In the above photo you see (viewable if you click the link to go online) a stack of Family Buckets that have the logo sticker with the Church’s name.
Today’s visits highlighted the personal tragedy that war brings. I travelled to Berdychiv, Ukraine and met with a number of those who have suffered the personal loss of a loved one because of the war. Natalya’s son was a paratrooper that was sent to Kramatorsk. He was with five others and Russian forces ambushed and murdered each one. Natalya had only one child and now she has no one. Another lady came and she had three children (I guess from 8-12 years of age). Her husband had been killed at the Donetsk Airport. As I met more and more I heard of loved ones dying in battle sites with which I was familiar.
Regardless of the writing talents of the novelists and screenwriters, war is never a lark; it should never be romanticized. War is an environment that breeds and urges the unfettered extensions of evil. The trauma of war is especially visible in the lives of those whose loved ones have been seized much too soon.
Today we met with about 30 families in the town of Berdychiv. These were residents who had lost sons or husbands in the war. We brought a number of items to give to the families: a Family Bucket, a box of food staples weighing about 40 lbs; a bundle of handmade blankets/quilts; quart size cans of canned meat. We also brought dorm mattresses that Harding University had donated and we had shipped. These will be taken to a hospital.
The town’s administration had published a book that honored those from Berdychiv who had been killed.
A special program of appreciation and sympathy to the families was presented. After the program we shared a meal and then distributed the items to the families.
During the event much was said about the good work that is accomplished by our shipments. In one of the public statements it was mentioned that in unloading the containers we ship it is not just one container that is unloaded bout one and one-half container because those packing do such a great job in stuffing the container full. Once again I was told how photos of the loading crews reveal those who are hard working and intense in their purpose.
Much good was done in this meeting today. The Family Buckets were placed by the entrance door and everyone that came in looked at the logo sticker that was put onto each bucket stating: “Churches of Christ—The Family where everybody is loved.” It was good to see several stop and point at that logo and talk about it.
Tomorrow I am to go to the location where IDP’s are taken and then are assigned to relocation areas. A good amount of the IDP items we have shipped have been distributed at this center.
Thank you for your prayers and concerns on this mission trip.
John L. Kachelman, Jr.