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Sister Olena in front of her home, which was heavily damaged by a missile blast. The brothers and sisters came to help immediately

JULY 4, 2022
UKRAINE

UPDATE #10 | Brotherly Love Prevails Amid Ongoing Crisis in Ukraine

Examples of “Courage, Care, and Reliability”

UPDATE #10 | Brotherly Love Prevails Amid Ongoing Crisis in Ukraine

Our brothers and sisters in Ukraine have not waned in their support for their fellow worshippers. They continue to show selfless love for one another.

Sister Olena is 81 years old. On June 6, a missile hit only a few meters from her home. The missile destroyed her neighbor’s house, causing a crater seven meters (23 ft) deep. The blast was so powerful that Sister Olena’s house was heavily damaged.

She comments: “I was sleeping, and a wall fell right next to my head. The air filled with dark, thick dust. Glass and stones were scattered everywhere. I thanked Jehovah that I was alive.” Local brothers and sisters came to see Sister Olena minutes after the explosion, including a brother whose own home was heavily damaged. Sister Olena continues: “When the brothers arrived, they were speechless. I was encouraged by their presence. It was so nice that they were next to me.”

Serhii, an elder who regularly visits Sister Olena with youths from the congregation, comments: “When I learned of the explosion near Sister Olena’s house, I was so scared and worried. Only when I saw that she was not severely injured but just had some bruises did I feel relieved. Amazingly, the first item Sister Olena wanted after her home was destroyed was the Bible literature that she had received a few days earlier.”

Happily, her relatives found her a new home. The congregation continues to provide practical support, and the elders contact Sister Olena every day. The brothers and sisters obtained hearing aids for her so that she can benefit from the congregation meetings. She expresses: “Sometimes I feel powerless, but the meetings give me strength. My fellow believers call me often, and I am very grateful for this.”

One couple recounted their experience of taking shelter in the basement of a Kingdom Hall along with 200 other publishers. The wife wrote: “I was particularly impressed by the care that the loving elders provided. They reminded me of David, who faced death when fighting a lion and a bear in order to save the sheep. The elders in the basement had to face death in order to get food and water, as well as petrol so that we could have light. Thanks to this, we were able to conduct congregation meetings and meetings for field service. Even under heavy shelling, these elders regularly visited the brothers and sisters who remained in their homes, bringing them food and water and comforting them. I feel deep respect toward those elders. Before these events, I knew them as teachers and preachers, but now I see them as reliable shepherds. I am so grateful for their example of courage, care, and reliability!”

The publishers in one congregation in Ukraine wrote to the Ukraine branch regarding those taking the lead in the relief efforts: “Our hearts are filled with deep gratitude. We are amazed at how Jehovah cares for us through our fellow believers. We have truly experienced the words of Jesus: ‘By this all will know that you are my disciples—if you have love among yourselves.’”—John 13:35.

As of June 21, 2022, the following totals have been reported from Ukraine. These statistics are based on confirmed reports from the local brothers. However, the actual numbers may be higher, since it is difficult to maintain communication with all regions of the country.

Effect on Our Brothers and Sisters

  • 42 publishers have died

  • 83 publishers have been injured

  • 31,185 publishers are currently displaced

  • 495 homes were destroyed

  • 557 homes sustained major damage

  • 1,429 homes sustained minor damage

  • 5 Kingdom Halls were destroyed

  • 8 Kingdom Halls sustained major damage

  • 34 Kingdom Halls sustained minor damage

Relief Efforts

  • 27 Disaster Relief Committees (DRCs) are operating in Ukraine

  • 52,348 individuals were assisted directly by the DRCs to find safer accommodations

  • 23,433 publishers have fled to other countries and are being assisted by fellow worshippers