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Op-Ed: Politics Can't Keep Us from Caring for the Innocent Victims in Ukraine

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There’s a conspiratorial narrative growing that the U.S. government’s aid to Ukraine is being funneled to bad actors, the Biden family and Ukrainian officials.

As a nonprofit leader serving 1,800 churches in Ukraine, many of which are on the frontlines and coordinating efforts with the military, I see no signs of this conspiracy. The only conspiracy that appears to be true is that Vladimir Putin’s end game is to steal and destroy his neighbor.

I’ve just returned from Ukraine, where our delegation from CityServe International assessed the situation on the ground and delivered life-saving aid.

Cities inside and alongside the warzone, like in Kherson, are in desperate need of tangible love and compassion. It is heartbreaking to see young children and the elderly shivering in the dark. With much of their energy production gone, and their infrastructure and power grid repeatedly attacked by the Russians, the people of Ukraine are truly in a “light or death” situation.

In addition to providing life-saving food, medical supplies and shelter, we are furnishing churches with generators that will turn on the heat and electricity. In a country starving for energy, these generators transform churches into places of refuge for those left to freeze in the dark with no electricity in their homes.

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Church buildings have become multi-functioning. Sanctuaries are now safehouses and trauma centers.

I witnessed this firsthand last week while in Kherson when speaking to a congregation there. The generators turned this church into a literal lighthouse of warmth, light and hope. As I spoke to the congregation, the sounds of Russian bombs pounded nearby, yet it did not stop the people from praying, worshiping and treasuring their church family.

We also visited Bucha, the site of a Russian massacre and the location of a well-known mass grave. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we were able to distribute 1 million meals in that bereaved community.

Our trip ended in Kyiv, where we dedicated five new C-train homes for Ukrainian families. These are temporary, prefabricated homes that provide shelter for families whose homes are uninhabitable due to Russian shelling of residential areas. We also established a site for a future family trauma center in Ukraine’s capital city.

This is all part of our ongoing effort to offer aid to distressed individuals and families throughout Ukraine. So far, we’ve assembled a network of over 6,000 churches in Eastern Europe that are aiding the people of Ukraine seven days a week.

One Ukrainian pastor I met told me, “In 2022, we have shed more tears than any other time in our lives.” I saw those tears on the ground in Ukraine myself. Yet the people I’ve met are strong, resilient and brave.

Nevertheless, both as individuals and as a country, many are facing the darkest season of their lives.

Imagine what it would be like for you and your family to go through something similar. What would you think of people blessed with an abundance of provisions, shelter and electricity in other parts of the world refusing to help you because of compassion fatigue or fictitious conspiracies swirling about in the news and online?

Perhaps you have a philosophical problem with the level of government involvement and spending in foreign countries far from here. But nobody is advocating for a blank-check policy for America’s support of Ukraine. The amount of humanitarian aid getting to Ukraine is minuscule compared to the need, especially during the winter.

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To save lives and to protect the most vulnerable, all Americans will need to accept their responsibility to — personally — be a part of the solution for the “least of these” in Ukraine. Our neighbor, as Jesus made clear, means more than just our friend across the street.

That’s why I am pleading with the church in America and across the world: Please don’t allow political debates back home to cause you to grow numb to the plight of innocent victims in Ukraine. Our brothers and sisters there are in desperate need of food, medicine, shelter and electricity. I’ve held their hands, prayed with them, and heard the bombs falling a short distance from where they sleep at night.

This is a critical moment, and we can’t turn our backs to their suffering.

The views expressed in this opinion article are those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website. If you are interested in contributing an Op-Ed to The Western Journal, you can learn about our submission guidelines and process here.

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Dave Donaldson is co-founder and CEO of the charitable relief organization CityServe International based in Bakersfield, California.




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