The building of the Evangelical Church “Resurrection” from Boryslav, Lviv region is located in a quiet green neighborhood.
At first, it is hard to understand what this building is, but when we get inside, it becomes clear that life here is in full swing. The church leaders are actively repairing the building and have ambitious plans for the future, despite the war in Ukraine. It was the Russian invasion in the first place that helped the brothers make repairs even faster to help more people in need. Despite the fact that the building is not fully prepared for living, several refugee families have already found shelter here, separated from their ruined home towns with hundreds of kilometers.
Nadiya Blyzniuk, 73, is internally displaced from Zhytomyr region which had been heavily shelled since the first days of the war. Not long before the war, Nadiya underwent a complicated heart surgery.
“I did not want to leave the house. The doctors told me to rest more, but when the neighboring villages began to burn, I was forced to evacuate to Warsaw. It was the hardest road my life. I suffocated, I thought my heart would stop. After we arrived in Warsaw, they cared well for us, we were given a shelter and food but there were so many refugees arriving to Poland that I was haunted by the thoughts, “What’s next? How come that we became homeless? Was destiny is awaiting for our grandchildren? How not to die of cardiac arrest abroad? “
Despite the difficult road, the woman decided to return to Ukraine. It wouldn’t be her home town of course, but she wanted to return to any Ukrainian city where there was no shelling. Thus, elderly Nadiya, together with her daughter Lyudmila and great-grandson Nikita, settled in the building of the Evangelical Church in Boryslav.
This shelter is one of the many centers hosting internally displaced persons that OB provides with food. When OB team arrived for a monitoring visit, the woman was looking out the window and crying. By looking at her eyes one could tell that she had been crying for a long time , she looked exhausted with glassy red eyes.
Here are four bunk beds in Nadiya’s room. The walls of the modest shelter are empty, but there are many children’s things.
As we started talking to the woman, Nadiya began to cry even harder, sobbing hysterically:
“What is happening in our land? Why do we have to experience such grief? I saw Russian tanks riding over our young girls just because they were Ukrainians. The Russian fascists brought grief and pain to our land. The Russians are shedding rivers of innocent blood in our land every day. Who gave them the right to dominate here?” – The woman continued to cry in disgust.
Nadiya’s daughter continued the conversation:
“I worked as a railway operator, and every weekend we would play ball with our grandson or go to the movies together. We had a good life, worked during the week and enjoyed the life on weekends, attended church on Sundays. What did they have to “save” us from? On February 24, our lives turned into hell. Somehow I didn’t even believe at first that the war had started. There were such loud sounds of explosions that stupor and fear did not allow to think adequately. Borodyanka and the surrounding villages have been severely bombed. It was scary to watch tanks driving by and shooting right in front of our eyes. We heard air alarms over and over again.
After we evacuated, Zhytomyr was heavily bombed on the next day. God saved us from death. When we were already safe, the panic and fear came. It feels like you are shut down in a room with ted arms, legs, mouth and the lights are off, and there’s nothing you can do. It feels like you are doomed to death and the worst thing is the fear for you grandchildren, for children, for relatives, for people. In general, the fear for Ukraine”.
We only survived by the grace of God! We escaped the air bombardment, wandered around Poland and now returned to Ukraine. Own land heals wounds. Here are Ukrainians, here is the native language, native culture, cuisine, customs. It is easier to fight stress surrounded by something that you know. We now live in a refugee camp opened by evangelical Christians.
We are very grateful to the Operation Blessing and Emmanuel Association for providing the refugees with the necessary food so that we can eat hot meals three times a day. Thank you for bringing so many gifts that we really need here.
You know, I’m a Catholic and I firmly believe in God, and I firmly believe in our President Zelensky! And I pray. I pray for every honest person who did not allow us to be left homeless, I pray for those who help us with food. I pray for our president. I pray for our army. I pray for the courage of the brave men who are sacrificing their lives for our victory. I pray and I know that everything will definitely be fine. Because the truth is on our side! “
Hundreds of other churches and organizations, such as the Evangelical “Resurrection” Church of Boryslav hosting 40 to 300 IDPs each and are under the care of Emmanuel Association.
We can take care of those who have lost their jobs and homes, the people of dignity who have lost the opportunity to work and who have lost so much due to the Russian aggression. Unfortunately, these people are now forced to wait in lines and ask for humanitarian assistance and we have no right to leave them alone with their trouble!
To make a donation: https://helpua.org/ua/home-1/
Аnnа Chaban, CBN-Emmanuil