation systems used to distribute food to markets far away. Diesel fuel especially is very scarce and what little is available is very expensive. Prices are as high as $12.00 per gallon in some places. This has to be passed on in the form of higher food prices providing trucking can be found at all.
At present we have found the most efficient way to meet the needs of individual congregations in these areas is delivering loads by fuel efficient Sprinter vans a few tons at a time. To this end we have purchased or helped to purchase several used vans for various church groups. The willingness of our Ukrainian brothers to provide the labor for these efforts has been a huge blessing.
One such example is pictured here. This used van was placed in service about three months ago. In the first two months (latest data available) four drivers consisting of two teams of two have logged over 11,000 miles in this van. They have completed over forty trips into nine different oblasts or “states” inside Ukraine. In addition they have made twelve trips to Romania to purchase supplies and fuel. Each time they cross into Romania they return not only with a topped off fuel tank but numerous cans of spare fuel besides.
As always our desire is to help the maximum amount of people using God’s resources as efficiently as possible. One way is to try to make each load a full load. In these forty trips they have delivered over ninety-five tons of aid such as food, clothing, medicines, hygiene kits, fruits and vegetables, building materials, children’s items, Gospel literature, etc. They have delivered to eight different missions and organizations as well as numerous churches and countless individuals.
How many lives can be touched by one van? This one has already reached thousands and still counting! Isn’t it amazing what our God can do with a few small loaves and fishes? Only eternity will reveal how many have come to faith in Christ through the gifts and prayers of a faithful few!
We invite you to pray. Pray for Divine Wisdom for those in charge. Pray for safety on those driving thousands of miles. Pray for the vans that the Lord would keep them running. Most of all, pray that the recipients that don’t know Jesus would be touched by His Love!
-Nathan Miller for the AURA Team
AURA (Anabaptist Ukrainian Refugee Assistance) is a team of Anabaptist brethren, most of whom have had opportunity to live in Ukraine, with a burden of helping the current crisis. Currently our efforts are focused on the critical needs inside the country. AURA has partnered with Deed and Truth Ministries for receiving and distributing funds. All funds received for this effort are sent directly to the needs.
Donations can be made online at www.auraua.org or mailed to: