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Comfort and Support Amid Tears

by Misha and Lena Petrochenko | Mar 2024 | Heartbeat, HB Europe, HB Ukraine

It is impossible to get used to war in your country – death, pain and tears seem never to end. War is violent, painful and destructive, taking innocent lives away. Today, Ukrainians are wounded. The scars will always remind us of those we owe our lives to.

Ukrainians have been living in an “unreal” reality and walking with Jesus on the water for two years of full-scale war. And yet, an incredible God walks the streets of ruin and gathers us under His wings as we continue to live and serve for the sake of God and His kingdom!

Because the ugly war has destroyed not only houses but also many families, we need each other to share the grief. God has called us to be supportive, share the pain of loss, show His endless love and be with broken ones.

For nearly 10 years, since Russia first occupied the Eastern regions of Ukraine, we as a church have been serving the widows and moms of fallen soldiers. We share their loss and pain. During the full-scale war, we continue to do the same. In 2023, we started the Volunteer Center, a place of support for military families and victims of the war. Our center has become a blessed place of comfort and support for many families, a safe space where people feel loved.

We lead the support groups, celebrate holidays, make crafts, do puzzles, read the Bible together and pray. We talk a lot, cry, hug and sometimes sit in silence. God is there, and He knows the pain of loss. Through ordinary people, He hugs every widow and mom. He allows us to touch the wounded hearts, to embrace them with love, and to make their burden a little lighter.

One mother of a fallen hero shared, “Since my son’s death, I have been going through horrible pain. But here I am among women like me with the same pain. I thank God that during the storm, He sent His people who support and love us. It helps me to move ahead from grief to sadness. I would say, light sadness…because our children are warriors of light.”

Christ strengthens us in our struggles and shows His incredible miracles and extraordinary love. Caring for each other, saying kind words and being a light of hope for somebody is a tremendous privilege. And in the darkness, we all pray our love will not become cold.

Misha and Lena Petrochenko are Free Methodist leaders in Ukraine.

memorial wall of fallen soldiers