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God takes away security in the temporal to bless some of us eternally

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War brings some restrictions to us. I went ahead and listed 7 and then deleted them. Why?  There are 1000’s of people still in Mariupol – barely surviving and living in constant fear of death. Kharkiv is being bombed daily. Izyum still has about 20,000 people in it – with only 20% of the houses still standing.  (There is talk about it going down in history as the “new Bucha”. )  Kherson is occupied.  (Women and children are permitted to leave… sometimes and often being killed on the way out.)  I could go on and on.   

My list, while it may have been interesting, was plumb odious in the face of all of the suffering that is occurring in other parts of Ukraine. I couldn’t leave it in this blog.

One point that I will share with you though is that we are restricted in what we can film or take photos of. There is a request by the authorities not to take any footage of anything that might give the enemy info that they could use when attacking. (That includes army vehicles/installations/block-posts/defenses.) I will be careful with this.

There is also a tricky thing to navigate: We don’t want to be perceived of as using people we love here in order to entertain or inform you. There are many times when we can share our lives with you… and that includes interaction with the people here with whom we serve God. But there are lots of times that it would be foolish and dishonoring to do so. There’s also a fine line between filming devastation to give you a good understanding of what God has us doing and filming it to entertain… and I don’t want to get close to that line.


We’ve just arrived home from a few days north-east of Kiev. David, Sasha, Igor, Mitya, Tolic, Tolic, and Misha went on this “exploratory” and work trip, (first photo above). We left early Monday morning in two vehicles. I dropped off a family of refugees in a village on the way, and then travelled on… meeting the lads mid-morning in Nova Basan. We talked with the mayor of the town who sent us to the next town along to help there. Both villages had seen a lot of devastation… but the brave bomb disposal lads had been through, and people were cleaning up slowly.

image_67149569We met the mayor in the next village over who directed us to the large two-story town hall. The roof had received two bombs on it and basically all the windows were shattered. We put a temporary repair job in place and plastic sheets over the areas where the bombs had exploded… and took it upon ourselves to help the young lady who was going through the rooms one-by-one cleaning them up. (What a daunting task!)

The Russians had kept two divisions in this town spread out over the area – staying in homes and sleeping in bomb shelters. The soviet-era bomb shelter of the town hall must have held about 70 Russians, we estimated. (Taking that into consideration, I guess it could have been a lot worse inside.) If you want to see more from the town, I posted a YouTube clip of it that you can check out on “Dan Gollan”. I labelled it, “Trip North”.

We talked with a number of locals. Most of our time was spent working on three different buildings, but we shall go back, and next time, I’d like to have a couple of people dedicated to spending the majority of their time talking with people.

image_50418689Our two weeks of kids’ club went swimmingly. School is out until at least September. Parents were very grateful. The 35-45 kids that attended loved it. Us volunteers loved it too. Actually, we announced that we would have kids’ club each Thursday for a month and to my surprise, today even got some new kids. (We may revise the once-a-week thing in a couple of weeks and do another week-long event, but we shall see.)

Russia looks as if it has given up on the idea of taking Kiev… at least for now. That is good news for those in our area. Today, sitting with a group of five ladies, we talked about the war for over an hour. Ordinary people, (even ladies), have picked up a heap of war-jargon and talk theories and discuss the latest news! Amazing. The general belief amongst most people though, seems to be that while Russia has taken some big knocks, we still have a long road ahead of us. Infrastructure has already been incredibly damaged. (I checked this morning and saw that the prime minister has said that US$600 Billion will be needed to repair/rebuild what Russia has destroyed.) Our GDP is taking a shocking hit. People are out of work and beginning to fear for the future. And thousands have died. In a sense, there is no way we can win this war. Even if Russia leaves, it would be strange to call it a victory. Sure, when Russia retreated from the Kiev area, it was an incredible relief. When Russia finally goes home, it will be an incredible relief. That relief, however; will be very much tempered by awareness of what we have lost.

God has seen fit to take away our security, our prosperity, our sense of well-ness and general expectation that the future will be comfortable. May He replace it with hearts that worship and trust Him, eh?  Would that be a worthwhile swap