Life in ….. Ukraine, part 2

It has been 1 1/2 months since I have posted anything.  Many times I have started to write something, yet, I didn’t finish the post.  So, for my sake, I would like to continue with some “life” things since my last post which was entitled, “Life in eastern Ukraine”.

As the calendar turned to April, the temperatures were beginning to rise and more people were out on the streets.  The ladies who work on Pushkina Boulevard were cleaning it up and planting tulips.  The first weekend in April, people gathered near Lenin’s monument.

April 6 a large group of people walked from Lenin Square, up Artema Street to the Donetsk Regional Administration building.  They were able to overpower the police and gain entry to the building.  Within hours, tires and other things were being carried to the building to build a barricade.

I read Twitter and Facebook that evening to watch the progress made.  The next morning, I got up early to take a few photos.  As you can see, the group had been busy throughout the evening and night to build their barricade around the building.

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During Monday night, the protestors took all of the trash bins from our neighborhood to use in extending the barricades.  On Tuesday, I began to see men with black masks and large sticks or bats walking near the apartment building where I lived.  One of them scared my neighbor, and I found her inside our entry shaking and almost in tears.

As we were talking, I noticed at the end of our street a barricade had been built.  At first, I thought maybe the people in the two nearby buildings were building the barricade to try to keep the protestors out of our neighborhood.  Upon further inspection, I found that the protestors had built it, and that a large metal oil drum was sitting inside to keep their guys warm at night.

Later that day, a couple of people came to my apartment for an English Bible study.  Both of them experience the sight of the barricades for the first time and were in shock at what they found.  They were beginning to see what life was like in my world.

Each day that week the barricades became larger until they completely surrounded the administration building.  Traffic was impeded on the main street by the apartment and I heard horns honking all day long.

I had not traveled much outside the city, but had been invited to an evangelism event in Dzerzhinsk on Saturday, April 12.  I was praying about attending the event and finally decided to go. It felt so good to get out of the city.  I enjoyed my time with lots of special needs children.  However, honestly, I was taken aback by the defeated feelings of many of the people in the city.

It was chilly that day and our small group had planned an evangelism event that day as well, so I drove back to Donetsk to be a part of it.  Upon arriving, it seemed that things were going well, but then I noticed a fighter jet flying above our heads.  It flew over us a couple of times.

After the event, I went home and met with a brother for prayer.  When he left, I turned on my computer to learn that the protestors had been busy in other parts of the region and had taken over numerous city and regional buildings.  Armed conflict had begun.

Through conversations with my supervisors, the decision for me to leave was made.  At this point, it was my desire to leave for a week or two until things calmed down.  However, I did decide to pack up some of my things just in case.

I spent all day Sunday, April 13 packing and getting my car ready to travel.  Early Monday, April 14 I drove out of Donetsk, heading to Dnipropetrovsk.  So, it has now been 4 weeks today since leaving the city.

I am so grateful that colleagues have so graciously opened their homes to me during this time.  I never dreamed that I would be gone from Donetsk this long.  Honestly, I thought I would be gone for a week or so and then return.

Now, my dream of returning is so doubtful that it hurts to even think of that outcome.  Yet, I am so sure of one thing, God has been with me each step of the way.  The Word has been so incredibly fresh during this time.  While I am uncertain of where this journey will lead, I can rest assured of God’s promises.  On those promises, I now lean…


2 thoughts on “Life in ….. Ukraine, part 2

  1. Joe, I had not heard that you had evacuated Donetsk. I’m glad you’re safe and with friends. Let us know if you need anything other than prayers. We’ve been praying for Ukraine and our co-workers, so you’re covered!

  2. It has been a tough 4 weeks, but thankful for colleagues who have opened their homes and their hearts. Not sure what the future holds is never easy. Fully relying on the One who holds my future.

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