How do you make a house a home without its roof and windows? One Ukrainian family no longer has to worry, thanks to repairs provided by Samaritan’s Purse and our local partners. Katerina* and her two children, Ionna*, 14, and Denys*, 8, are grateful to be in their home again, even in a country still at war. At least now they’re safe from the elements, which was an unattainable dream less than a year ago.
Katerina and her kids still recall with terrifying detail the nine days they spent in her basement with two other frightened families. Early on, when the enemy shelling would pause, the group ventured outside once a day to cook a meal. Soon, though, even that became too dangerous, leaving the families with little to eat. Katerina went hungry for days and gave what crumbs of bread she had to her children.
At times she wondered if they would be reliving the Holodomor of 1932-1933, a dark part of Ukrainian history when Soviet expansion caused widespread famine. “It seemed like my great-grandmother’s stories about [this famine] had become a reality,” Katerina remembers thinking, unsure every moment what their future would look like. “Life was rotting away before my eyes.”
Then it grew worse. On March 5, 2022, Katerina woke up to realize her house had no electricity or running water. That same day, she heard the ominous crack of a fighter jet buzz low overhead, directly above the house, and realized just how quickly a direct shelling could wipe out the house and the lives of her children. With the fighting this close at hand, every time Katerina looked at Ionna and Denys, she realized it could be her last.
She had to do whatever possible to save her children. They had to make their escape.
With enemy fire threatening them at every moment, they fled the red zone, relocating in Kyiv. But soon, even the capital was not safe.
In April that year, the family crossed into Slovakia.
For four months, they lived in constant uncertainty, wondering if they would ever return home, and whether what was left of their home would still be there. Even with the roof gone and windows blown out, they longed to be back there.
By August, they needed to make the difficult trek back. Denys had a disability and needed treatments only available in Ukraine.
When they finally reached their home, it was there as they had left it, roofless and without windows. With nowhere else to go, they began living out of the broken-down structure, fearing the approaching fall, when snow and plummeting temperatures would also arrive.
Praise God that Samaritan’s Purse staff and local partners showed up first, offering her the needed repairs.
Some of the materials used to repair Katerina’s home were from the more than 1 million pounds of relief supplies Samaritan’s Purse had delivered to Ukraine since the start of the conflict.
“God always travels incognito. And this time, His help was through them.”
Within a month, the family not only had a protective roof and windows, but electricity, light, and heat were also restored! The family was able to weather the fall and winter months in their own home, and Denys and Ionna have been able to sleep without fear of a piece of ceiling falling on their heads.
“God always travels incognito,” said Katerina, giving thanks to Samaritan’s Purse and the local partners for the opportunity to live in her house again. “And this time, His help was through them.”
Please pray for Samaritan’s Purse staff and our local partners as we continue to provide shelter, clean water, and desperately-needed food to the war-weary citizens of Ukraine. Pray also that God would bring an end to the conflict soon.
*Name changed for security
Your support enables Samaritan’s Purse to share the love of Jesus by providing assistance to people impacted by the Russia/Ukraine conflict.