There’s no place like home for the holidays. But for millions who’ve been forced to relocate within the country and beyond its borders to escape the horrors of the war in Ukraine, “home” is beyond reach this Christmas.
Since Russia’s invasion last February, thousands of internally displaced children have joined Tomorrow Clubs all over Ukraine embracing the healing love of God as they were fed, comforted, and prayed over. Thirteen-year-old Nastya Pisarenko was one of those children..
On the final day of the “green corridor”, Nastya, along with her parents and younger brother, escaped the war’s frontline city of Slovyansk and resettled in western Ukraine. Her grandparents stayed behind in territory annexed by the aggressors and now declared to be part of Russia.”
A lot of things have changed for Nastya. You might wonder what a 13-year-old teen who has lost so much might be dreaming about. A new iPhone, trendy jeans, stylish sneakers, bluetooth headphones, new friends, parties, social media messaging, or going back to the gymnastics or dance classes she loved so much? Actually, none of those things. What is she dreaming about?
Her answer will surprise you!
“I really want to visit my Grandma and Grandpa. I’m dying to see them. At least for a day. At least once. I want to go to their house in the village. I want to wake up super early, like at 6 am, walk through their front yard, and feed the ducks and the chickens. I want to sprinkle grain and watch the birds eat it. And then fix breakfast with Grandma Natalya, sit down at the table with her and Grandpa Mykola and just talk. And then laugh. Over and over again. Laugh at everything.”
“They have a big garden. I want to go there and weed it. I want to water the dry soil then make borsch for lunch and serve it with sour cream. I love the magic of borsch-making with my Grandma. I want to make cheese rolls and jam for winter, can the jam in little jars and put them away in the cellar.
“And then I want to plan my little brother’s birthday party. I want to have my favorite mashed potatoes and crab salad at the party. And have many, many guests over, the whole family together.
“I’d give anything to snuggle with them right now. But they are not here. They are in Russia…”
The Tomorrow Clubs are serving thousands of children like Nastya, kids who have had to flee their homes, leaving their loved ones and dreams behind. With the help of supporters like you, Tomorrow Clubs have helped create places of safety and belonging for displaced kids and families who, like never before, need healing and the eternal hope found only in Christ.
To those of you who have already helped us share the love of Christ and the joy of belonging this year, thank you! If you would still like to give, we invite you to join us in bringing the hope of the Gospel to forsaken places and helping kids learn to follow Jesus.