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A True Story from the War in Ukraine

Yesterday I had the privilege of translating for Fyodr, a great brother-in-Christ, and pastor from Eastern Ukraine.

In addition to preaching I also shared one testimony from one refugee who lost everything, including hope until she found Fyodr’s church, “Light of the Gospel.”

You’ll find the testimony and sermon in the video below.

Pastor Fyodr Bezpalov from Druzhkovka, Ukraine speaks from Revelation 3 and shares some of how the war in Ukraine has affected his life and ministry.

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A true story from Eastern Ukraine

“Hello I am a refugee from Starobeshevo, 37 km from Donetsk. I’m 41 years old and I want to share with you some of the history of my life. I had a complete family, a husband, two children, a son 22 years old and a daughter 17 years old and a grandmother, my mother who is disabled.

I worked in the hospital as a nurse, I loved to grow flowers, and to help elderly people. Everything seemed pretty good I didn’t really have any problems.
On August 13th, 2014 military equipment started to roll into our town and we could hear the sound of gunfire, we knew that trouble was coming. Within three days we realized that this was a horrific and frightening war!
On 15 August a particularly fierce battle began where we lived not far from the river. They shelled us for eight days straight, there was no gas, no electricity. Shells landed in our garden, in our yard, and on our home.
Gas lines burst everything was burning, it smelled like gunpowder. Everything shook in the basement where we were sitting and our house began to fall in on our heads. Everything was frightening, we were hungry and cold. It was painful to look at my sick mother who’s had three heart attacks and is a diabetic.
It was especially sad for the young, for the children who just started to live and now understood that at any moment a shell could land on their home.
But God had mercy on us, my mother never reading prayers about salvation, I read the Lords prayer because I didn’t know any other prayers. One shell landed in our garden and just sat there. In our area of town roofs were blown off, windows were blown out, but we remained alive.
After 8 days there was a break in the fighting. We had three days that was more or less quiet and during that time we just tried to come to ourselves, clean up the broken glass, and help the neighbors, and to help bury our dead neighbors.
On 26 August airplanes flew over and started to bomb us. I just can’t communicate on paper what that was like the bombs simply were falling anywhere the wind would blow. Everything around us was destroyed, houses, yards, animals, and people. And no one could go anywhere, there was no way out.
Time went by, I don’t know how much, I was in shock. But after a while it calmed down and so we had a chance to get out of there. The men sent out the elderly, their wives and children to be further from this terrible scene. They, however remained while we left to our relatives in Enakievo near Gorlivko.
For about a week we didn’t have any communication with them but watching the TV I found out that on the 5th of September they announced to cease-fire. So things were getting a little better for us and we continued to hope that it would get even better.
The town where we were staying at that moment was surrounded on all sides by separatists, bombs were landing on the outskirts of town where they had set up checkpoints, not a single store was working and there was no electricity or water or food. The mobile phone system was usually down but every once in a while it would come up and we could make calls.
And so on September 6 at 9 o’clock in the morning I received a very frightening phone call which would turn my life upside down, take away my health, and change the color of my long dark hair to white.
From the mouth of my friend came these words “Alla, hang in there! Your husband is no more, he died, they shot him in the field where he had gone to dig potatoes, carrots, beets, and cucumbers. He wanted to take the food to the starving people in the village and to children but he didn’t make it.”
They buried him with bullets flying overhead. I couldn’t go to his funeral, they buried my husband without me and all the while there was heavy fighting going on in our town.
On the 12th of September we decided to try to remove ourselves further from the war because there was no medicine, no food, and our money was gone. Also since we had been living in the basement so long my mother got sick and was coughing.
They called from the town of Druzhovka and with great difficulty we were able to escape. Some friends helped us find a house. We fixed it up as much as we could since there was no water and the windows were broken out, with the help of our neighbors we put glass back in and now we have lived there for more than a year.
In November 2015 people told us about the Light of the Gospel Church and so would start a completely different story which I hope will have a good ending. On November 20, 2015 my mother and I went to this church. They welcomed us very nicely with a smile on their faces, you don’t see that very often now.
The people in this prayer house have really helped us and we are thankful that we had a war place to get through the winter because of them. And they also help out with food and clothing. They have good relationship to others with warm and kind words.
We attend the services and the more we see and hear the more we understand how much these people know about us and are trying to help us, I’m not the only, one there are hundreds of us whom the church has welcomed as their own children.
Every time when they give packets of food I think about the fact that there are believers who are donating this. It all costs money and takes patience to put everything together, you also need energy and time. Fyodr Bezpalov and those who work with him put into every packet not only food but also part of their soul just as do those believers who are sending this food from far away.
I know that in every corner of Ukraine is not just believers who know about us and about our trouble and they don’t allow us to starve, every kilogram is someone’s hard work, thank you so much!
Thank you to our pastor and to those who work with them, they taught us how to pray, I want to learn how to read the Bible, to have fellowship of believers, they are good and honest people. I know that all they do comes from God and from their souls and pure hearts.
As for me, the war introduced me to a new world, the spiritual world, and I’m very happy about that. I received a lot of new faithful and honest friends, brothers and sisters. And for that I thank the Light of the Gospel Church and, of course, The Lord our God.  I thank you all.
To those who read this letter, peace, health, patience and blessings to your family.”
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I am a pastor, missionary, and preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Ukraine since 2007. God blessed me with a wonderful wife and 5 amazing children! My greatest passion is to teach, encourage, and exhort others to turn to Jesus, who is Savior, Lord, and God!

  • Thank you so much for sharing this. I got choked up reading. Acts of kindness go a long way.

    • And I got choked up translating it!

  • LAURA KEY

    God bless Russia. It has taken in over 1,200,000 people from eastern Ukraine fleeing the war. And it has transported dozens of children to the hospitals for specialized care –many blinded or crippled by what happened in Donbass.