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Trust test. How the Lord guides through the life

“At first there was a shock” - the usual words for every refugee, every person who was forced to leave their familiar environment and set off to a new place.

For one reason or another, Mennonites would flee their native places and move to other locations, century after century. What did these people feel? What questions did they have for God? What were their thoughts?

In 2022, these questions are again addressed to those who have fled.

Many families, teenagers, as well as individuals who attended Mennonite Brethren churches had to leave their homes and move to the Western regions because of the hostilities, which increasingly covered the territory of Ukraine. Due to the greater influx of internal migrants, it turned out to be very difficult to find housing: many houses were already rented out, other premises increased in price by 50-70%, churches could not provide housing for more than 5 days. The question of moving and finding an overnight stay was brought up daily. Foreign friends responded to this situation, and most of the people decided to leave for Germany and Lithuania.

New conditions

No one really understood what they would have to face. Everything seemed frightening and unfriendly. Emotions made it difficult to concentrate on the main tasks, and, during the first three weeks, time was simply slipping away. The new cultural environment, life in German families and a different language were perceived negatively initially. The teenagers missed their parents who stayed in Ukraine. Adults had difficulties with registration and submission of documents to general education centers for the placement of children in schools. Adapting to new conditions took a lot of effort. The only support was people who cared and treated everything with understanding.

Victoria Rakhuba shared her memories: “At that moment I could not take control of the situation. It was difficult to perceive circumstances optimistically, to trust people and not to worry. But I felt that the Lord was with us and all we were going through had to be entrusted to Him.”

Gradually, everyone began to return to their ordinary activities: children and teenagers went to school, adults got jobs or began to help their owners around the house. In addition, the state organized free German language integration courses for immigrants. Every day from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., everyone learns the language and gets used to the new environment.

The local church organized the conditions for holding services and meetings for all Russian-speaking refugees. Schoolchildren were given iPads for free so that they could finish their studies online in Ukrainian schools. Some managed to rent a tiny apartment for their family and move to live there, covering the rent with government payments. People began to notice more and more positive things in the new conditions and to associate with the cultural environment.

Symbol of unity and mutual assistance

“Even in new conditions, we Christians must be helpful and take care of those around us,” says Victoria Rakhuba.

After a long time of adaptation, most Christians are increasingly trying to use their free time to serve and maintain personal contact with God. The desire to serve is reinforced by understanding the feelings and emotions of other migrants from Ukraine. More than 600,000 refugees from Ukraine were registered in Germany alone. Like others, they had to go through a path of confusion, fear, worries and uncertainty. And now, thanks to the knowledge gained and the healing power of Christ, Christians are ready to serve the people around and support those who find themselves alone against the new language and face loneliness every day.

Rakhuba Victoria was one of the first to respond to the need to communicate with teenage migrants who left Zaporozhye with her. Finding themselves in new situation and without parents, teenagers often fall into depressive states, refusing to interact with the new environment and lose contact with Christ. Here's what she says about it:

“I try to help teenagers in every possible way. I want to serve them and I see a great need for it. Everyone knows that their age is the most difficult. They feel like adults, but often react to circumstances like children. Now our main task is to be there when we are needed, and, in any situation, to keep them in touch with the Lord.

Thanks to the fact that I have a car, I can pick up teenagers and go with them to different places. It helps me get to know them better, especially those I didn't know, and build trust. Sometimes it's very difficult. I want quick results. I would like them to quickly accept Christ and repent, but that does not work like this in real life. So, I always try to stay close, be a friend, and guide when "life" beckons in a different direction.

In addition, Victoria plans to organize meetings for unbelieving women. Practicing these types of ministries in Ukraine, Victoria wants to use her experience again. After all, who better than a woman knows what feelings another woman goes through. Conversations and common discussions will help unbelievers feel support and share their experiences.

Everyone tries to serve with what he can. Seeing a need and listening, helping physically or mentally, singing a song and organizing a small worship group are all God's gifts and skills that are part of many Christians. And no matter where they are, no matter what conditions they go through, the Lord will always give Christians the strength and conditions to use these gifts.

Every day the friends pray for Ukraine, for every destroyed city, for the people and the government. They do not remain indifferent even for a moment to what is happening in Ukraine. And in turn ask to pray for them. May the Lord bless all their ministries and plans.

Being in different places, we - Christians, cannot stay away from the troubles and needs of other people. Jesus Christ Himself taught this almost a millennia ago. And up to now, serving those around has been a symbol of the unity of all Christians.

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