In March 2022, Sharyn Borodina shared stories of what God was doing in Ukraine, a year on she gives Woman Alive an update.
When war broke out last year, my Ukrainian husband, Ruslan and I were leading a Youth with a Mission (YWAM) base in Ternopil, Ukraine. I wrote about the first few weeks and what God did in that time.
Now, a year on, we are in North Idaho with our two teenage daughters, while trying to continue to support the work we are doing in the country remotely. For the first six months of the war we were based in Poland, going into Ukraine in June and July. We returned to the USA, my homeland, to give our daughters some stability in schooling, our prayer is to be in Ukraine this summer. Ruslan is still taking trips back to Ukraine and Poland every few months.
We have been displaced before, we lived for eleven years in the Crimean Penisular, and in 2014 as a result of the invasion and occupation by Russia, our family was one of the first displaced families out of that area. But this experience of being displaced is different. We have felt isolated, so far from the community we love. We are experiencing humanity at its worst, and at its best. I didn’t know you could walk through joy and grief at the same time. I didn’t know you could hold this incredible hope in what God is doing despite it all, and yet also have to sit with the grief and heartbreak at the level of evil that the people of Ukraine are experiencing.
We have felt isolated, so far from the community we love. We are experiencing humanity at its worst, and at its best.
We walk with this heavy load of loss, heartbreak and grief that there are really no words to even describe. At the same time we know that God is working all things out for good, he is bringing beauty and life out of the ashes, and we know that God will redeem all. That is what we hold onto. Our home is in Ternopil in Western Ukraine, and so far has been one of the safer areas. As a result of that we have been a corridor for refugees getting out from the hot zones of the war and have also been a corridor of humanitarian aid coming in and getting it distributed.
When the war started, we lost all of our staff except four people, my husband included. What we saw right away was that we were not alone. God brought volunteers from all over. Three months into the war we had more than fifty volunteers who had come on board to serve. Our kitchen was cooking food 24/7. We set up a line for refugees to call us so we could help them find a place to stay, we had the top restaurants in our city bringing food to our base, to help feed the refugees. It was beautiful to see.
So what do we hope for the future? I continue to believe that Ukraine will be victorious, but I don’t know what the cost of that victory will be. From what we see, Putin recognises he is not going to win this war and so he is just trying to destroy as much of Ukraine as he can.
Three months into the war we had more than fifty volunteers who had come on board to serve.
We ask everyone to pray that the war would end and Ukraine would be able to begin the process of rebuilding. Not only the country, but lives that have been destroyed. The Ukraine of today is very different from the Ukraine before 24th Feb 2022.
Because I believe in a God of redemption, a God who can make us stronger and help us love better because of our brokenness, I do believe we will be victorious and Ukraine will be overcomers. I pray that the war will be what will finally break the stronghold of corruption over the country. That we will build a better and more democratic country as a result of what we have experienced.
What I have learnt is forgiveness is the greatest weapon against the enemy. If we hold on to hatred and bitterness, it actually victimises us and continues to hold us in that place. So please pray that part of the restoration of the people of Ukraine would be having a right understanding of what forgiveness is, and recognise that when through the strength of God we are able to forgive our enemy, it releases and frees us from the bondage of hatred and bitterness.