Bomb Shelter Ministry in My Ukrainian Town

Thanks to air raid sirens, neighbors and refugees are hearing more about the gospel than ever.

We are now a full week into open war with Russia. Of course, Russia has been warring against Ukraine since 2014, but this is an unprecedented phase. Still, it’s amazing how quickly one gets used to the mundane realities of war.

On day one, the news of other cities being bombed caused great anxiety in the city of Svitlovodsk, where my family and I live. Of course, the fact that the news woke us up before dawn and was very unexpected made it much worse. The intent to cause panic seemed planned.

Now, on day seven, the adrenaline has worn off. We are used to the 8 p.m. curfew and sitting in a dark apartment at night. We find ourselves ignoring some of the air raid sirens—especially the ones in the middle of the night, since we’re so exhausted. We’ve also learned that not every siren means a bomb might drop on our heads.

But whenever we do head to the bomb shelter, my family and I take the opportunity to share the hope of Christ with our neighbors.

“Bomb shelter ministry” is, I must admit, not a ministry profile I thought I’d ever have. And yet, we are already seeing how fruitful it’s been. Our neighbors have heard more about Christ, heard more Scripture, and been led in more prayer in the last week than most of them probably have in their lives.

In addition to the “Our Father” prayer, I’ve taken to reading various Psalms with them—a particularly fitting book for us in Ukraine, as David often cries out amid being hunted by his enemies.

One of our neighbors is the equivalent of our building superintendent. The other night in the bomb shelter, she said with tears in her eyes how thankful she was to have neighbors like us. She said she can’t …

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