Delivering Winter Supplies to War-Weary Ukrainians
As Temperatures dip into the single digits in Ukraine, Samaritan's Purse is supplying firewood and warm clothing to residents to help them survive.
Tetiana* and her family faced plummeting temperatures in Ukraine with a wood stove, but sadly, no fuel to fill it. The forests nearby had all been riddled with explosives from an earlier occupation by enemy forces, so gathering wood in the usual ways was out of the question. Unexploded ordnance was everywhere.
“We could not provide ourselves with wood,” said Tetiana, a wife and mother of two who lives in Kharkiv oblast (region). “The forests are mined, I have no job, and also, I have health problems. Realizing that your family will not be able to heat the home and keep children warm is very difficult. Every day, the question remains the same—will we survive the winter?”
Still, this mother, who has been a Christian believer for many years, persevered knowing that God would watch over her.
“Faith in God gave us strength and hope that we would not be left alone with our problems. Soon, God would answer our prayers.”
That answer came when Samaritan’s Purse delivered to her home more than a cord and a half of wood, as well as four sets of winter clothes.
“I see a pile of firewood in our yard, and I can’t believe that my house will be warm and I will be able to boil tea once again,” Tetiana said.
Over a month has passed since the day that special delivery arrived and Tetiana continues to be amazed at God’s provision.
“Our life with faith in God and His goodness goes on,” Tetiana said. “The house is warm. The children are happy to be able to play and learn lessons in comfort and coziness.”
Along with the wood, Tetiana received a small booklet that told her about Samaritan’s Purse work across the embattled nation. The simple pamphlet fueled her prayers.
“Every day, I pray for those who have helped us and are still helping us,” she said.
Understanding Her Journey
Tetiana’s village was occupied by enemy forces for nearly seven months, beginning on Feb. 26, 2022, a mere two days after her country was attacked.
“In the first days of the war, our house was heavily damaged: the windows, walls, and roof. When enemy troops entered the village, they started looting everything they could. Our house was not spared: they took away food, dishes, vegetables, canned food—everything that could be eaten or eaten from.”
Due to the damage to their home, Tetiana’s family found refuge at her sister’s home on the other side of the village. Sixteen people lived under that roof.
“During the occupation, all of us—adults and children—supported each other and prayed, prayed, and prayed again. We stayed in the cellar for about seven months. Every time there was a shelling, we were afraid that we would collapse in the cellar and no one would find us. We begged God to hear our prayers and stay alive.”
Shelling continued every day and they couldn’t even venture outside long enough to cook a meal over an open fire. This proved to be particularly hard on the children.
Tetiana’s youngest daughter, who was only 2 years old at the time, cried almost continually—and she is still struggling. In addition, Tetiana also watched as the physical and mental health of her elder daughter began to deteriorate. Her studies suffered and she began to withdraw from others.
In Sept. 2022, the shelling intensified in their village. Artillery fell all around the cellar where they were hiding.
“We thought that the next shell would be the end,” Tetiana said.
But they prayed that everyone would survive.
“God saved us,” she said. “Everyone remained unharmed. On Sept. 26, 2022, thanks to God, we were liberated! This joy, after months of suffering and exhaustion, gave us hope and strength to start a more or less ‘peaceful’ life.”
During the following year, a local church worked to repair the family’s home and make it habitable again. It is there that they received that precious load of firewood.
“Our whole family is very grateful to Samaritan’s Purse for providing us with solid fuel and warm clothes,” Tetiana said. “Thanks to you we can keep warm at home during this cold winter. We are very grateful to God and to everyone who contributed to help. Thank you!”
Continuing to Minister Across Ukraine
“Winters in Ukraine are extremely harsh, and can be cold to the point of being life-threatening,” Samaritan’s Purse Ukraine Country Director Ryan Lane said. “In the midst of full-scale invasion, this natural difficulty has been exacerbated by near constant attacks, meaning that Ukrainians in the east and south have to worry about being killed just from leaving their home to collect firewood. Samaritan’s Purse is responding, in the Name of Jesus, to provide essential winter supplies such as wood-burning heaters, firewood, and winter clothing to vulnerable Ukrainians who are suffering under the enemy onslaught.”
Since the conflict began, Samaritan’s Purse aid to Ukraine has included over 1,200 cords of wood, nearly 7,000 wood stoves, and more than 60,000 clothing sets (including a hat, scarf, gloves, socks, and thermal underwear) in addition to 227 million pounds of food and 23 million gallons of clean water. We have delivered all of these critically needed supplies in Jesus’ Name, while also providing over 400,000 Bibles in the Ukrainian language.
Please pray that God would strengthen the Ukrainian people and that peace would come to the region soon.
*Name has been changed for security purposes.