This past Saturday, Central Church in Dnipro hosted a children’s Easter program for internally displaced (IDP’s) kids and their parents/ grandparents. It was encouraging to see so many people attend, but also disheartening at the same time, as it means there are still families needing help.
The puppet team from another city did a beautiful job in portraying the story of “The Prince”. They entertained the children well and engaged them along the way.
After the program, I met several of the mothers and grandmothers who attended. The pastor had shared with them that I had lived in Lugansk and Donetsk, and so we have a natural bond since I lived in both cities.
One mother that I spoke with had a four month old baby when war broke out in her city of Gorlovka. She also had a couple of older children and knew that she needed to leave with the children.
Another lady from Lugansk told a similar story of her daughter who had a new born child when war broke out in Lugansk. They, too, made the decision to leave.
I remember well on April 12, when I learned that war had broken out in Slavyansk, and through conversations with my supervisors, it was decided that I should leave for 2 or 3 weeks until things calmed down.
Over the last 2 years, I have had similar conversations with my friends and other IDP’s. Without exception, everyone of us thought the same thing. Whether is was in April 2014, June 2014, or August 2014, when the decision was made to leave, most felt it would be for 2 weeks. Everyone who left in those months, left with only a few clothes, and absolutely no winter clothes!
So, as the two weeks became 2 months and has dragged on for more than 2 years now, people realize that they don’t have any idea when they might be able to return home. Some have already decided that they will never return even if the war ends soon.
One verse that helps me is found in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” As I explained to the mother yesterday, with tears streaming down her face as she talked with me, I may not be able to understand everything that is going on in my life, but with a Heavenly Father at my side, I can trust His plans for my life.
His plans offer a future and a hope that last longer than two weeks, two months or two years.