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'God Called Me Here': YWAM Missionaries Share Why They Remain in Ukraine, Despite the Danger

Randy Mancini 5 Mar 22

"During this time of war, I know that God called me here to serve food for the soldiers, this is for me a blessing from God," Lidia told CBN News.

While driving to deliver supplies, Katarina, a YWAM missionary from Finland, told us, "The only thought that gave me peace was to go back to Ukraine, so that's why I'm here."

"I'm not saying that God was the one who forced me to go to the war zone, or it's somehow that I didn't have a choice, I had a choice, that was my choice. My choice was to come here, and God opened the door," she added.

Katarina evacuated just before the war started, but she returned days later.   

Now she hits the streets of Kyiv delivering food and other aid supplies to those unable to leave their apartments. Each visit ends with a time of prayer. 

While Katarina makes her daily deliveries, an aid worker named David, who normally handles maintenance on the YWAM campus, is making dangerous missions to evacuate people trapped behind Russian lines.

"Every time when I go to these areas I prepare myself that I might not get out of there. I pray every time. I'm not counting, but I've evacuated more than 100 people. I just work and work as long as I can, and as long as God allows me to help," David said.

In another part of campus, Yuliia, who has been with YWAM for five years, is on the phone taking orders from a nearby neonatal hospital.    Almost every other day, YWAM campuses in Germany and other European countries ship medical supplies to Kyiv for distribution.   

YWAM staffer Yuliia's daily prayer is that God will sow confusion among Russian forces trying to encircle the capital.

"There's this very good saying that 'if Russia would put down their weapons, there's going to be no war, but if Ukraine puts down their weapons, there's going to be no Ukraine', and this is so true," Yuliia said.

When they're not handling day-to-day logistics or sorting through all the supplies coming in from around the world, Japhin and Marie visit elderly homes, bringing food and lots of warm hugs.

One elderly woman said, "We are so bored, but the time flies when you are here. It is so tender, it is something for the soul, it is so pleasant, it is wonderful."

They also pay visits to those defending the city's main roads.

"We really thank you, you believe in us, you help us, and because of that, we are holding on, however hard it is, we are holding on," said Officer Petrovich of the Civilian Defense Forces.

For Japhin, Marie, and others at YWAM, ministering in Ukraine's war zone is ultimately about fulfilling a commitment to serve.

"I think it's not so much about handing out food packages or cooking meals or distributing some humanitarian aid, that is not the main thing God has been preparing me for, because everybody can do that," Marie said. "But the hard thing to do is to do it while you hear the shelling of bombs and while you see continuously on the news, how in your city, not far away from you, a building is burning and people are dying. But I just do it because of love for the country, and because of commitment, to saying I'm not stepping away. If I feed two people or if I help to feed a thousand people a day, maybe in my heart it does not make a difference, because my commitment to God is just the same."