• In the middle of the stream of refugees Koen keeps the overview | Photo: Sveta Soroka
SOS Ukraine

Prayer is the fuel for our work in Ukraine

Marijke Terlouw - 31 March 2022

I am visiting Christians for Israel’s shelter in western Ukraine. It turns out to be a moment of reunion with many colleagues. Ruslan and his wife Archie from southern Ukraine have just arrived. Nataliya from the Kyiv area, Alina who is always ready to help and translate. And Koen and Ira. It is as if the whole team just happens to be there.

It is these short encounters that serve as the fuel for all those people who can continue their work for God’s people in Ukraine, thanks to your financial contributions. Because we not only watch from distant sidelines. In turns we come to Ukraine to stand shoulder to shoulder with them and share with them everything that comes our way in this work under these extreme circumstances.

From the bottom of my heart
We deliver greetings, wishes and above all prayers in person. We pray together, we read from the Bible. We read about the highway, the road about which Jeremiah speaks. I hear that this meeting is really important to them. That we are present. And I express my admiration and appreciation that they stay to help the Jews flee to Israel – from the bottom of my heart.

Just be a mensch.
Later that afternoon we visit the former Jewish Quarter in town. To the synagogue and then move on again. All of a sudden, a loud bang. Everything is trembling. We look around us in horror, then walk on. Then two more bangs. At the corner of a building a man and a woman are on the phone. They are affected visibly, look pale and on edge. We talk to them. They are fugitives from Charkov. We ask if they could do with some help and give them our phone number. The woman is crying. We say goodbye and I put my arm around her shoulder. That makes her feel better. Sometimes you don’t have to do much. Just be a mensch (a good person). Give charity to a total stranger, it can be done always and everywhere.

Down the road on a corner in front of a pharmacy an elderly man is crying. He is pulling out his handkerchief to wipe off his tears. At the end of the street we are in the center of the town. A man is playing the piano, a child is feeding the pigeons, people ride an electric scooter like tourists. The only difference is that a lot of people are checking their phones. Later we heard that the bombardment was nearby and a military command center was hit.

This is how the air-raid siren sounds in Ukraine. Text continuous under the video.

We stop for another drink at Christians for Israel’s office, before we get into the car and leave for Moldova. It is not necessary to stay any longer, especially since the air-raid siren sounded multiple times. But first we pray for His protection.

Near the border there is a long queue. And we are queued up for more than two hours already. There seems to be no movement at all. It might take hours. Probably extra checks and more hassle after the bombardment.


During the long bus trip to Moldova | Photo: Sveta Soroka

I see packed cars and cats here and there on some people’s laps. Refugees. And now at ten o’clock in the evening families with small children and suitcases walking towards the border. They too are refugees, left in a hurry.

“Prayer is the fuel”
I have been in Ukraine for only a few days, but the impact of the war is immense and widely present. It makes me think of what Koen Carlier shared some two weeks ago about the work of our team and what we can do in our countries besides the financial support. “Prayer is the fuel” to carry on with what we do. Without your prayer our “fuel supply” diminishes more and more, until the engine stops. And that’s what we have to prevent.


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