This past week has been one I will never forget. We were in the contested town of Soledar. So many times we were in situations where the next minute could have been our last. On more than a couple occasions, we had multiple mortar and artillery rounds landing within 100 meters of us.
Russian forces are on the outskirts of the city and are shelling it hard. The people inside the town seem numb to the sound of explosions. They have accepted the noise of war as a new normal, and it is very difficult to convince them to leave. Many times we argue with them and have to persuade them that leaving is very likely a life-saving choice.
There was one moment when we were trying to persuade an older gentleman that he needs to leave. He was very adamant that he is staying. Suddenly, a mortar came screaming overhead, and we Americans quickly ducked behind a wall. The man laughed at us and told us that it’s the ones you don’t hear that get you. Needless to say, we did not convince him to leave.
In total, we evacuated between 40 and 50 people in 5 days. It might not seem like a lot, but when you consider the physical and mental effort that goes into reasoning with the individuals, it comes out to a very good number.
Please keep us in your prayers as we plan to head back to the same village and continue doing these evacuations. It is by the grace of our God alone that we can go into these places and come back unscathed. There have been multiple times where we went in, and by the time we came back out, there were fresh holes in the ground from incoming artillery. A matter of moments can mean the difference between life and death.
Please pray for our teams. These things take a toll on anyone. Pray for strength and courage and safety as we continue this work. We have eternal life in Christ Jesus, and we have nothing to lose. Many of these people do not have that assurance, which is why we continue to risk our lives to carry out this work.
Thank you for playing a big part in the work here by praying and supporting us! We greatly appreciate it!