top of page
  • Writer's pictureВІКТОРІЯ ВОЙКО

Children amidst the war. How Christians can help children and teenagers

Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Russian troops into Ukraine, the lives of not only adults who understand the horror of what is happening have changed, but also the lives of children. None of them have experienced war and famine, which are now increasingly spreading across Ukraine. They lived in peacetime, and now they are faced with the realities of war.

According to the UN, as of May 17, since the beginning of the Russian invasion in Ukraine, 250 children have died, 570 have been injured. Every day this number is growing. On March 18, a rally in memory of the dead children took place in Rynok Square in Lviv. 109 empty carriages were displayed. Mayor of the city Andriy Sadovoy noted that these are symbols of the lives of those angels who are now protecting the sky over Ukraine instead of resolute actions of the world. As of May 23, the action has already ended, but as we can see, the number of those killed is more than twice the figure during the action.

Also, twice as many children suffered psychological trauma. The understanding of life is changing among children who did not have the opportunity to evacuate, who find themselves in the basements and among the bombs. So, a six-year-old boy, Ilya Trishchenko, who hid for a month in the basements of Azovstal among the military, told one of them how he sheltered a small gray dog, and then presented a drawing to the soldier. A dog was drawn on it with a red felt-tip pen and the text read: “Adults and children know the new signs. If the gray barks, then rockets have been launched.”

At the moment, ministers of all Mennonite Brethren Churches in Ukraine and other Christian churches see a great need for help for all affected children. Such a wide platform for working with children has never been opened before them. Being in centers where families live en masse, children do not always show their feelings and what they are going through to their parents. This is especially true for adolescents, who are the most vulnerable social group due to their age. When families stop at church reception centers, they are given children's Bibles with pictures and the opportunity to talk to their peers who have already been introuduced to God. But when families stay elsewhere, it becomes more difficult to support them. Despite this, the association is working with such kids. Refugees, along with food packages, are given Christian literature: children's Bibles in comics, the magazines “Light” and “Hope”, as well as the booklet The Gospel of John. In this way, Christians try to bring the Good News to every person and child who receives help. According to our estimates, more than five thousand children have already received Christian literature. In addition, the Association plans to hold children's camps in safe areas. While there is no 100% confidence and understanding in how to conduct them, the desire to help children and prayers to God open up such ways, of which that none of their ministers suspected at first.

An example for us is the Irpen Bible Church, which cleans its yard from the effects of shelling and is preparing to gather children there for games. The reason for this was the lack of safe zones in the city. Despite the official end of the demining of the city, parents are afraid to let their children go out into the streets. The church is trying to gain parents’ trust as much as possible. In addition to games, the team plans to teach children about God, read the Bible, and talk about the rules of conduct when explosive devices are found.

No one knows how this situation in the country will affect the lives of its little inhabitants. Psychologists say that the mental childhood trauma of war can make a person unhappy, overly insecure, unadapted in adulthood. If a child lives in a state of constant tension, anxiety, chronic stress, this may be enough to develop PTSD. According to psychologists, at least 25% of victims of armed conflict develop such a disorder. Therefore, one of the main tasks at this time is to help children avoid such consequences. Despite our desire, the Association understands that now it is difficult to help every child. But we continue to believe in the imminent end of hostilities and are confident that more than ten thousand children will receive spiritual and emotional help as a result of the work of our Mennonite Christians.

0 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Avdiivka. When a peaceful life seems like a pipe dream

Avdiivka on fire Avdiivka has been a front-line city since 2014 due to its close proximity to Donetsk (about 10 km). Active hostilities were fought here from 2014 to 2017, then there was a period of c


bottom of page