Longing for Joy, Peace, and Healing

Three siblings look forward to summer camp

In Ukraine, a generation of children and young people are at risk: exposed to stress, violence, and loss as the war continues, with no immediate end in sight. Over five million children have had their education disrupted, more than half of the nation’s children have been displaced, and many children have experienced violence and tragedy. 

Lyudmyla lives in western Ukraine, and although she is only 17, she has already been through more than many people experience in a lifetime.

In 2015, when she was nine, her family fled the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine. They became displaced in western Ukraine and had to start all over again, with a new school and new community, living in a remote village. Her father found a job washing cars, but his low wages meant the family struggled with poverty.

Then in February 2022, Russia launched its large-scale invasion of Ukraine. That summer, Lyudmyla and her family were utterly devastated when a missile struck the car wash where Lyudmyla’s father worked, and he later died in hospital from his injuries.

Along with their grief, the family had many challenges to face. Their breadwinner was gone, and difficulties of poverty became more pressing than ever. Lyudmyla’s mother, Tetyana, is entitled to state support as a widow, but because of bureaucratic delays, she is yet to receive any payment.

In the meantime, Lyudmyla’s grandmother, 71, had broken her hip and became bedbound, requiring constant care, and Lyudmyla’s sister Anastasia, 13, became very sick. The local doctors haven’t been able to find the reason but did find cysts for which she had to be hospitalized. Anastasia will need to return to hospital soon. She is worried and quiet. 

Throughout their struggles and in the midst of their grief, Lyudmyla’s family has not been alone. When they first arrived in Sarny as refugees from the east, they were enrolled in Mission Without Borders’ family sponsorship programme. Now, Lyudmyla and her two younger sisters have been invited to one of the Mission’s summer camps. 

Here they will spend a week away from home, making friends, eating delicious food, trying new activities, playing games, and learning more about the Bible.

Lyudmyla said, “For me, going to summer camp is an adventure and the chance to see another place. I always wanted to see what lies beyond our village. I look forward to talking and spending time with others my age and also spending time with the leaders who have experience in walking with Jesus. I need to talk to them as I have many questions.”

Tetyana said, “I’ll be so happy for my children if they go to summer camp. I know that it’ll be a place where they’ll be safe and blessed. There will be a lot less stress at camp than at home. 

“I hope that their emotional wounds will be healed. Like all children, they have a need for joy, cheerful emotions, and good memories. I cannot give this to them, so I am thankful to the Mission for this opportunity.”

Mykola Bogdanets, director of MWB Ukraine, said, “As the war continues to devastate Ukraine, the Mission’s summer camps remain more vital than ever. Here, children and young people have the chance to experience joy and fun away from all the challenges and hardships of their everyday lives.

Here, children and young people have the chance to experience joy.


“And most importantly, at summer camp, they have a chance to hear the gospel and be taught lessons from the Bible, that they might know the Prince of Peace for themselves. Then, no matter what circumstances they find themselves in, they may experience the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding and will guard their hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).”

Please consider donating today – and support us in giving as many children like Lyudmyla joy and peace at summer camp.

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Children will be afforded the opportunity to go to one of MWB’s Summer Camps

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