CHERNOBYL REGION, UKRAINE — When the Russian invasion first began in Ukraine Christian worker and widow Natalia saw her home completely destroyed in a bomb attack in the Chernobyl region. A volunteer driver with the charity Mercy Projects Ken Gratton quickly evacuated her and her two children from the country. But within three weeks she decided to return home to continue her vital ministry to families and children while living in her mother’s home.
When the home of Christian worker and widow Natalia was completely destroyed by Russian troops in the Chernobyl region of Ukraine she was evacuated along with her two children by the charity Mercy Projects to France.
Despite losing everything she quickly returned to her village where she is continuing in her ministry to support families and children while living in her mother’s home.
While standing on the rubble of her former home she reflected on the heartbreak this caused but also explained why she had to come back to her homeland:
It was really hard because in this house was our work from 14 years. And most of this house was rebuilding my husband who died. And it was really good memories for him but now it’s just stones.
I feel I must be in this place. It’s my place and we help families, we help children, we make summer camps in this region and it’s job for my soul.
Her ministry director Andriy Kolbovsky said he always knew Natalia would quickly return:
Right after I get here she said, “I’m ready to do something.” So I was sure she was not going to stay in the safe zone because she realized how many people need help.
To help Natalia rebuild her life and ministry Mercy Projects volunteer driver Ken Stratton frequently brings her vital supplies:
So supplies are very difficult here. No supermarkets or real diesel to go and get food. So what we’re doing here is the beginning of a quite a big project with Mercy Projects. I think the plan is to open some kind of food bank so they have regular supplies of food.
And Natalia hopes to help many more families like her rebuild their lives from the rubble of this devastating conflict.