Last summer, our School Without Walls (SWW) students hosted a youth Bible camp in the front-line cities of Andreyevka and Avdeyevka, Ukraine–in partnership with a local Mennonite church. Yevgenia, a 16-year-old girl from Andreyevka, was just one of the many young people who participated in this camp and had a life-changing experience with Jesus. Yevgenia, her mother, and their friends are going through a hard time, as war continues to rage in their hometown, and they hear the sound of gunfire almost every day.
Sadly, even before the war broke out, Yevgenia had already experienced suffering. Her father abandoned her 16-year-old mother as soon as he found out that she was pregnant, so Yevgenia never met him. Her mother’s grandmother was also killed in a car accident when she was seven months pregnant, and the emotional and psychological stress caused Yevgenia’s mother to go into early labor, so Yevgenia was born two months early.
After she was born, Yevgenia had to undergo medical treatment due to the complications caused by her premature birth. For a while, the doctors weren’t even sure if she would live, and even though she is healthy now, her mother still sometimes feels guilty for the health problems she had when she was younger. They also often struggled financially as Yevgenia was growing up; and after the war broke out, things only got worse.
When our SWW students delivered life-saving food, firewood, and humanitarian aid to Yevgenia’s village, they invited her to attend the youth Bible camp, where she received her very first New Testament. By reading God’s Word, she grew closer to Him, and learned how to pray and talk about Him with her peers. “I used to go to bed cold and hungry, since we had no money to buy food or coal to heat our stove,” Yevgenia shared with tears in her eyes. “But then we met the SWW students, who brought us humanitarian aid. This aid saved us, and after that, my mother and I started going to a Bible study group. We didn’t understand anything at first, but it was still interesting, and we could feel God’s love filling our hearts.
“The SWW students also visit my school and lead various Christmas and Easter events, and every summer, they lead a Bible camp. This camp and the Bible I received taught me about Jesus for the first time. Now, I have eternal hope because I know God and He lives in my heart. I know He is the Lord Almighty. I trust that He is working in my life, and He will never leave me to suffer on my own.”
To support our summer Bible camps program, through which our School Without Walls students and other leaders are sharing the hope of Jesus with 11,000 children and youth–like Yevgenia– this summer, please give today: