Pastor Mervin Strother and his wife, Dasha, from Louisiana, left for Ukraine last week to minister to the refugees at the border. Here is Pastor Mervin’s account from their first day there.
A Day on the Ukraine Border by Pastor Mervin Strother
It is a heart-wrenching situation. Human trafficking is a big issue. Some of the women coming across are dehydrated because they would not drink, as they did not want to have to use the bathroom. To use the bathroom, they would have to let go of their kids’ hands. Some would just urinate on themselves along the way.
Today we heard some horrendous stories. We helped two older ladies who had walked across the border to get supplies. They were staying in a camp on the Ukrainian side in two rooms with 12 people. We helped them get some hot food, warm blankets, t-shirts, adult diapers, a little bird food, and cat food. Then they were off by foot back across the border.
Then there were the ladies with two small kids who had been traveling for four days to reach the border. The kids wouldn’t even talk when they first came into the tent. (We were in the “Fight for Freedom” tent, a Christian organization.) The girls wouldn’t even go in the bathroom at first, much less use it. Dasha, along with a girl from Italy, sat with the kids and colored, and they finally started to talk. They were very concerned that they had to leave their cat behind in Ukraine. One of the little girls prayed to receive Jesus before they left.
Then there was the young lady that Dana and Tanya (the couple we brought with us from Oklahoma) ministered to who had been on a long journey from Kiev. Her family was in their apartment, a 3-story building, when they felt the need to huddle in the bathroom and use it as a shelter. Three minutes later, a missile hit the building, and it collapsed. They survived. She also prayed to receive the gift of life.
Dasha ministered to a lady who had just been dropped off at the border with her child by her husband. He drove them all the way to the border of Romania, let them out of the car, they crossed over, and he turned around and went back to fight.
We always say that tragedy brings the worst out of people. It does, but it also brings the best out of people. On the border today, there were people and organizations from Israel, Spain, Greece, Turkey, England, America, India, and many more–all with one purpose: to help the people of Ukraine.
We stayed on the border from 9:00AM until 6:00PM. It was cold and windy. We finally made it back to our host house, and they fed us a Romanian meal. Tomorrow we’ll get up and do it again.