The Bienko Family’s story

Millions of people remain internally displaced in Ukraine two years after the full-scale war began.

Often, their home village or town has been destroyed, and they are traumatized by their experiences of war. Living in temporary accommodation, it's hard to know what the future holds.

Lesya Bienko and her family come from Mariupol, Ukraine, the strategic port city that came under siege for over 80 days. She remembers well those early days of war when confusion and terror gripped her family. 

"We lived in horror and fear every single day," she said. "My five boys saw a lot of things that no children – and no human – should ever see or experience.

"Soon after the war began in February 2022, phone reception disappeared. Neither my husband nor I knew what was going to happen. We just hoped for the best. 

"Mariupol was then surrounded and turned into a trap with almost no way out. Vehicles trying to evacuate Mariupol came under Russian shelling, even though they were civilian cars.

"Over the next two months, we lived in the basement, waiting for things to improve – but they never did. Going outside was very dangerous. There were many wounded people who couldn't get any help from doctors. 

"We cooked on a woodfire and used melted snow to wash. It is hard for me and my children to even think about this time, so I would rather not talk about it anymore…" 

Lesya and her children finally managed to flee Mariupol while her husband had joined the military. There was no way of keeping in contact. 

Lesya said, "After a long time, I could finally use my phone and hear my husband's voice. He didn't know if we were even alive, and he said that this fear was eating him alive every day."

Continue reading below…

Lesya and her children are now displaced in Sarny, western Ukraine, where they came into contact with Mission Without Borders (MWB).

Lesya said, "We live in relative safety now. Due to our experiences, we've become different people. Something in us has changed forever. The feeling of anxiety never goes away. The questions in my head about the future never give me rest."

Something in us has changed forever.


MWB is providing regular support to 20 displaced families in Sarny seeking to rebuild their lives, traumatized and far from home. Each family receives regular food and hygiene parcels, donated goods, and emotional and spiritual support from staff members Sergiy and Lyudmyla Soroka, who visit them regularly.

Lesya said, "I was happy to meet such nice people here, Sergiy and Lyudmyla Soroka. 

"We receive food parcels, hygiene items, stationery, clothing, and footwear from Mission Without Borders. These are basic necessities, and I'm so thankful for them. I know that many people are praying for us, and I appreciate this kind of support very much."

Sergiy, the MWB family worker who regularly visits Lesya's family, said, "It's a difficult situation for this family. Lesya carries the whole family on her shoulders. She is exhausted and out of reserves. The father is on the frontline, and if he returns home safely, he will still be heavily traumatized.

This hope is fading.


"Lesya was living in hope of victory and her husband's return, but this hope is fading as there's no sign of the war ending."

He added, "Our country has already faced many challenges and will face more in the future. I am happy that we as Christians and the Mission are at the forefront to help people."

The regular support that MWB provides to displaced families is desperately needed – and many more people need our help. 

Will you join us?

4.9 Million

Refugees are internally displaced in Ukraine

Sponsor a Ukraine Family



Give hope and dignity.