Earlier this month, the Ministry of Internal Affairs issued a mandatory evacuation order for settlements on the eastern bank of Kupiansk due to escalating Russian military activities and intense shelling in the vicinity. This evacuation directive encompasses nearly 11,000 individuals. However, they are given the choice to stay at their own risk if they sign an agreement acknowledging and accepting the risks. Most people signed papers initially but with time and increased shelling, many eventually change their mind. Some individuals initially chose to remain but subsequently reconsidered, while many others persist in their refusal, endangering themselves and their loved ones. Often, it takes a direct hit on their residence to change their perspective. Nonetheless, as volunteers, we use reasoning and persuasion in our interactions with them. Our focus lies on regions closest to the frontlines and active combat zones, with Russian offensive attempts only three miles away. Only those displaying the utmost stubbornness and resistance still reside here. We spent approximately 30-45 minutes there, attempting to convince a remarkable elderly couple. The babushka’s health issues requires access to medical facilities that are absent in the area. The old man survived two strokes. Both were very resistant to the idea of leaving their home. Eventually, she reached a pivotal point where she was willing to depart. However, the determination of the old man to not leave his land and his home, meant that both still remain there. They did not want to be separated. We managed to successfully evacuate an old lady and her 94 year old father. They were extremely grateful for our assistance, explained that they could no longer endure living with the relentless shelling day and night.
During the journey the chaplain was able to share the gospel of what Jesus did and how to receive the forgiveness of sins. They were grateful our paths crossed and that they had the opportunity to hear it.