It’s sad to believe that war still exists today. But it’s real, and the consequences are devastating. We often forget about the victims: families, fathers, mothers and especially children. War is happening all over the world. Though it doesn't often make headline news, bombs are still going off, lives are being taken, people are suffering. The outcome of war is broken societies with needy people. There’s no quick fix; it requires coming together to mend, listen to, and restore the soul of every victim.
In a city just 35 kilometres from the war zone in Donetsk, Ukraine, children are transported from their war-torn villages to day camp. Given a safe place to play with other kids, they can finally have fun and just be kids—without worrying about getting shot or bombed. This summer camp is organized by a local church and supported by our partner organization, Mission Eurasia.
I had the great privilege of seeing this camp in action and spending time with the children of war in July 2015. Many of the children’s mothers came to the camp to escape the dangers at home—solitude in the midst of great strife. Stories of their friends from the villages who couldn't make it to the summer camp because they were still locked up in their basement from shelling the night before were told with tear-filled eyes.
Nothing I could say could comfort these broken-hearted moms. No human words can bring peace to the heart. Only the Words of God can do this.
As the mothers gathered around a tree-shaded area, I began to pray with them.
Giving each mom a Hope Scripture magazine and a New Testament in their own language, I took them to the back pages of the New Testament and shared with them the hope-filled message of the gospel.
One mother asked, “Where's a pen? I want to sign my name in the back right now.” The other moms nodded in agreement, recognizing their need for Jesus in their life and the hope that only He can bring.
Another mother, when I handed her a Hope magazine, clutched it to her chest. "I received a Hope magazine and I love it,” she told me. “I read it constantly and my daughter asks me to read it to her every night before bed.”
After a full day of camp in the summer heat, we drove the kids and their mothers back to their war-torn village of Avdeyevka. Driving quickly down bumpy, bombed-out roads was a tactic to avoid being targeted by the opposition forces. To help the kids stay in the camp mode of fun and laughter, I made funny faces and took silly selfie photos with the boys sitting beside me in the van.
When we arrived in their village, we said our goodbyes. I personally can't stop what is happening in Ukraine, but I can bring them Good News of a Saviour who has promised us all peace one day.