This sign says, “For the next 24 hours, pray and fast for Victory and Peace for Ukraine.”
One year ago today, on February 24, 2022, at around 5:00 am in Ukraine, the world as we know it changed. And it wasn’t for the better. Our volunteers and I, and the people we serve in Ukraine, all remember what we were doing when that first missile strike hit. At the beginning, no one really knew what to do – but God gave us ideas and soon we had a plan.
For the next 6 weeks, we concentrated on evacuating our orphanage children and their caregivers, and our female Orphan Graduates to Romania, and beyond. After the evacuations reached 300+ souls, we started to focus on a new ministry – civilian & soldier support. Since then, with your help, we have collected and brought to Ukraine almost 2 tons of aid. Medicine, First Aid Kits, tourniquets, Bags of Blessings, clothing, binoculars, power banks, flashlights, surgical supplies, and notes of encouragement were hand carried in more than 60 x 70-pound duffle bags from the USA across the border into Ukraine. And we are still doing it today!
Meet the Vahgasia family of Norwood, New Jersey… specifically Sahaj, a high school senior who was inspired to collect much needed supplies for Ukrainian orphans and soldiers, for his Eagle Scout project. Together, Sahaj created an Amazon Wish List and started asking his network of friends and relatives to buy and donate items online. Soon, it was time to enlist the help of the local Boy Scouts to help sort and pack 10 duffle bags for Ukraine.
But Sahaj took it to the next level. He and his family decided to travel to Ukraine to personally deliver this precious cargo into the hands of our dedicated Hope Now team! And that’s what they did this week! Not only did Sahaj, his brother and parents bring relief and blessings in the most practical way, they also instantly brought love and encouragement to our team members, Oleksandra, Oleg, Diana, Yana, and Inna.
Sahaj’s father wrote to me, “Your team is amazing, Cyndee. I don't have the words to describe. May God continue to bless your humble and much needed humanitarian efforts. You are truly an inspiration, my friend. As Sahaj and Anand said, this is perhaps the most memorable experience of their lives. They put the last 24 hours as their number one experience of all time.”
Flying duffle bags all the way from America to Ukraine? What an enormous effort and cost! Does it really make a difference? Is it even worth it? Like you, we also have struggled to determine whether our tiny drops of help make any ripple in what seems like a never-ending ocean. Today, I received a note from Lena, who many of you know personally. She wrote, “Hi! I’ve written a letter to sponsors and people who were providing help throughout this year. I don’t know if that’s a good idea, but just wanted to let you all know that it’s not a black hole you are sending stuff to, and that we’re grateful!”
I’m writing this letter to people I’ve met, to people I have never met, or I will meet one day. You’re reading this, because somehow, you’re connected to Hope Now Ministries who’ve been helping Ukrainian people for a long time.
As it has been a year since the war in Ukraine started, people here find themselves looking back at this year and remembering not only the struggles, not only the people who have lost their lives, but also remembering all kinds of blessings that did take place. God was using you to bring those blessings and we’re giving thanks to Him for you. Because that was an answer to our prayers. We would like to give thanks directly to you in this letter! I’m writing this on behalf of those who were saying words of gratitude while getting aid you’ve sent. Every piece of clothing found their owner, every source of light was lit in the darkness, every first aid kit found its soldier and every note with words of encouragement was read. Those were only a few things I mentioned.”
“Sometimes it really seems that we’re on our own here, surrounded by darkness, sorrow, constant danger, and death. But when it becomes especially hard, the Holy Spirit reminds us that there are so many people out there in the world who are lifting our country in prayer, and this brings a lot of comfort and gives us strength. Please, know that every prayer is very important!
There’s nothing much we can give you in return for what you’re doing for us, so I’d like to leave this verse of blessing for you:
“Beloved, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.” 3 John 1:2
“Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers,
even though they are strangers to you.” 3 John 1:5
Your family in Christ in Ukraine”
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