In early June, Natalia Chernomor from The Bible Today in Ukraine and her daughter, Yulia Clack from the USA, joined Shoaib Ebadi and Grant Hoeppner at a media conference in the Netherlands.
As a media producer living and working in a country that is currently at war, Natalia quickly become the center of attention at the conference. Though she was not on the schedule, she was given an impromptu invitation to speak at one of the main sessions.
“After that, everyone gathered around her to ask questions,” says Shoaib. “They all wanted to partner with her and encourage her in some way.”
For her part, Natalia felt encouraged by the opportunity to connect with media people from all over. She says, “I felt the power of the world Christian community: their love, interest and readiness for the people of Ukraine.”
With Yulia translating, Shoaib and Grant interviewed Natalia about her in-country perspective on the war on Ukraine for an episode of Square One Talks. They also interviewed Natalia about her 25 years in ministry with Square One for the 75th anniversary documentary, Back to Square One.
For both interviews, Natalia spoke passionately about her love for the Ukrainian people. She is still able to smile, but the war is uppermost on her mind at all times.
Says Shoaib, “I experienced war and violence in the past so I can understand their strong emotions. All the same, we are not in their shoes and we cannot fully understand what they are going through. Only Jesus can do that.”
But we can listen to their stories. We can talk with them. We can pray.
Natalia wants to do more than just survive this crisis. She wants to help others in any way she can. Those with the most needs right now are pregnant women, the elderly, people living with disabilities, and displaced people. There were 5,500 refugees in her city alone at the time of the interview.
While it is impossible to follow their regular media schedule, the team at The Bible Today are filming, gathering stories, taking photos, and documenting the war from a human impact perspective.
Meanwhile, Yulia had arrived in Poland with 11 large suitcases of supplies collected in the USA: backpacks, clothing, shoes, water purifiers, first aid kits, non-perishable food, and activities for kids. She was able to cross the border into Ukraine and meet with the rest of the team at The Bible Today. She also visited a refugee center where some of her supplies were distributed.
“I was amazed to see how thankful people were,” says Yulia. “Even the ones who had to leave their homes or who have lost everything. When they receive supplies, they always think of someone else who needs it more. That taught me a life lesson.”
Then it was off to the Netherlands with Natalia
After her time at the conference, Natalia went back to a very dangerous situation in Ukraine. To work alongside her family, her team. To keep doing whatever she can for the people of her country.
Natalia didn’t have to go back. She chose to. That’s an expression of love!