The crisis in Ukraine is far from over despite a ceasefire. Now two pastors from Ukraine are here in the desert looking for help.
The fighting between pro-Russian rebels and Ukrainian Nationals may be over 6,000 miles away, but two pastors believe people here in the desert can make a difference, not by taking sides, but by helping the hundreds of thousands of people caught in the middle.
“You wake up in the morning and you don’t know what is going to be next, especially in March when the war started we were really shocked,” said Pastor Julia Belousov.
“We get used to hearing on the news there is war in Syria, there is war in Iraq and Afghanistan, but when it happens right here in your home it just totally changes your life,” said Pastor Maxim Belousov.
Maxim and Julia Belousov, husband and wife, founded Dnipropetrovsk Christian Church in 1998 in the South Eastern Ukrainian city of Dnipropetrovsk. It’s about 100 miles west of the fighting.
“The war is really ugly there, we’ve got hundreds of thousands of refugees all over the country including our region because we are one of the closest,” said Maxim Belousov.
So far, the United Nations estimates more than 3,600 people died, 9,000 wounded and nearly half a million people left homeless, many with just the clothes on their backs.
“Right now it is getting so cold we want to give them warm clothes also we bring them food, medications, anything that they need,” said Julia Belousov.
“We have a team of volunteers that each week go attend family, go attend hospitals, they see people, they bring medicines, they buy medical supplies,” Maxim Belousov.
Their charity, Response Foundation Ukraine, can only do so much. That’s why they’ve come here, sharing what’s happening in Ukraine with charities in the US.
“A lot of families they are suffering because of that, a lot of kids are left without fathers now, so it’s been really hard, but at the same time we see how patriotic the country became,” said Julia Belousov.
Just the simple act of praying in the city’s square show just how far they’ve come.
“You couldn’t show up in a group of more than ten people and do something without certain permission from local government, but at some point people stood up and said look enough is enough, we are free to do what ever in our home city in our hometown,” said Maxim Belousov.
Now people of all faiths use the square to pray for peace and help refugees.
“Our society is divided now, some people are pro-Russian some people are pro-Ukrainian, we help both sides because they are just people,” said Maxim Belousov.
The Belousovs partnered with “In Matters of the Heart,” a charity based in the United States so any donation made will be tax deductible.
If you would like to donate you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or mail checks to 6371 Livingston Ct Hudsonville, MI 49426 Payable to “In Matters of the Heart”