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Ukraine

Ukraine Update 08

Know your gifts, know your limits, know your community.

It is commendable that so many people want to help in the most tangible ways. From a large scale to specific individuals, through money, time and energy. Some love the front lines, others use their underrated administrative skills, with vision and purpose, proactively making work easier long term for all. Work smarter not harder, because our physical and mental resources are limited. 

I appreciate and admire the drivers, the money givers, the cooks, the hosts, doctors, translators, and people who donate their services while they continue to do their daily work to support their own families.

I appreciate and admire the drivers, the money givers, the cooks, the hosts, doctors, translators, and people who donate their services while they continue to do their daily work to support their own families. The diversity in support is fantastic a month into the war. People are not tired of giving, but the war is sadly not over either. 

Trying to do too much, one can end up doing nothing at all. I frankly felt overwhelmed those first days with all the erratic needs in the groups we were part of. It’s ok to step away from the noise to focus on overlapping the needs with the resources we do have. 

Hosting people around our large table and providing a moment of nourishment and respite, a moment of normality and of mental rest is something we would appreciate when traveling. Also, providing and serving meals at a local church felt manageable, connecting and hands-on. 

We couldn’t communicate through words. They would come to us with google translate and tearful eyes to express their gratitude.

After dropping the kids to school, we went shopping and served breakfast. Conrad made a large frying pan of scrambled eggs that was quickly eaten. It was strangely quiet for a full house of people. Those first weeks there were hundreds of deaf-mute families passing through our city. Another time I cooked goulash soup and a band of mothers enjoyed it. And last time, we served lunch to a busload of people, who were getting ready to travel outside the country right after lunch. Elbow to elbow with another young mom, we served the soup, the rice and schnitzel, all while making 50 sandwiches for the road. It was an exhilarating rush, working joyously, preparing packages of snacks, water, fruit and sending people on their way with a blessing and a hug. We couldn’t communicate through words. They would come to us with google translate and tearful eyes to express their gratitude. We may never see them again. But for this brief moment, we shared grace, and we blessed each other in unexpected ways. 

We happened to look them in the eyes, be silent and yet be changed forever. But I have friends who change sheets and make clean beds for when other people arrive, friends who sort through donation packages of food, clothes, toiletries, friends who go shopping for specific needs, who go to the bank, to the train station, to the pharmacy, to the airport, or to car mechanics. It’s amazing how it all comes together at the end of the day, and the next day it all starts again. 

As we pull our sleeves up we see clearer what we can do and how we can help. The needs are sorted naturally, and people jump in to help as the requests are shared in various groups we are part of.

Join a community, donate, pray, show up. A willing heart, a flexible mind, a humble attitude and a brave spirit can move mountains in faith. 

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