For Immediate Release
September 16, 2022
Mission Eurasia Rushes to Liberated and Devastated Izyum with iCare Food Packages
IZYUM, UKRAINE – Mission Eurasia staff and volunteers rushed into devastated Izyum, Ukraine, on Wednesday, September 14, with hundreds of iCare food packages.
They encountered a heartbreaking landscape: bullet-riddled buildings without water, electricity or natural gas, traumatized citizens cooking over iron buckets and so desperate for food they nearly turned over supply vehicles, and a mass grave that confirmed the unspeakable and terrible atrocities everyone suspected.
The Mission Eurasia volunteers sped their way to Izyum on the same day Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited the city. Izyum is located about 75 miles southeast of Kharkiv, the administrative center of the province.
“We were among the first people to get to Izyum,” said Denis Gorenkov, field ministries executive director for Mission Eurasia. “The city is still being demined and is still a dangerous place. The security services of Ukraine are working at a mass grave of victims of Russian terror that was found in the city.
“The locals kept hugging us and crying with gratitude,” Gorenkov continued. “At the same time, the people were so hungry that they were ready to overturn our vans to get the food.”
“I have never seen such a scale of disaster,” noted Emir, who heads up one of Mission Eurasia’s regional ministry centers in eastern Ukraine. “People have no water, electricity, or gas. Many of them lost count of the days and cried when we told them we were Christians of Ukraine, and all the Ukrainian people were thinking and praying for them, and that is why God sent us with help provided by the global Christian family."
One of the haunting memories from the first day in Izyum: a yard in the center of multistory buildings with shattered apartment windows, walls filled with holes from mines and cars riddled with bullet holes.
The people living there had no electricity, water, or gas. They cooked meals outside on makeshift stoves they created from iron buckets. But at the same time, these survivors had not lost their human dignity and continued to care for each other. The Mission Eurasia team spent several hours with these residents, providing iCare food packages, talking with them, and sharing the Gospel.
“Leaving this yard, we promised that group to visit them regularly, develop a friendship with them, and take care of them, showing them the love of Christ,” Gorenkov said.
“We ask you to please redouble your efforts to help the people in need in the territories liberated from the Russian occupation in Ukraine. We want to return to that yard and many other similar yards where people cook their meals over a fire. We want to support them and bring them closer to the Kingdom and the church of Jesus Christ.”
Sergey Rakhuba, president of Mission Eurasia, noted that national volunteers from his organization in Ukraine were able to respond with such quickness because of the numerous Mission Eurasia refugee assistance centers located throughout Ukraine. Mission Eurasia packed hundreds of food parcels that contain enough food for a family of four to five for a least a week and a copy of the Scriptures, which they hurried to Izyum, Kharkiv and other liberated villages, literally with Godspeed.
“This fast response to care for people desperate for assistance is largely due to our lay leaders on the ground, young people who we’ve equipped for practical ministry through our School Without Walls and Next Generation Professional Leaders initiatives,” Rakhuba said.
“They are the ones packing the food and distributing it to the residents of the region. And they will continue to deliver food, offer spiritual support and crisis counseling to people who are now liberated but have a long road ahead of them. The people of Izyum and Kharkiv Oblast will be dealing with the trauma and devastation for some time, but our national workers are in it for the long haul.”
To help Mission Eurasia provide emergency humanitarian aid to Kharkiv Oblast, please visit missioneurasia.org.