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Last Bell’s youth in the military

Though the active fighting is east of us, Zhytomyr’s military checkpoints, cement barriers, defensive preparations, and damaged buildings are a constant reminder of war. The horrors in the news feel immediate and close. Mariupol, under a terrible barrage of attacks that left 5,000 dead and 90% of the buildings damaged, is a two-day drive (the distance from Indianapolis to the East Coast). Bucha is only two hours away. 

Most of our young men are old enough for the draft, and some have volunteered. Recently we had opportunities to help two of these soldiers.

V.’s father lost his parental rights and his mother died; he grew up in orphanages. First he worked in the construction industry, then served in the army as a signalman. When the war began, he was called up, and serves at a checkpoint in Zhytomyr. He heard about Last Bell a few years ago, but just recently asked for help. One need was for an extra uniform; he had nothing to change into.

One of our staff members brought him a kettle, a food package, hygiene supplies, and a uniform and unloading vest. Sasha also spent time talking with him and encouraging him. We’ll stay in touch with V. to make sure his needs are met as he defends our city.

Staff member Oksana happened to see an Instagram photo of our guy R. in uniform. So she contacted him. He was stationed for a while, then sent to fight in a hot spot. A few days later she and Andrey met R. and his friends to deliver some supplies, including unloading vests. “These are vests with pockets for body armor,” Oksana explained. “During the war, we’re learning many new terms…”

They also brought tourniquets, medications, and some sweets. Thanks to the “coincidence” on Instagram, Oksana said, “God took care of R. and his friends just in time.”

So many vulnerable young men are on the front lines. Please pray for their protection, and for an end to the war that puts them in harm’s way.