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Heartbreak and Hope in Ukraine: A Winter of Struggle and Resilience

Updated: Jan 4, 2023

Dear Friends,


We (Rudy and Bao Yan) have just returned from Ukraine, and it has been a fruitful but heart-wrenching trip.


The situation in Ukraine at the moment is worse compared to our last trip - exacerbated by the cold winter and the damage to energy infrastructure and power plants all across the nation caused by Russian bombing. Harsh winter has set in and it was -10 degrees Celsius when we were there and temperatures are likely to go down to -20 degrees Celsius). The country now survives on less than 40% of electricity as compared to before the war.


Without electricity, water and heating issues abound. The sun sets at 4pm and after that it gets dark everywhere. Many people are struggling to survive without warmth. The most afflicted are the elderly, children with disabilities and victims of war.


In spite of what we saw and experienced in this trip, our desire to reach out to the Ukrainians is stronger than before - to help even more people with what we have and to the best of our abilities.


The temperature in Ukraine has dipped to -10 degrees Celsius when we were there last month, and is expected to dip below -20 degrees Celsius as winter sets in.

We would like to share with you the many and wonderful life-transforming reports from the ground so that you may be encouraged (all photos produced with permission):


(1) EMERGENCY INSULATED HOMES


To date, over 300 homes have been built, installed and gifted to beneficiaries who were identified as the most vulnerable people groups: the elderly, widows and families with children with disabilities or special needs. All of them expressed their deep gratitude to people like yourselves who contributed to these homes. Many were in tears as they gave us long hugs and recounted how their lives have been changed for the better as a result of this initiative.


Widows receiving emergency insulated homes for their families.
Widows receiving emergency insulated homes for their families.

Beneficiaries are screened and those who are vulnerable such as the elderly, widows, and families with children with disabilities or special needs are prioritized.
Beneficiaries are screened and those who are vulnerable such as the elderly, widows, and families with children with disabilities or special needs are prioritized.

Although many have lost their loved ones, houses and have very little left, their hearts are so full with hope, thanks to the love they received from all of you from halfway across the globe. Thank you for coming alongside to play a pivotal part and making such a practical difference in their lives.

The interior of an emergency insulated home. Materials and fitments are all sourced or purchased locally to broaden the social impact of building and assembling these homes.
The interior of an emergency insulated home. Materials and fitments are all sourced or purchased locally to broaden the social impact of building and assembling these homes.
This elderly lady is grateful and remarked she has seen and received God’s love and mercy through you! We know for sure God has sent you to us to help people like her.
This elderly lady is grateful and remarked she has seen and received God’s love and mercy through you! We know for sure God has sent you to us to help people like her.

(2) PREGNANT WOMEN IN CRISIS


On our last trip, we identified more than 500 pregnant women in crisis as well as mothers of children with disabilities or special needs. Many of them have lost their husbands to the war and are now helpless and vulnerable. Countless others wanted to abort their unborn children, some even in the last trimester.


This single mom has to care for her child with cerebral palsy. She is in a desperate situation as she has lost her husband and father  in the war.
This single mom has to care for her child with cerebral palsy. She is in a desperate situation as she has lost her husband and father in the war.

This family has several children. The youngest has brain tumor and cerebral palsy, and the eldest daughter has severe diabetes. They are not able to get treatment as they have limited funds. In this picture, they are wearing beanies and scarves that are knitted by Singaporean women.
This family has several children. The youngest has brain tumor and cerebral palsy, and the eldest daughter has severe diabetes. They are not able to get treatment as they have limited funds. In this picture, they are wearing beanies and scarves that are knitted by Singaporean women.

Together with our local partners, we counselled these women and realised that the lack of basic needs was their main concern. We were able to address this by providing them with regular food, infant care, and medical supplies. And when we personally visited some of these mothers, they shared with us how glad they are now that they did not carry out their initial decision to abort. All of them did not regret their decision to keep the babies. Words cannot express how much joy we had when we saw these precious lives (who were almost aborted) alive and well!


This child was supposed to have been aborted. Her mother was among those who heard our sharing and was convicted through the message that God has a plan for her child. She then made a decision not to abort her unborn baby. And today she is alive and well, radiant like the sun.
This child was supposed to have been aborted. Her mother was among those who heard our sharing and was convicted through the message that God has a plan for her child. She then made a decision not to abort her unborn baby. And today she is alive and well, radiant like the sun.

​This mother has lost her husband to the war and must now single-handedly raise her child. The food, childcare and medical support that we are giving her is “a miracle from God”, she says.
​This mother has lost her husband to the war and must now single-handedly raise her child. The food, childcare and medical support that we are giving her is “a miracle from God”, she says.

(3) PROJECT LIGHTHOUSE


We initiated another project, and we called it ‘Project Lighthouse’. The purpose is to bring light into darkness in practical ways, and to help as many people as possible.


We offered these to local churches and community leaders who would open their existing church premises, care centers, orphanages and shelters; and activate volunteers to receive more from the community and provide for the following needs:


(a) diesel generator

(b) heater

(c) satellite internet

(d) food and medical supplies

(d) counselling and prayers


We purchased as many generators of different sizes and capacities as we can from all over Europe and arranged to transport them into Ukraine for our lighthouses.
We purchased as many generators of different sizes and capacities as we can from all over Europe and arranged to transport them into Ukraine for our lighthouses.

During the time that we were there, we set up 80 Lighthouses all over Ukraine. Each Lighthouse helps 200 people a day. This means 16,000 people receive help every day from our Lighthouses.


Refugees and people in need coming into this church (lighthouse) to collect essential items such as donated winter clothing to keep warm.
Refugees and people in need coming into this church (lighthouse) to collect essential items such as donated winter clothing to keep warm.

Food supplies in our storage facility. These are rolled out as food aid to the needy.
Food supplies in our storage facility. These are rolled out as food aid to the needy.

Rudy attending to an injured person.
Rudy attending to an injured person.

Distributing hand-knitted scarves and beanies to the refugees in one of our lighthouses.
Distributing hand-knitted scarves and beanies to the refugees in one of our lighthouses.

The elderly receiving their only  hot meal for the day, which is provided from our lighthouse.
The elderly receiving their only hot meal for the day, which is provided from our lighthouse.

This elderly lady is bed-ridden and cannot speak because of stroke. She was without help, but we managed to alleviate her situation by providing electrical supply for her to charge her medical devices, and also medicine to ease her condition.
This elderly lady is bed-ridden and cannot speak because of stroke. She was without help, but we managed to alleviate her situation by providing electrical supply for her to charge her medical devices, and also medicine to ease her condition.

Hundreds of people coming to our lighthouse every day to receive various forms of aid.
Hundreds of people coming to our lighthouse every day to receive various forms of aid.

(4) PURCHASE OF WINTER SLEEPING BAGS


We also visited local Ukrainian factories to purchase insulated sleeping bags that are good for winter, and distributed them into villages where there are currently no generators. This benefitted 400 families.


These sleeping bags have added insulation that would keep people warm from the harsh winter cold.
These sleeping bags have added insulation that would keep people warm from the harsh winter cold.

This local Ukrainian factory also employs the elderly and local women. The money spent is also supporting local families and industries.
This local Ukrainian factory also employs the elderly and local women. The money spent is also supporting local families and industries.

Rudy helping with the architectural drawings for the new 2-storey facility for children with disabilities and special needs.
Rudy helping with the architectural drawings for the new 2-storey facility for children with disabilities and special needs.

Works have been affected due to the war, but we are pressing on. We made a site visit to inspect the ongoing works.
Works have been affected due to the war, but we are pressing on. We made a site visit to inspect the ongoing works.

We never dreamed all these would be possible. Without your support and encouragement, we wouldn’t have come so far.


The war has not ended, and the needs on the ground continue to increase. We have planned another trip this month to follow up on, and expand our works to reach more people in dire need.


As we welcome 2023 in peaceful Singapore with joy in our hearts, let us not forget the people who are in a state of crisis, and remember that Jesus has called us to shine in the darkness. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.


If you would like to be a part of what we are doing in Ukraine, you can share this update with likeminded friends, and contact us to discuss how you can contribute to meet the many needs on the ground.


Together, we can make a difference. God bless!



Update provided by:


Lam Bao Yan

Rudy Taslim


Email : impact@loveonukraine.com

Website : www.loveonukraine.com





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