Alexander and Alla Shirshin are a young missionary couple serving the needy in conflict-affected eastern Ukraine.
They met in the town of Svetlodarsk where they both came following their calling to serve and show mercy to people living in the war zone. (Alla came from Ternopil and Alexander came there from Crimea).
Novoluhanske village, Donetsk region, where Alexander and Alla have also been serving, borders with the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic”. Until December 2016, this village belonged to the “grey zone” being located between the check-points of the two warring parties. For the three years of war this village was suspended in uncertainty. Many people had to leave but most of the villagers stayed. There are about 200 children still living in Novoluhanske village at the moment, and the only activity they have is their soccer club.
Alexander shares how he came up with idea of creating a boxing club, «We have been thinking about it and trying to find variants how we could possibly help these kids to get destructed from war. We wanted to invest our time and share the eternal Biblical truths with them. Also, it was very important for us to show these kids that someone really cared for how they live, what they think and what they dream about. At the university, I was fond of boxing and this sport has given me a lot, because boxing is not just a type of sports but it is also a way to raise strong and goal-oriented personalities who are able to think big and reach their goals. I thought that it would be a great idea to start a boxing club here in this little village of Donetsk region, where we would be able to build trust-based relationship with the local kinds and become their role models to be able to share the most important truths about God with them”.
Boxing Club has been open in Novoluhanske village for several months now. Alexander has become a friend, the trainer and the mentor for the local children. The Club immediately attracted attention of local boys,and, surprisingly enough, local girls too. There are two boxing groups at the club – the junior team of over 20 children and the teenagers team with about the same quantity of kids. Most of the team members come from poor and at-risk families; many of them live without their fathers. The club is meeting at a gymnasium provided for free!
Boxing equipment was the main need of the club members. Many organizations joined this effort to help develop this wonderful initiative. CBN-Emmanuel purchased 15 pairs of boxing gloves, “Mercy Coprs” organization provided 2 pairs of boxing gloves, 2 helmets and 2 punching bags, and«Boxing Stuff» organization has sent 6 new pairs of boxing gloves for free!
This generous joint support by our Partners has become a wonderful example for the kids of how they can help and support other people. Meanwhile, the Boxing Club has become a real family for these children of war and they know that they can always come here for help!
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