7 August

Ira Kapitonova is with Ivan Kapitonov and Dmytro Bereza.

Day 165

Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. (Hebrews 13:1‭-‬3)

Last week, I talked to some friends who ended up far from their homes. I was encouraged to hear them share about the countries and families that welcomed them and treated them with great love and care. I pray that the Ukrainians would remember this solidarity and lesson in empathy and would be as compassionate of a nation in the future years when our country is free, peaceful, and flourishing.

Being a refugee is not easy, and I’ve heard of many Ukrainians asking not to be referred to as refugees but rather be called guests or temporary residents. It’s important for them to keep their dignity and not look pitiful or be burdensome. They were forced to leave their country but are eager to return as soon as it’s safe.

Today, I read a post of a girl who took refuge in England. She shared a conversation with a local man who was impressed with refugees from Ukraine. He said, “We are used to thinking of refugees as people who need to be fed, clothed, educated, taught the language, and employed. But you show us that it can be different. You are fast learners, and you are not afraid of hard work. You take the initiative and join communities. You show us that we can learn from you and be inspired by you.”

I know that God can use any situation for His glory, so when I read this story, I prayed that He would use this war and millions of refugees from Ukraine to change the hearts of people, make them more open to each other, and also encourage refugees to be a responsible and worthy representative of their nation.

However, being a refugee or an internally displaced person also means dealing with daily questions of where to stay or what to eat. Some people were welcomed by host families for 6 months, and that period is nearing its end, which means a new search for a place to stay. In the safer parts of Ukraine, some school gyms or auditoriums were turned into hubs for the people left without homes, but with the beginning of the school year approaching, they will need to find a new location. No one thought this war would be going this long, but unfortunately, it is far from over.

Please, pray for all people who had to leave their homes. Pray for them to see God’s caring hand in their circumstances.

If you feel called to support refugees or the displaced people in Ukraine, please, consider donating to the people/churches you know or the initiatives run by trustworthy organizations.

If you need ideas, please consider donating to the Ukrainian Education Center fund (uecandme.org). It’s the ministry I was a part of for many years before my son was born. The mission of the UEC was to proclaim the Good News by meeting the educational needs in Kyiv. Today, this fund assists internally displaced people in Ukraine, and they faithfully report on their website.

There may also be people in your community who moved from Ukraine. Don’t hesitate to share a friendly smile, offer emotional support, or ask if they need any help. For example, you may help them set up a fundraiser through the gofundme platform. That’s what my cousin did for their relatives fleeing from Ukraine – you may check out their story here https://gofund.me/3d7b4168

And we keep praying for Ukraine’s victory, which would allow us all to return home.

Today’s picture is an illustration by Nikita Titov.