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Despite facing economic hardship once the war started, Natalia (left) and her daughter, Habriela, gave shelter to displaced publishers

JULY 20, 2022

Helping Others in Need Despite Facing Deprivation

Helping Others in Need Despite Facing Deprivation

Nearly 47,000 of Jehovah’s Witnesses have been displaced because of the ongoing war in Ukraine. Many have fled to safer areas within the country, where their fellow worshippers offer them clothing, meals, shelter, and other necessities. Even though these hospitable brothers and sisters are also facing economic hardship, they willingly extend themselves to help their brothers in need.

Olha (far right) with displaced brothers and sisters

Olha in Uman, Ukraine, and her non-Witness husband hosted a total of 300 publishers during the first two months of the war. Many of these displaced brothers and sisters stayed only one night before moving on. Olha was often given only a moment’s notice in the middle of the night before people arrived at her door. On one occasion, Olha hosted 22 brothers and sisters at the same time. This experience has also given Olha’s 18-year-old son, Stanislav, the opportunity to practice generosity. He often sleeps on the floor so that the displaced brothers can sleep in his bedroom.

“I feel great joy in the fact that during these disastrous times, I am able to be helpful to Jehovah’s people,” Olha relates. “It makes me very happy.”

Liudmyla and Andriy

Andriy and his wife, Liudmyla, hosted 200 Witnesses over the course of five weeks. They once hosted 18 people on the same night. “As the branch office had directed us, we had some supply of food. We used it for the displaced brothers for a week and a half,” Andriy says. “The brothers would leave cards with money, and we would use that to buy whatever food we could find for the next guests. The Disaster Relief Committee provided food too, so we never lacked anything.”

In March, Vita of Ivano-Frankivsk moved out of her apartment and went to live with her sister so that displaced Witnesses could use the apartment. “I do not view it as a sacrifice but as an expression of love,” Vita says. “What I do for the displaced brothers brings me joy. We are all one family.”

Natalia lives with her husband and daughter, Habriela, in Ternopil. All of them lost their jobs when the war began and they had to spend much of their life savings to care for their needs. Still, they were willing to house a displaced sister and her disabled daughter.

Vita (far right) with displaced Witnesses who live in her apartment while she stays with a relative

“I remembered the experience of a sister in Africa who had very little materially but still housed 14 brothers and sisters for a convention, and no one lacked anything,” Natalia relates. She explains that this experience helped her to put others’ interests first.

Although facing challenging circumstances, our brothers and sisters in Ukraine wisely are putting their trust in Jehovah as they “follow the course of hospitality.”—Romans 12:13.