On that day we brought food bags for 15 families in the frontline  town of Vugledar.

Our beneficiaries thanked everyone, some of them cried, but there was one young woman who wept bitterly for it hurt too much…

I always record my interviews and when I am writing an article afterwards, I listen to the recording in my headphones. This interview was unbearable to listen to with the headphones, because the crying of 39-year-old Tetiana was literally shocking and heartbreaking. Against the backdrop of Tetyana’s crying, which sometimes turned into a rough, low, almost masculine and terrible scream, I almost couldn’t hear the words of Tatiana’s mother.  I had to take off the headphones and start listening to the recording from the recorder. At this time, my little daughter was passing by the room. She looked at me in dismay and asked: “Mom, why does this lady cry so much?” After a little thought, I answered: “Because she is in so much pain …”

Tetiana is a tiny 39-year old woman. For the last 5 years, her whole world has been limited to a small room and her bed. The woman’s only company is her 74-year-old mother, Galina Petrivna, and her 17-year-old daughter who is now studying in another city. Tatyana has pleasant memories of how healthy and active she used to be and the memories of her ex-husband… And there are  bad memories that bring tears into her eyes.

Tetiana suffers from multiple sclerosis –  her speech is completely disturbed. Instead of words you can only hear an effort to say something and after unsuccessful attempts she starts crying. Multiple sclerosis is a very serious condition when nerves become “bare” and cannot transfer signals. This disease is incurable now and its course is unpredictable. The main symptoms are muscle weakness, dysfunction of the pelvic organs, mental disorder, fatigue.

She is crying because of her ex-husband! – Tatiana’s mother explains, – She got used to the disease itself a long time ago, but a year ago her husband met a healthy woman and left Tanya and this literally broke her. Before he left, she used to accept her disease with dignity – slow “extinction” in front of her eyes, paralysis of the left side of her body, gradual loss of speech and the fact that she wasn’t able to get out of the house for the last 4 years. She used to communicate with her daughter Anya with dignity throughout the illness and didn’t cry too much. But since her husband left, she cries every day.  With that, her state of health significantly deteriorated… In general, even when they lived together, her husband wasn’t too  nice to her. He would insult her and humiliate her daughter.

Can you even imagine how offended she felt after her sickness…  I don’t even know how to tell you this, you can hardly believe that such cruelty exists on the planet … I think it’s much better without him! But she forgave him and still loves him, she wants him back. But I don’t think he would ever be back…”

After hearing her mother’s words, Tetiana starts crying even harder…  In order to calm her down, I embrace and say: “Tanya, you are very beautiful, but if you cry, beauty will leave and you… I see a Bible here, are you reading it?” The woman calms down, like a child who was given a candy; she laughs with an incredibly beautiful smile and tries to say something with nods. Her mother, as always, “translates” her words for us:

She has already read the entire Bible since the beginning of her disease. Bible is the only thing that calms her down. She likes the biblical stories from the Old Testament, stories about the war and the kingdom, about the victories and defeats of the nations. She also loves the story about the life of Jesus Christ. Now she has started reading it again. Does the Bible soothe her? Of course it does.  Missionaries from the local church which was started in our town during the war, gave her the Bible. It is very good for our town that we have this church now! Missionaries Lena and Denis Brekhovy help many people in our town! They helped us a lot too – they even helped us take Tetiana out to the backyard. Before them, nobody cared about her, but they cared enough to help us take her outside to breathe some fresh air and look at the world. After we met with the  Christians, it seems like we have found some hope. Very often they bring food bags provided by CBN-Emmanuel; they provided us with the needed medicines a couple of times. It is very important for Tetiana to take medications. Yes, this disease is incurable, but the treatment is aimed at facilitating a person’s life when severe symptoms show up. Of course, the treatment is very expensive. But the church did not leave us!

The pension that Tetiana gets from the government due to her disability amounts to 1600 UAH (60 USD), and my pension is 2000 UAH (75 USD). Each month in the winter we have to spend 3000 UAH for the heating and how are we supposed to live on the remaining 600 UAH (22 USD)? It is just impossible!  But the missionaries from the church have been helping us a lot! Before that, we had no desire to live… but when they started helping us and introduced us to the Bible, we understood that God has a plan and reason for us to live – even in the midst of illness and war!”

Today, we were able to bring a food bag for this family again. You can join our food security project and sign up for a monthly donation via this link. Even if you can’t donate a lot, an amount as small as  $ 1 or $ 10 will matter!

Anna Chaban for CBN-Emmanuel