Among the refugees with whom Pastor Misha has been working are families of Christians who had to escape the war zone in Eastern Ukraine. One such family is the family of Natalia. Together with her mother and 3 kids she had to leave Donetsk in June 2014. Since that time they have been in Odessa region, trying to adapt to their new life. We visited them with Pastor Misha. Last year, we helped Natalia with the funds to pay for her apartment for 6 months. Now the six months for giving the funds is expired and we want to see how they are getting along with their life.
Working with the refugees, both Christian and non-Christian, we see different people. Many of them just sit and wait for any outside help to be given to them, both from the government and from the other donors. But they do nothing in order to take the responsibility for their own life. On the another hand, we see people trying hard to start over. We have much sympathy for these people and we want to help them first of all.
We entered an apartment house and went into the ugly apartment where Natalia has moved just a couple weeks ago. It is one room apartment with a kitchen. In a main living room there are 3 beds for 5 of them. The oldest daughter Anastasia (17) sits at the desk by the window and does her homework. She is a first year student at a teachers school. Samson (7) and Abram (4) are playing with model car’s. Natalia’s mom – Elena is at the kitchen making some tea for Misha.
We talk to Natalia and learn about her life. As a refugee she is paid $90 per month by the government. She also receives a monthly social payment of $50 per month for her youngest son. In order to meet the family budget she got part-time job at a state social center. Her job is to visit elderly people and take care for them. It is like a home care job. She is paid $45.00 per month at this job. So, the income for the family is $185.00 per month and the rent cost is $115.00 per month. She says it is hard to survive but the church and other groups are helping her with food stuff so they do not spend much for the food.
It is clear the family needs are not being met. Misha asked us to consider taking the kids on our kid’s support program, which we are willing to do. Hopefully we will support all 3 children with $50.00 per month each and that would help the whole family.
It is always a delicate moment to ask single mothers like Natalia “where is the father of a kids.” We asked her and Natalia explained that he left her right after the youngest son was born. What makes it even worse is that he was a church member. They’re divorced now and he stays in Donetsk but doesn’t pay any support for the kids and does not want to do anything for the family. We feel upset and discouraged. It is hard to imagine how difficult the daily reality is for this family. We see the fight for Natalia is for a good future of her kids.
Natalia and Anastasia joined Misha’s church and take an active part in the church life.
After a couple hours visit we left them and continued our conversation with Misha. He is a realist and understands that for a young woman like Natalia it is very hard to live without a husband. It is hard to see how she’ll support her family in the future without some external support given to them. So, Misha says, “I’ll be praying for her to find a good Christian man, who’ll be a good husband to her and a father to the kids.