This article was originally published in the July 2018 edition of ITMI Monthly.
Fifteen-year-old Dasha Kazimirova of Toretsk, Ukraine, was like any other teenager in the world in some respects. Her life lay before her full of promise and potential.
But in other ways, she wasn’t at all like your average youth. Dasha's family lives in a war-zone. Her mother’s struggles with alcohol added turbulence to her already tumultuous situation.
Fifteen-year-old Dasha Dasha Kazimirova of Toretsk, Ukraine.
We don’t know all of the driving forces behind these struggles, but the economic impact of political jockeying by neighboring Russia on the lives of everyday Ukrainians was likely at play.
The lives of Toretsk’s citizens have been wracked with Russian attacks and bombs for the last two years.
Economic hardship, the psychological upheaval of constant fear, crumbling structures, exposure to elements and toxic drinking water polluted by chemical waste are all things normal families in the Donbas region face everyday.
Crumbling structures, toxic drinking water and exposure to elements are just some of what these Ukrainians face every day.
Dasha at youth camp last year. (Red arrow above her head.)
Last year, Dasha had the opportunity to participate in a youth camp offered by a church in Toretsk. It is believed that during the camp, Dasha decided to follow Jesus.
Dasha fellowshipped with the church for several months after attending the camp. More recently, she stayed with her grandmother frequently, and wasn’t able to attend worship as often.
While at her grandmother’s home, she was in the backyard to use the latrine when a Russian bomb landed 3 meters from her.
With heavy hearts, we mourn the loss of this life. At the same time we are awash with gratitude that she had the opportunity to hear and respond to the Good News before it was too late.
Water filtration system installed in Toretsk church, February 2018.
The provision came not a moment too soon.
A dam in a local chemical plant was damaged by the fighting. Chemical seepage transformed the already toxic water into a poisonous concoction only useful to a murderer.
Thanks to the filtration system, the church is set up to reach many who undoubtedly are in need of clean, safe water.
Pastor Maxim, who shepherds this small but mighty assembly of God’s people in Toretsk, joyfully says, “God keeps us! The Lord cares for us here in the war. ... We have pure water, and we are grateful to God and to you.”
Pastor Maxim examines the remains of a bombed home in his town.
The Lord’s sovereignty remains amid the turbulence of living in a war zone. Under His care, provision and leadership, great opportunity lays before this church to reach their bleeding city.
A city full of people who don’t yet follow Jesus that could get caught in the crosshairs of Russia’s attacks at any moment.
There are many willing believers in this region. Adi is willing to deliver whatever hope, encouragement and help we can empower them with. Would you consider helping our brothers and sisters in Christ in Ukraine?
About the Authors
Steve Evers has advocated for and served the ITMI partners as ITMI Director since 2001. Approximately once a year, Steve visits with ITMI partners in their countries and brings stories back to encourage supporters. Steve enjoys photography and mechanics, (both hobbies that have greatly benefited ITMI partners!) Prior to becoming ITMI's Director, Steve served on the Board of Directors for 4 years. Steve lives in Arizona with his wife, Darlene.