I spent the last two days in the Donetsk region. On my drive from Kharkov to Bakhmut, I passed an area that was heavily bombed in the early days of the war. Then, I drove on down to Bakhmut (formerly Artyomovsk) for a couple of meetings. It is a nice town with a small downtown area.
I met one friend from Donetsk for lunch at New York Street Pizza. When I lived in Donetsk , there was one not far from my apartment. My second meeting was with a fellow Christian I had not met before. We wound up having coffee in a Mexican cafe, which I will have to eat at next time I’m in town!
Later I drove to Mirnograd, where I had two more meetings with possible interpreters and a church planter.
Then, Tuesday morning I drove to a Christian camp to meet with some great brothers from Donetsk. Only today did I learn that the Ukrainian army have a base near the camp, which explains the tank ruts!
As I left the camp to return to Dnipro, I heard the now-familiar sound. The first time I heard it was in July 2014. A colleague and I had driven to Slavyansk a few days after the city had been freed and the bombings had stopped. At that time, I thought I had a tire problem, pulled over to make sure all the tires were okay.
The sound was made from my tires rolling over the tank tracks that were made when the tanks rolled into the area in 2014. It starts out as a dull hum, but the faster I go, it becomes a roar at times. It is almost impossible to find a place on the road where I don’t hear the roar.
As I travel down the roads where the sound is evident, it reminds me of a terrible time not too far in the distant past. It also helps me remember why I so desire to help the people in that area. My life has been changed dramatically by the events of 2014, yet, for those who live along the front, their lives continue to be impacted.