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1,000 Counselors, Mobile Medical Clinics Deploy to Combat Zone: 'Fulfilling Christ's Commandments'

05-28-2024
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Mission Eurasia provides mobile medical relief in Ukraine
Mission Eurasia provides mobile medical relief in Ukraine

KHERSON, Ukraine – Russia is attacking Ukraine from multiple locations, attempting to control a major city in the northeast. Meanwhile, in the southern Kherson region, Russia has launched offensives against ten settlements, all to seize more territory and take advantage of the brief window before more American weapons arrive in the country. 

As CBN News discovered recently on a trip to the frontlines, there's great danger to those trying to bring aid and comfort to people still trapped by war.

"This is my friend Vitaly. We are running, trying to escape from the drone. He was hit," the voice of Yevheniy Bondarenko, a Ukrainian Christian, can be heard on an iPhone video as he records the moments after a Russian drone hits the area they are traveling in.

On an isolated road, north of Ukraine's frontline battle with Russian forces in Kherson, CBN News joins a convoy of cars bringing urgent aid to villagers trapped by fighting, as a Russian drone narrowly misses the lead car carrying Pastor Vitaly.

Moving forward, we see the damage. 

All four tires are ripped to shreds. Windows are shattered and shrapnel struck throughout the car. Fortunately, Pastor Vitaly and the others are miraculously unharmed.

They drive a few more miles down the road to make sure they are out of drone range.

"This is how things look like in Kherson but since our lives have been saved, God protected us and all the vehicles, so we are ok," Bondarenko says on the phone video.

Bondarenko, who serves as our guide on this trip, fully understands the risks involved in a war zone.

He serves with Mission Eurasia, a Christian organization that's been ministering here since war started in 2022.

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Bondarenko is from Kherson.  

Multiple times a day, artillery and mortar fire rain down on the city as both sides defend their positions.

Here we encounter the Dniper River which essentially divides the city of Kherson into two. One bank is controlled by the Ukrainians while the other is controlled by the Russians. Less than 3 miles separates the two armies.

More than two years ago, 85% of Kherson's residents fled. Bondarenko stayed back to provide aid to those remaining.

On this day, as Russian forces launch mortars toward Ukrainian positions, CBN News witnesses Bondarenko and a fellow pastor moving quickly as explosions go off nearby. They are distributing supplies to dozens of residents trapped between the two armies.

Olena, darting out of her home still wearing her nightgown, holds her young son tight and waits in line. 

"This is our home. Yes, of course, we are scared, but where else can we go? War is everywhere. At least we don't feel abandoned today, that someone has come with aid and cares for us," Olena tells CBN News.

Bondarenko takes time at the end to share a word of encouragement from the Bible and leads the group in prayer for safety. 

Neighborhood resident Anastasia is touched by the ministry time.

"I realize my confidence and boldness must come from the Bible. God says to rely on Him and He will not abandon us," Anastasia says. 

That promise is what brought Svitlana Kharakterova and a team of Mission Eurasia medical volunteers to this village not far from the frontlines.

With the sound of gunfire and explosions nearby, five doctors, a cardiologist, urologist, family doctor, and ophthalmologist, volunteer around the clock caring for folks who haven't seen a specialist in months.

"We've been traveling to the war zone areas for some time now because these places don't have functioning medical facilities or there isn't one that's easily accessible because of the ongoing conflict," says Kharakterova, a nurse with the Christian Medical Association of Ukraine

About a year ago, Mission Eurasia decided that the only way to reach some of the hardest-hit regions, especially those areas that are in the conflict zone, was to use a mobile clinic. 

Today, Mission Eurasia travels extensively throughout the eastern and southern parts of Ukraine.

"In the south and east of Ukraine, the medical logistics is difficult, complicated or destroyed so people cannot get to a large city with a hospital so that's why the medical mobile clinics comes to them," Denis Horenkov, a former long-time volunteer with Mission Eurasia, tells CBN News.

In addition to medical outreach, Mission Eurasia partners with several Christian organizations to train more than a thousand volunteers to provide counseling in these times of war.

"There are so many people who need help, not only medical help, but also psychological and spiritual help so that's why every mobile clinic outreach includes professionals who can assist with trauma care," Horenkov says.

Whether it's delivering wood stoves to families in areas with damaged electrical grids to printing more than two million copies of the Bible or providing food to war victims, Mission Eurasia has a singular mission: rebuild their war-torn nation while sharing the love of Christ.

"What we are doing here is fulfilling Christ's commandments and it is obvious that people see that those who help them are connected to the church, so they are more open to the Gospel, and they are more open to becoming part of a church community," Horenkov says.

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