An Ongoing War
Feb 20, 2019 | 3 min read | Dave Patty
For these people, the sound of war is never far away.
Severodonesk is just 30 km (19 miles) from the front lines of military conflict in eastern Ukraine. In this city of 150,000, over 75,000 people are internally displaced. They fled the war zone, leaving burned out apartments and businesses for what they thought would be a temporary stay in Severodonesk. It is possible they may never return home.
Mykola and Anna Semenov lived behind the lines in the early days of the conflict, witnessing the destruction of their hometown and church. Now they are part of the Josiah Venture western team in Ternopil, giving special attention to strengthening churches in the eastern war zone.
Once a month, they travel with a team to Severodonesk to serve there for a full week. The trip takes a grueling 25 hours one way on difficult roads in an unstable region.
Their van is always full of food and clothes for the believers there, who are often struggling for the basic necessities. But, a key part of their work is to establish youth ministries in this needy city. There are a few small churches, but no consistent work with young people.
Because of their initiative, teams are forming in several of these churches. Last month, they participated in a weekend of training to equip these leaders to reach and disciple young people, using principles from the ministry of Christ.
Mykola and another JV team member, named Edik, have over ten trips planned in 2019 to Severodonetsk and the region that borders the war line between Ukraine and Russian-occupied zones. Being from the East, these families are well-connected with the Christians who remain in this area. Their work to equip youth leaders is often accompanied by the low rumble of shells exploding in the distance.
On top of the physical war, an even more significant spiritual battle is raging, one that determines the eternal destinies of young people who have not yet heard the saving message of Jesus Christ.
For all of us, the sound of war is never far away.
Thanks for joining in the fight,
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