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How We Began ...


Ukraine was a distant place until, like most, we heard of bombs and tragedy, loss of life and loss of innocence for millions.  Refugees both inside and outside of Ukraine, fleeing for their lives and for some, losing the race. 

For years, we have had contact with people on the ground, within Ukraine, who have been involved in humanitarian outreach.   These people have now gone into overdrive, knowing that they are best positioned to deliver assistance exactly where it is needed.  

He Had Compassion  is an upstart group of people who have dedicated ourselves to lending a hand.  We have, thus far (June 30, 2022) participated in the distribution of over 24 tons of food, water, medicine and hygiene supplies to communities in or near each of Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Mykolaiv and Zaporizhzhia.

Trips are made using vans and small busses with the seats removed, carrying about 1800 kg's of supplies each trip, and travelling up to700 km's each way to take the food near the conflict, where need is the greatest.

The House of 64

On one such trip, we came across a farmhouse that had evidence of activity.  Taking a closer look, we found 64 people living there - refugees from four different cities in the east of the country - nearly all of them women with children.  We dropped off what we had left with us, and returned later with a bigger load.   We have now committed to supplying this house for as long as it takes, each week dropping off $1,000 - $1,200 of food and supplies.  

 What Else Are We Doing?

We've paid for vehicle repairs.  We've paid for an eye operation for a man in desperate need.  We've provided shelter for a mother and daughter who were 3 weeks on the road in search of refuge, providing food, medical care and respite from the war.

 You Can Help

We are uniquely positioned.  Through generous sponsorship, we can guarantee to all who contribute, that 100% of the funds contributed will make it into service, on the ground in Ukraine.  No credit card charges, no wire transfer fees and and no admin fees of any kind.  All those normal costs have been waived, discounted or covered by others.   Further you will receive a charitable donation receipt for income tax purposes.  Receipts are issued by International Christian Mission Services, of which He Had Compassion is a member.

Finally, when donating, if you choose to provide your email address, we will keep you updated with occasional emails, not more than monthly, and you can always check for updates on this website.

He Had Compassion ... is a reference to the well-known story of the Good Samaritan, who chose to stop and lend a hand, though others passed by.

Please consider donating today.

 A Step In Faith

Ian and Oleg with Bible Story Book

This summer, a member of our team made a trip to Ukraine, in order to better understand the needs and to connect with those in need.  What follows are edited versions of his reports back home, forming a diary of events during his time there.   His initial flight was to Germany, where he met up with Pastor Oleg and family.  

His first note home registered some concern, as they travelled through Poland, toward Ukraine:

August 23, 2022

The US State Dept has in the last few hours, issued an urgent request for all US citizens to leave Ukraine now, if they possibly can.

Here's a link to the story (might be a paywall)

Meanwhile, we are driving 130 kmh east toward Ukraine ... Oleg must go back home, under order of the govt.  We will not get to Ukraine until tomorrow morning and will re-evaluate at that time, but I think we are likely to go in for reasons above ... but Oleg and I have already made plans for me to drive his family back out, in the event that becomes urgent.

Given the assassination near Moscow on the weekend, and now this order by the US government, almost certainly informed by State Dept resources, a potential for trouble may await.

August 24

Oleg, Iryna, Diana and I, as well as Oleg's mother and father and Iryna's father, entered Ukraine mid-day yesterday, Independence Day.  

 Sunflowers  Ukrainian Countryside

The border crossing going in was very light traffic with a line in front of us of about five cars. After crossing in, we observed a line of traffic heading west, out of the country that was at least 15 km's long.

We drove to Lviv where we stopped at a family favourite: a fast-food perogy restaurant at a shopping mall.  As we were loading plates of food, the mall was ordered to be evacuated.

The young staff in the restaurant quickly loaded our food into containers to quickly pay and go. We were directed to exit through a parking garage, where we sat on concrete barriers and ate our food, before getting back in our vehicle to continue south to our ultimate destination: Ivano-Frankivsk. 

We learned later of that day's missile target - a train station, with devastating results for 24 souls.

Such is what passes for normal in this nation of people who seek only what others have: to live free.

We took the family elders to their home in the countryside, where Oleg was born and raised. We spent an hour there as they settled in and Oleg showed me around.  A beautiful rural property with a bounty of fruit, vegetables, honey and more ... that was ready for harvest.  

We arrived at Oleg and Iryna's home just south of Ivano as the last light of day faded away. 

After two long days' travel from Minden, Germany, the family was so very glad to be home.

Today begins our first full day in Ivano.  We are safe, healthy and looking forward to the day.

August 27

A wee update for those who would pray for these, our friends in Ukraine ...

In my life, I have only ever heard jet fighter aircraft at air shows.  Last night, we prayed as we heard them go over, knowing that they were heading into the "danger zone." 

Today we read that last night, the Ukrainian Air Force took out another Russian command post and an ammunition dump.

The morality of war and how to pray are philosophical conversations for us in the West, but those notes are written in blood in the midst of battle.

On Friday evening, we attended a prayer meeting at the church. 

Of the prayer requests, there was a family who prayed for the safe return of their son, a young man of 22, serving in the military. 

As the translation was clarified, we learned that their son had been killed in battle ... and that the prayer request ... was for the safe return of his body. 

We learned that the church worship leader was recently called up to serve, and released when it was determined that he had a heart condition.

As the war has progressed, he has been called up once again.  Outcome: TBD. 

Two other families present asked for prayer for family members, also recently called to serve.

And finally, a man, a refugee from Kharkiv, has been in Ivano for six months, since the early days of the war. He had sent his wife on to Germany to stay with relatives though his wife's health is poor. He is not sure when or if he will see her again.  An older man, he has work here and is asking God to protect his family and to give him strength to endure.  This story, he translated directly to me, using my phone to give me the details.

After the meeting, we returned home, shared a bowl of soup and prayed.

One needs time to ponder these things.  Life happens quickly here ... and is, at the same moment, frozen in time.

People ask "when will life go back to normal?"  I think the answer is that, no matter the outcome of the war, there is no going back.  Ukraine will go forward into a new reality.  A clearer definition of nationhood. Harder lines drawn. More patriotic.  More people drawn to faith and understanding of eternal truths ... what defines us collectively and individually ... and the difference one person can make.

You can make a difference ... by praying for these people.  Pray for wisdom, patience, courage, protection from aggression and from discouragement, both from without and within. 

Finally, pray for many to come to the saving knowledge and grace of Jesus Christ.  

I understand anew ... that it is our only hope.


Also August 27

Privately to you, R ...

I have been asked in four different settings in Ukraine ... if I'm not too afraid to be here.  I asked Oleg:  are there no other foreigners around here? 

He responded:  No.  They all left.

A bit unsettling, that. 

And yet, I do not feel it unwise to be here.  These people are incredibly grateful that I'm here.  The entire group of those at the prayer meeting welcomed me enthusiastically, and thanked me for being here.

Just thoughts ...

August 30

Sunday was a good day in the church as Pastor Oleg preached.  The entire service was filled with warm fellowship, good teaching, meaningful prayer, and a warm connection to those who were in need of a fresh touch from God.  Worship was particularly beautiful and warmed the heart. 

And in the midst of this, we learned during prayer time of one more family who had, during that week, lost a son to war.  The outpouring of grief, while measured is heart-felt ... for those who have suffered loss ... and in silent anticipation of similar news likely to come for others.

On Monday and Tuesday we went shopping at various "wholesalers" for all kinds of goods to take to the east.  Dry goods: flour, sugar, salt, pasta, corn meal, oatmeal, cracked wheat, oil, jars of tomato paste and sauce, spices, and cases of canned beef, chicken, fish and more.  We bought cleaners, soaps, hygiene products, hand lotion and bathroom supplies.  

Food for Mikolaiv 6  Food for Mikolaiv 5

Ian Loading Van with Sleeping Bags  Pastor Leonid Receiving Sleeping Bags in Mykolaiv

There has been a request for bedding to help keep warm for those areas in the east that are likely to be cut off from electricity and gas this winter.  So we invested in 20 good quality sleeping bags to take to the Mykolaiv area, when it is safe to do so.  If they seem to be what they want, we know now where we can get more, at a discounted price.

We took all these supplies to a warehouse space that Oleg and his team have secured for the purpose.  There, we off-loaded all that we had bought and organized it in order to more easily draw out what is needed in appropriate quantities for each load to go.

Finally, in addition to the above, we purchased fresh meat, bread, tomatoes and watermelon to take for a kebab BBQ to the "House of 64."

Once there, we were welcomed at the gate like heroes, with kids running, shouting and grinning broadly.  Yes, they were expecting us.

H64 Ian and Kids Sitting at Table  H64 Oleg Signing Books for Kids

H64 Women 1

Ian and Child    H64 30 Plus Kids

Near as I could count, with kids running everywhere, there were about 40 of them, ranging from 2 to 17 years.  Then another 15-20 adults, mostly women from 20-55 years of age, and a few men who were there to run the place, provide protection and do what they could to help with various things the families needed.

While the dinner cooked on a makeshift barrel stove, we were able to distribute illustrated Story-book Bibles, one to each child, up to about 17 years of age.  Pastor Oleg wrote the child's name and dedicated each book to each child.  It's a beautiful edition of the book, translated into Ukrainian, of which I was able to obtain 200 copies, for distribution to children, along with food that is heading to eastern cities and enclaves.  

A few spoke haltingly in English and apologized for not being able to speak more fluently.  I encouraged them to be brave, that their English was better than my Ukrainian.

I said in a small group that I wanted to hear their stories, that I might be able to take their stories back to Canada, so that we would know better how to pray.  

A woman named Marina stepped forward and said that she would like to tell her story, and proceeded to tell me, through interpretation that her husband, a soldier, had died in May.  She has two boys, one is 16 and one is 8 years old.  She made her way to this house in April and knew no one, and now, they are all close and have become her family.

I learned while here that the children of this home are primarily, but not exclusively, orphans and/or adopted.  I will include a photo of a little girl on my shoulders.  She and her sister are about 3 and 4 years old and were adopted only 3 weeks ago.  Their mother had died and their father had abandoned them.  They were taken into the care of a husband and wife who were fleeing west and ended up in the house we were helping.  The adoptive mother said the girls had been frightened to death by events of the war but were coping well here in this place, having been here just a short while.

Looking around, I saw and felt great hope and courage from this lovely "family."  We ate with them.  We sang with them.  They wanted to know about Canada.  They wanted to say "thank you, Canada," for caring enough to want to help.

At dusk, we left, having known that we had done something important for these people ... and for ourselves.  

I came to hear, to learn and to understand.  Today, we saw and touched the open wound of this war, and saw how it ravages those in its way.  But we have also felt the heart of God for His people.  This house full of souls have been rescued from terror and uncertain death.  May God continue to have mercy on them ... and untold others whom we have not yet met.

A footnote: we had planned for a trip to take supplies to the Mykolaiv area, but while speaking to some in the home yesterday, they made a call to relatives there and confirmed that it is too unsafe to make such a journey right now.  They are constantly being shelled in that zone ... and they said to wait for a better day.  

The food, supplies and sleeping bags are all ready to go.  We wait.

And today, while we wait, Oleg and I went to his parents' home and hiked a hill near the property ... a place that Oleg enjoyed when he was a kid.  When we returned to his mother's yard, she had prepared an absolutely amazing lunch for us.  All of it came from her small farm.  

Meanwhile, back home in Ivano-Frankivsk, the air raid sirens sounded off again, reminding us all of the darker side, somehow just out of sight.

Onward ...

 September 3

It's Saturday afternoon ... and we headed into Ivano early, a few hours ahead of worship practice.

I was invited with Oleg and Diana to something that was billed as a meeting of Christian youth.  Oleg had been invited to bring a short devotional.

Turns out it is a seminary with 20 students, that managed to escape and relocate from the eastern city of Kherson (currently occupied and largely destroyed) in the east to Ivano-Frankivsk. 

They, their instructors, some of their families and several local pastors and officials had a meeting room in an apartment building where they sang, prayed, and heard about 8 mini-lectures or sermons.

The first was from the director of the seminary, who said that, before convening today's inaugural meeting of their Kherson Seminary, now in Ivano, he wanted to give tribute and have a solemn time of prayer and reflection for the estimated 87,000 people that have died during the siege of Mariupol.

He then took a large beautiful glass plate, wrapped it in a white linen cloth, which to me seemed reminiscent of the shroud on the body of Christ, and smashed it on the marble floor.   He then stood in silence for a time before quietly saying;  Amin.

Some families sat huddled, parents with younger siblings, with tears flowing freely. 

Each pastor and seminary leader in turn offered their thoughts and devotions, passages of scripture.

This was their inauguration of their Seminary School year ... the Kherson Seminary in Ivano-Frankivsk.

How beautiful.

I whispered to Oleg that I would like to offer something to support these students financially.   He was certain that this should be shared from the front. 

He spoke with the seminary director, and moments later, I found myself ushered to the front, and with translation offered by Oleg, brought greetings from Canada.

I said that I had come to see and to learn and, if possible, travel further to the east, where suffering has been most severe.. 

As that has become impossible at the current time, God has seen fit to bring me to a place where the east had come westward and has allowed me to see first hand ... their faith and dedication. 

I told them all that the financial support was not from me, but from all the Canadians who have a heart for Ukraine and wanted people in this country to know that they are not alone.

The amount that was committed to each student was just enough for a warm winter coat or a good pair of boots ... both things they were not likely to have packed in a hurried escape from their home.

Kherson Seminary

Upon reflection, I think I have found two ministries in the Ivano area that are worthy of additional support:  the House of 64 ... and now the Kherson Seminary in Ivano-Frankivsk.

We will do this .... and continue to send food, sleeping bags, humanitarian supplies to the east.  Yesterday, we loaded (overloaded?) a large 15-passenger van, ready for Mykolaiv.  Logistics and missiles both have prevented the van from going just yet, but it is parked securely at the church, loaded, full of fuel, waiting for the all-clear to go.  That will hopefully happen in the coming week.  Pray for these guys when they make the trip.  They are all young family men, active in their church, with kids to raise and businesses to run ... but their dedication to serving their Lord is the foundation for it all.

It's impossible to miss their sense of purpose in it all. 

I am nearing the end of my time here. 

I have  been in my own personal seminary these weeks, directed by circumstances not in my control or influence, really.

I leave here on Monday, beginning my trip homeward.

But tomorrow is Sunday. 


I will treasure it.

Ian returned to Canada on September 7 ... and after some time out to reconnect with family at home in Langley, Ian has returned to sharing with others, regarding his time in Ukraine. 

If you have read this far, God bless you.   Please know that the need in Ukraine is greater than ever, as the Ukrainian forces liberate cities, towns and villages that lay in ruins. 

Update:  2022-10-05


As we write this letter on October 5th, Pastor Oleg and friends are travelling with two 15-passenger vans, one of them pulling a trailer, and travelling from western Ukraine all the way to a small village called Vovchansk, in the extreme north-east corner of the country.  It took two days’ travel to get to the city of Kharkiv where they spent the night, before travelling to Vovchansk.   The city of Kharkiv was hit with two missiles the night Oleg and team were there. 

Oleg wrote to us yesterday that they were expecting the last few miles into Vovchansk to be difficult because there is nothing much left of the road.  Until just weeks ago, this area was under Russian control.  Now liberated, there is virtually nothing there for the people, and the route to travel there remains dangerous due to unexploded ordinance. 

And still, Pastor Oleg and team have determined to make the trip, before winter sets in, in this remote corner of the country, literally within sight of the Russian border. 

We write these things that you may know that your contribution – whatever it may be – is being put to invaluable use, on the ground, in Ukraine.   The funds are, quite literally, saving lives there.   Lack of food, medication, disease from lack of clean drinking water, exposure to the elements as winter approaches – these are all being addressed in whatever ways we can. 

We know that a number of you have taken a personal interest in what we have called the “House of 64.”   Please know that we have made supporting this home full of refugees our highest, single priority.   Having been there, we can tell you that their stories are heart-wrenching … and yet, together, though most of them have lost many or all family members to the war, they have found family in fellowship with each other.   

If you have a heart for suffering people of Ukraine, but choose to contribute elsewhere, please do so .. and be at peace.   However, if you’re looking to find a way to be certain that 100% of your contribution will make it to Ukraine, without deduction of any kind, then this is it.  

All normal deductions and expenses incurred sending funds into the country and put to work – have been covered by generous sponsors and/or waiving of fees.   Funds donated are converted to local currency in Ukraine and devoted entirely to making possible the humanitarian distributions like the ones I have described in this letter. 

If you have questions, please reach out.   

And for complete transparency: Ian covered his own expenses for his trip to Ukraine.   He went to see first-hand the work that is being done with the funds sent, and to help out where he could.   When the time is right, he will go again, and once more, will cover his own expenses.  

A Christmas Update:  2022-12-13


We are so very grateful for all of you who follow this blog.  This fall, we set out to raise enough money to provide winter clothing and footwear for everyone in the House.  Every woman.  Every child.  We let that information be known ... and you responded.   People in our local church made and sold crafts, creating an amazing result in funds raised and hearts turned to the needs of these "others" this Christmas season.  Still others have sent financial gifts.

An Amazing Opportunity

In recent days, an offer was sent our way:  A donor would like to make a contribution to match any donations made by others - dollar for dollar - between now and the end of the year.   I write this with some trepidation, as I am not a "fundraiser," as you might think of someone in that role.  We are just a few people who have been deeply touched by all that we have heard - and witnessed first hand - with the pain and suffering of innocent women and children in Ukraine ... and we decided to do something about it.

However, whether I am a fundraiser or not, I cannot turn away from a genuine opportunity to have those who may wish to contribute to this cause - see their contribution doubled.  If you have already contributed or prefer to invest your charitable contribution elsewhere, we bless you.

However, if you are at all considering donating to this work, there has never been a better time to consider a gift.  Between now and the end of the year, a donation online (or a cheque postmarked by year-end), all such funds received will be matched dollar-for-dollar, up to a total of $20,000.

Are We Making a Difference?

Have you ever wondered if what you gave made a difference? 

I'd like to introduce you to the children in this place we call the House of 64.  After we took them shopping, the kids themselves put together this video.   As to whether we're making a difference? ... Well, I think they should have the last word on that.

Please consider making a generous donation to help the people of Ukraine.   

The Good Samaritan.  He stopped to lend a hand, when others passed by.

He Had Compassion

To Friends and Supporters ... 

Here is a long-overdue update from earlier this year ... and if you read to the end, you'll learn of plans for more news to unfold in May and June of 2023.

In early January, 2023 from a two-week trip to Ukraine during which time, we managed to accomplish all of our objectives.   We established a network of contacts – in Germany, in Poland – that will assist us in moving humanitarian goods into Ukraine, to be picked up by our ministry partners there, and distributed where needed most. 

As you might imagine as you read the notes below, I came home flat-out exhausted, but all the more determined to make a difference for the hurting people of Ukraine.   However, this is completely a joint effort.   We simply could not have the impact that we have now … without your support. 

Please read the notes below for a full update of my time there.   I was able to sit down occasionally and process my thoughts before the confusion of time.  I sent those notes home to family and close friends, and so some of you may have seen these notes already, but for most, this is the first you’ve heard from me since I wrote to you in late December, saying that I was planning a trip to the region. 

And .. there’s a few photos on the bottom of this email. 

Once again, from the bottom of my heart, and on behalf of our brothers and sisters in Ukraine … thank you so very much!! 



Update 2023-01-02 


Still in Westfalia ... trying to get over jetlag. As you can see, it's not working!  😊

We will be here for 2-3 more days, getting vehicle and 2 trailers ownership sorted out, insurance, etc., and buying sleeping bags and generators, test-driving the van with trailer, connecting with and thanking local people who have helped us get these big things together.

I'm probably leaving here on the 5th.

Next stop: Berlin, for 2,000 hot water bottles ...   and other supplies.

Local temp here yesterday was 17C ... but with huge wind.  I think it is supposed to gradually return to more seasonal temperatures and winds ease. That would be better.  Remember, one of my core requests was for favorable weather.  That request remains high on my list. A van pulling a trailer at speed in high winds is not a comforting thought, especially while the trailer is empty and light.

Went to church here on the 1st ... mercifully, an evening service.  Church has a large contingent of Ukrainian refugees whose mother tongue is Russian. The service was in German, translated into Russian.  From my ears, all the prayers therefore, were in tongues, with interpretation!  😁

Beautiful worship, tender testimonies on an individual level.

Was invited with Mark & Elssi, Oleg & Iryna to the pastor's home for a lovely meal after the service. 

Over dinner, learned of a Ukrainian mother with two kids, 4 and 5 yrs old.  Father has abandoned them. 

Mother has cancer with only weeks to live. She has asked the pastor couple to adopt her children. They have agreed.

She does not want the children to be given to her own extended family.  She wants to know they will be raised to love Jesus and be cared for by people with gentle hearts.

In the midst of war, the dying wish of a loving mother, doing all she can to chart a course of protection, hope and faith ... for the loves of her life, knowing that she must trust the outcome to God.

Makes me cry just writing about it.  I cannot imagine living it.

I offered a thought to this pastor couple ... that they might suggest to mom that she write a letter to each of her kids, to be given to them when they are old enough to understand, explaining all the circumstances, as to who they are and why she made certain decisions and chose the caregivers that she did ... that such a letter, coming seemingly from beyond the grave, might answer important questions for future teenagers, struggling with identity. (hmm ... where do you suppose I got that idea? 😊 )

As this was translated on my behalf, those at the table visibly brightened, as this idea had not been previously considered.  A tangible comfort they can offer to the mother.

After dinner, i asked Oleg to translate as i read one of my favourite Christmas stories ... actually, one from The Vinyl Cafe "Story Exchange."

The second night in a row that I had occasion to share a story.  Both times made me cry.

It was a wonderful evening in their home.

Hugs all 'round as we parted.

That's it for now.  I'll close my eyes for a bit and see what happens. I have two hours now before my day begins in earnest.

Love to all ...


Update 2023-01-08 


It's been several whirlwind days since I last sat down to compose my thoughts.  I thought it best I try to catch up before more events push recent days into the fog.  

We left the Westfalia area of Germany with two vans, each pulling a trailer, and headed to Berlin, where we were expected at EBTC - European Bible Training Center.  They have collected all manner of goods to take to Ukraine, and they manage to ferry a good part of it into Ukraine on their own.  They helped us load up with 1200 hot water bottles, about 1000 kg's of canned fish and five large generators.  They then prepared paperwork for us to use at the border between Poland and Ukraine - itself a Herculean task. 

Finally, they led us into the building where they have a church, and ladies there prepared and presented a lovely meal, hot and fresh for us and some of their own workers. 

I said finally.  Not so fast.  Next the pastor and wife couple that were helping organize all these things directed us to follow them to their home, where they boarded us for the night.   Breakfast in their home was served the next morning at 0600 in order to get us on the road in good time. 

Next stop:  about 600 km's east to the warehouse in Poland where we had ordered a thousand sleeping bags.  We purchased them at significant cost, but great value, discounted between 55-58% of their list price ... as a friend to Ukraine.  

It was a holiday in Poland that day, but the fellow who cut the deal for us agreed to be at the warehouse on his holiday, in order to get us everything we needed without delay.   

In case you're wondering what a thousand sleeping bags look like, they come in boxes of 8-10, depending on the quality, and in our case there were eight pallets with 12 boxes on each, and piled a bit over my head. 

We filled both trailers to the top and also put several boxes in Oleg's van.  We left 1.5 pallet loads at the warehouse where a young man named Gideon will stop enroute from EBTC with his next load, and  bring them to Ukraine for us. We'll arrange ro meet him in Lviv. 

That night, we travelled 200 more km's across Poland to the home of an IT executive who offered us the use of his home.  While driving there, he contacted us to ask when we would arrive because he had arranged with a local Ukranian family to prepare dinner for us. 

If you're beginning to get the picture from all these events, we have discovered an entire "underground railway" of sorts, receiving and caring for Ukrainian refugees, and at the same time, receiving and caring for those who wish to lend a hand to Ukraine through any number of humanitarian efforts.  Oleg and I were caught up in ... and swept along by a strong current of support, heading towards Ukraine. 

Such an experience.  Oleg and I felt like Paul and Timothy, travelling to the various churches of Asia, where their needs were met, fellowship was offered ... and received with thanks. 

Thus far, we had crossed Europe with relative ease.  The van and two trailers had both been purchased and were working great.  The sleeping bags, hot water bottles, food and generators were all on our shopping list .... and now? were all in hand. 

What came next was a bit hard to comprehend and even a bit difficult to explain. 

The Border.

It requires a bit of explanation if your image of a border is based on what you have observed between Canada and the US. 

When one drives across the border from Poland to Ukraine, you must first pass through a Polish border exit control point.  The Polish exit authorities have procedures that are at least as complex as those encountered when entering Ukraine.  The "entering Ukraine" region of control is some 200-300 meters further down the road. 

Starting with Polish Exit authorities ...

We were yelled at by one border guard, sent 35 km's back into Poland to get more paperwork done, and wait about 90 minutes for that to happen.  Then we were directed by authorities to cross at a different border crossing that was an hour out of our way ... reason being, they thought our vehicles should be weighed, so  certain were they that we would be fined or declined entry for being overweight.

We were prepared for a fine ... but noooo ... no mention of a fine when we got to the second border crossing.

The Polish authorities didn't stop us this time ... but the Ukrainian authorities took over where the Poles left off.  They said that we could only bring in 1,000 € of goods.  We had something like 50,000 € worth of goods, plus three vehicles (a van and 2 trailers) to import.

For these agents, well, this sad state of affairs was not going to do at all.  They shook their head no ... you must go back.

Oleg spoke with a border guard for some time ... all to no avail. 

She went to call a superior, but Oleg asked her not to do that because the superior would surely say no, thus sealing our fate.

He asked again ... she shook her head.  So I asked for permission to speak while Oleg translated on my behalf. 

I explained that we had come from Canada and spent all our money to bring humanitarian goods to Ukraine to help the people of Mykolaiv and Kherson, and that we had no money available for duty or other costs. 

She went back inside her building.  We waited. 

In context, "we waited" doesn't do it justice.  We were there three hours.

She finally asked me questions, including my Canadian address and other things that would verify whether I was legit.

In due course, she finally came over to her window, and with her face looking down to the ground, she made a sweeping motion with her arm, indicating that we could go.

She didn't give us any stamped paper or otherwise say a thing.

She was the hero of the story so far.  She let us in, and simply turned a blind eye to us, bringing all kinds of things for the people in eastern Ukraine.

Next came the people who helped us complete the import of the van and the two trailers.  These people were downright helpful, showing us how to complete our import paperwork, and actually filling in one of the forms for me.

By now, other customs agents were wondering why we were still there so long .. and a handful of them kept asking us to take the lid off the trailer so they could "inspect the contents,"

In the end, several of them were very motivated to help us on our way.

Not your usual trip to the border.  Everything for the success of the trip hung in the balance today ... and God put his finger on the scales. 

One more thing:   When we had final permission to leave Customs at the border yesterday .... I told them ... that the people of Canada say "thank you" .... and the people of Mykolaiv and Kherson said: "God bless you."

We shook hands with several of them and one big burly border guard hugged me! 

Not his usual greeting, I should think.  😊 

Today was our first full day in Ukraine.   We enjoyed every minute of it.  A wonderful day if ever there was. 

Tonight the vans have been emptied and reloaded ... for a trip to the those most hurting: Mykolaiv. 

Leaving in the morning. 

Over ... and thanks for listening



Update - 2023-01-09 


Hi everybody.  A quick update while we wait for pizza delivery to our room.

"We" is Roman, a farmer, and Misha, an air conditioning/heat pump  technichian, both solid citizens in Oleg's church ... and me.

Neither one of them speaks a word of English.  Misha has a few words in German, as do I, then add my dozen or so words in Ukrainian and presto ... you have three very confused conversationalists! 

Enter Google translate ... at every step of the way ... and you have the three of us driving two vans, one with a trailer, from Ivano-Frankivsk ... headed for Mykolaiv.

It's a distance of 1,000 km's and would have taken 12 and a half hours, according to Google ... except for, well, the two ice storms along the way. 

We weren't actually in them; we came along in each instance just after they occurred.  They called it a cyclone, and if it was a Hollywood set, you'd say they spared no expense. 

First, the heavy fog, then fire up the crazy wind generator, topple over large trees along the highway, and pelt the windshield of any passing motorist with "sheets" of clear, glassy-looking hailstones.  For extra emphasis, make all the motorists pass jack-knifed trucks and trailers with the flashing lights of emergency vehicles. 

Then, a few minutes and km's later, bring out the sun, melt the weird ice pellets ... and everyone's wondering what the fuss was all about.

About an hour later, run it all again.

All to say ... we worked our 12-hour shift ... but we didn't quite make it to Mykolaiv.  300 km's short, in fact.

That would leave us eating pizza in a hotel room in the city of Kropyvnytskyi.

Don't just look it up; try and pronounce it! 

OK, here's how you start.  Try saying it without the "v" in the middle. It comes out:

Crop - nit - ski

Easy -peasy.  But you're not there yet.  You've got to weasel that "v" back in there.  It actually becomes:

Crop - vil - nit - ski

It's about 300 km's short of our target.  We're planning our departure from here at 0500 in order to get to Mykolaiv in good time tomorrow.  We have quite a bit of stuff to deliver.  We have two large generators.  I'm not sure if we'll need to unpack and set them up or not.  Depends on the expertise of the people receiving them.  And we have sooo much other stuff that filled two vans and one trailer.  Yes, there's sleeping bags and hot water bottles, but there's also pasta, soups, soup mixes, sauces, cooking oil, cracked wheat ... and a generator.

Tomorrow night is at a pastor's house either in Mykolaiv .. or a wee village just out of the city.

So ... it's lights out for this boy.  I'm beyond exhausted ... but enjoying all that we're doing.  These are good days.  If all goes well, I'll be back in Ivano late Wednesday, and that would leave one full day to visit H64 ... and possibly Oleg's mother and father.

Much love to everyone.



Update - 2023-01-13 


Here I sit on the e-Bus, waiting to leave Ivano-Frankivsk ... and my heart is full. 

My journey of two weeks has included travelling to Minden, where I enjoyed a lovely meal in Mark & Elssi's home (thank you, Elssi), time and a meal in their pastor's home (thank you, Viktor), time and a meal with Samuel & Ilona (thank you, Samuel), I got to drive a beautiful van to Ukraine that was found by Samuel and brought to Minden by Mark (thank  you, Samuel for all your work on this, and Mark, for your help retrieving the van), we pulled two perfect trailers (again, thank you Samuel and Mark), we drove safely to Berlin (thank you, Lord), we loaded  up at EBTC where we were fed and then slept at the Pastor's home ...  and fed again (thank you, people of God), we purchased a thousand sleeping bags (thank you for finding them, good Christian friend,  Sebastion), we stayed at Sebastion's home and he arranged for us to enjoy a meal with his friends in the church there (thank you to all  these people), we travelled safely to ... and finally through ... the border from Poland to Ukraine (thanks be to God), we drove to Lviv and  found hotel rooms on Orthodox Christmas Day when we were too exhausted  to drive to Ivano (thank you, Lord), we drove to Ivano Sunday morning, arriving in time to enjoy sweet fellowship in Resurrection Baptist Church (mercies upon mercies), the remaining sleeping bags that we could not carry were transported from Poland to Lviv by a servant of God, aptly named Gideon, who is living up to his name (praise be to God), two wonderful servants of God travelled with Ian to Mykolaiv (giving thanks for these two brothers, Misha and Roman, and to their families who blessed them in this journey), for the hospitality shown by the faithful  servants in the church in Mykolaiv (daughter, Anna, her beautiful baby, her mother and father, her brother, Daniel, the two pastor brothers, the pastor's wife - I am sorry - I do not have all the names (praise God for them all), for all the people at their homes who tearfully and gratefully received what we had to offer (God's richest blessings on you all), to all the blessed men, women and especially the children of the  House of 64, the wonderful joy in which you protect, honor and  strengthen each other, you have strengthened me by seeing how you serve  each other.   Though these are difficult days, when the difficulty passes, you will recognize all the more clearly that you were protected  by the hand of God through it all (thank you, Lord Jesus, for your hand of protection over this family. Build their fellowship, build their community, build their faith, courage, and hope in you, O Lord. 

I pray now for Oleg, Iryna and Diana to return to health.  I pray for Sabbath rest for Oleg.    I  pray for Mark and Samuel as they discover business opportunities.  I pray that they remain true to your Word in all they say and do. 

Thank you Lord for giving me opportunities to see your love in action, for your people who have been called by your name. 

To my dear brother, Oleg, my sincerest thanks for all you have done to make this entire journey possible.  For your wisdom at the border, for you and Iryna graciously hosting me, for seeing to my safety as my guardian angel, by deploying your troops to protect and serve the mission when you yourself had poured out all your energy and needed rest.  For your friendship, your brotherhood, your strong Christian  witness both to me, to your church and to your beautiful family, I give you thanks ... and I give thanks to God for you.  With much love, my brother. 

Now, as I begin my journey home,  allow me, Lord, to reflect on all that has transpired, all that I have seen and heard, the weaving of your Spirit into the lives and hearts of those you love and call your own.  Grant us all peace through this time of war, courage to face what comes and protection from the evil one.   For all these things, we give thanks and praise to the One True God, in  whose name we pray.  Amen .. and Amin.


Please consider making a generous donation to help the people of Ukraine.   

The Good Samaritan.  He stopped to lend a hand, when others passed by.

He Had Compassion


Update 2023-04-16  


It’s been some time since I wrote and included an update.

As a summary: we purchased a van and two trailers in Germany, filled them with generators, over a thousand sleeping bags, hot water bottles, and several tons of food. These goods all made it to areas in eastern Ukraine, very near the conflict zone. In fact, areas that we visited had been regularly shelled before our arrival … and all have been shelled since our departure. I am speaking of areas around Mykolaiv and within the city of Kherson.

I can report to you that we have now distributed something well in excess of 100 tons … or about 100,000 kg if you prefer … of humanitarian aid – primarily food. We have sometimes purchased the food, and sometimes we have simply been the ones best positioned to take it from other agencies .. and deliver it where needed most.

Our biggest purchase … was for sleeping bags and hot water bottles. The first 20 such high-quality bags cost us about $90 USD per bag. That was last summer. As events unfolded, we were able to source high quality sleeping bags from both the Czech Republic and from Poland, at a fraction of that price. More than 1,500 bags … and hot water bottles as well. Protection from the cold of a miserable winter undoubtedly saved as many lives as did the food, generators, medicine and hygiene products that we have been able to bring.

Or how about the firewood? After one trip, we asked: what’s the most important thing you need that we didn’t bring? The answer: firewood

With natural gas shut off or in short supply, the Ukrainian government had purchased wood stoves for some communities, but there was no easy access to firewood. For one community, we found a firewood supplier who delivered 18 cubic meters of solid oak firewood. It was enough to sparingly heat a small room in each house in the village for about ten days during the darkest days of winter. Altogether, in that village, we supplied food, sleeping bags, hot water bottles … and some heat for everyone there. It made an incredible difference.

You know what takes the greatest amount of time, when delivering these things? It’s the stories, as each and every recipient wants to express, in words and tears, their deepest gratitude. That the God who heard their prayers, would send someone all the way from Canada, to organize and deliver exactly what they needed, just when they needed it most.

Seriously, I get the greatest blessing, being the hands and feet of generous people. That’s you.

As I’ve said from the very beginning of this work, we can’t do it all … but we can do more than nothing.

My goals have been to establish the logistics of all the sources and distribution, to control the costs thus maximizing what it is that we can do, and then check to see how it is all unfolding.

We have three vans and three trailers that are on the road most days of the week. One van and trailer goes the shorter distance, from western Ukraine to the border with Poland in order to retrieve supplies. This trip takes a day, and the trip is made a few times a week. The other two vans make the long (1300 km each way) trip to the Mykolaiv – Kherson region in the east of the country. That is 3-4 days for a round trip, bringing supplies, sometimes to the very edge of the conflict. Trips are made elsewhere as well, as needs are identified and plans can be made. Just this week, the two vans made another trip to the north-east corner of the country – a four day round trip to a place called Volchansk. It is literally about 3 km’s from the Russian border. The team went in, dropped off everything and left .. all on Thursday this last week. On Friday, the place was shelled yet again, taking one more life of someone in the town.

Yes … there is some danger involved in this work. Thus far, the Lord’s hand of safety has been on everyone with whom I have the privilege to work.

This ministry to Ukraine started with a pledge – by me, on behalf of my wife and I – that we would feed this place we called the “House of 64.”

We said that “if there is food on our table, there is going to be food on your table.”

“For how long?” .. they asked.

Our answer: “For as long as it takes.”

We care for the people in this home in the country in many ways that go beyond nutrition. We purchased winter clothing for everyone there. We bought school supplies, and we are making plans to get them all in to see a dentist over a period of time.

And something you might never expect: we are welcoming one of them to our home in Canada. Yes, a 17-year old girl, a high-school graduate, will come to Canada and live with us, while she seeks a university education. Her parents have looked for a way to get her out of the country, to safety, and to find a way to get her a university education. My family and I have decided to make this possible for her.

People like to shower us with praise for all these things … but I must say again: I get the greatest blessing from it all. There is no one in this world that expresses gratitude to greater depth or with more sincerity … than a grandmother in a village that is struggling to heat a home where their neighbours – a 22-year old mother, with an 11-month old baby, have taken refuge. To come with food, clothing and a means of heating the place … they insist that I convey their heartfelt thanks to the ones who made this possible. I have assured them that I would do my best.

Can you hear their words in mine? For me, I am touched someplace deep within … somewhere I might have once thought was stone-cold to the misery on the news, preoccupied with first-world problems.

So … it’s time to lay out our upcoming plans.

This spring, I will be returning to Ukraine – my third trip within a nine month timeframe. In addition to the distribution of food and humanitarian supplies, I have been asked to lead a series of seminars, dealing with the subject of trauma. I am calling it “Trauma First Aid.” If we think in terms of medical first aid, we know that everyone needs basic training. The “A -B -C’s of first aid. First, clear the air passages, check for a pulse, stop any bleeding and so on. Trauma first aid can be thought of similarly. The church in Ukraine is overwhelmed by an entire country that is suffering various degrees of trauma due to events that have not occurred in Europe since WW II. What we are doing is providing some basic tools to equip the church to support their communities in trauma sensitive ways.

This activity is going to require that I stay in eastern Ukraine for a significant part of my time in the country – not travelling back and forth to the relative safety of the western region. I certainly appreciate your prayers as we engage in important work.

I will finish my trip with a few days at the House of 64, building relationships there, encouraging them … and listening to their stories. It’s another version of what we are planning for the workshops in the east.

Altogether, I will be in Ukraine for three weeks.

As before, I welcome your participation, both in prayer and financially, if you are motivated to be a part. The work is important. It is life-changing … and life-giving. I am honoured to represent you when I am there. I tell them repeatedly that I am just the public face of the ministry, supported by many throughout Canada and elsewhere.

We just passed Easter. The people of Ukraine are sorely in need of the hope that only Christ can bring. We can be his hands and feet.

Bless you all …


Update - 2023-05-27


To All Friends and Supporters of He Had Compassion

A few thoughts from Ukraine. 

I’ve been here two weeks now, with less than one left to go.   We’ve delivered tons of humanitarian goods right up to … and one day, within … a city that was shelled as recently as the day before we arrived.  Together, my good friend, Pastor Oleg and I have travelled more than 3,000 kilometers by road during these last two weeks.  In addition, to-date, I have presented what we have called “Trauma First Aid” seminars in each of four locations.  Oleg has translated, and elders of his church – and other churches we have reached out to – have offered incredible support to me, in order to make all this possible.  

Most importantly, those hearing the presentations have been genuinely moved to tears, and, because we asked each local church to present the opportunity for Trauma First Aid to their entire community, the churches have been full to overflowing, including usually about 30% of those in attendance from outside the faith.   And finally, in every setting but one, people have asked how to receive Christ as their Lord.   This outpouring of the grace of God within the community of the local church has been a new experience for me.   How to respond … when you pray for God’s blessing … and he actually shows up.  

The seminars are about four hours in length, including a 10-minute coffee time stretch … and a 40-minute break for a meal.   Seminar topics are not “delivered” like a Sunday sermon.  What I have learned about traumatized people, is that they are slow to absorb what is shared.   Each piece is more like a meditation.  An independent, stand-alone thought, that they need time to ponder and reflect on.   Trauma is something that “happens” to people, which is to say, they have lost control.   To help people step back from their traumatized state, among the first steps … is to help them re-establish a sense of control over events – in their lives, and in the room.  Right now. 

The seminar length has worked well and gives people time to discuss and build community.   I wasn’t sure if we would be able to get them to speak about their fears and traumas, but they came to receive, and the din of conversation rose from quiet beginnings … to full volume, with most everyone engaged.   Only when the volume begins to reduce to a few voices … do we then reconvene the room.  They are in control.

After the first seminar, conducted on a Saturday, we remained at that church on Sunday, where I was scheduled to lead a devotional at the start of the service and Oleg was to then preach.  When we arrived on Sunday, 30 minutes before the scheduled start of the service, every seat was already filled, with extra chairs brought into the aisles, and more sitting outside the sanctuary.  The following week, one church member who works in a post office / drug store, told how Saturday’s seminar was so helpful and relevant.   She told of how everyone who came into her workplace was talking about it.

Yes … this has been a crazy experience.   Here’s a few photos that tell something of the story from here.


Worship in the Mala Korenykha church


 An afternoon in Mykolaiv


The people of Mala Korenykha church

And finally, perhaps a photo that defines the Ukrainian psyche as much as anything.  The determination to carry on normal life as much as possible, all the while living with great danger.  The young married woman in the photo above said to me: “We are all frightened, all the time, but we must stay strong for the children.”  This seminar gave her a chance to express her feelings … and to know that she is not alone. 

She is the mother of the boy in the stroller below.  With a stop at the Mykolaiv zoo, to keep life as normal as possible, the boy is enjoying a look at the animals, all the while, sitting close to the remains of a mortar shell.  It is beautiful and heartbreaking … all at once.


Next Steps

I have less than a week left here … and much to do.   Tomorrow (Sunday) we will present to the largest group yet.  People from several churches have been invited.   Our final seminar will be Sunday evening, in an interesting location.  We will head about an hour from here to the church in the village where Pastor Oleg was led to Christ and subsequently into ministry.  That particular outing … I view as a great honour, as Oleg is introducing me to the church consisting of his first Christian community, the place he grew up, and in the presence of his elderly mother and father.   I will treasure this time.

House of 64

So … why am I staying a few days longer?   I am, of course, headed to the House of 64 for some time there and to assess their needs.   Also, I haven’t mentioned Alina yet.  Alina is 17 years old and is graduating from high school at the end of the week.  She is a resident of the House, and she is going to move to Canada to learn English, to study, to attend university, with her ultimate goal to become a primary school teacher.   Kathy and I have agreed to become her legal guardians and to assist her in this process.  We have gotten to know something of Alina’s story … and her passion to be the best that she can be.   I will share more of Alina’s story another day.

In Closing

While I’ve been here, I’ve been holding my breath a bit, waiting for the long-anticipated Ukrainian counter-offensive.   It is due any day, any time now.   Pray for this country.  For wisdom, for protection, for the least possible loss of life to occur as events unfold.   Pray for the soldier and member of Oleg’s church that we shared lunch with today.  He has been on temporary leave, but could not stay for tomorrow’s seminar, as he has an overnight train tonight that will take him 1200 km’s back to the front line.  Pray for his family that remains here.  Pray for tomorrow’s important seminars to unfold well.  Pray for Alina’s final week in the country of her birth.  Pray that paperwork and visas are all correct in order that border guards and others view all these things favourably.

This email is sent only to those who have contributed in some way to the ministry of He Had Compassion, either financially or through intercessory prayer.   You are welcome to share this with your close friends and those you think might like to come alongside.   As I’ve said many times, 100% of any funds contributed go into work in Ukraine, without deduction of any kind, and I cover my own expenses.  We have three vans and three trailers taking food and other supplies from the borders of Poland, Czechia and Romania and delivering it to – and sometimes within – the very edge of a man-made hell.  

We can’t do it all … but we can do more than nothing.

Thank you for your support.


The Good Samaritan.  Lending a hand when others pass by.   He had compassion.



Update - 2023-06-03 


I just arrived home from three weeks in Ukraine.  My bags are unpacked and put away, but the experiences, the thoughts, sentiments and emotions ... I will be unpacking for some time.  

Thoughts of those whose eyes caught mine.  Of people there, believing and hoping for things to improve.  As a young mother, living near the city of Mykolaiv, on the Black Sea, told me:  "We are all frightened, all the time, but we must be strong for the children."

We distributed humanitarian aid .. tons and tons of it ... in and around the Mykolaiv area.  As well, we did a series of six "Trauma First Aid" workshops for people in mostly packed-out settings.  I prepared for several months, for what became a 4-hour session, including a meal, of practical ideas people could use in order to lower the stress of everyone ... and spiritual truths to consider in order to begin to walk a path toward healing.  The feedback was beyond gratifying.  So very worthwhile.

But I have more news.  I am returning with more than memories.  I'd like to introduce you to Alina.  Alina is 17 years old and has just graduated with top honours from high school in Ukraine.  She is here to study, to improve her English and, when ready, to enter a program of studies at university to become a teacher. 

Alina and her family have been living in what we call the “House of 64.”  She has given me permission to share her testimony with you, but posting it here, in this setting, gives me pause.  It speaks of pain and trauma in a country that has passively tortured its children through neglect and actively tortured many more through unspeakable abuse.   Alina’s last ten years have been of amazing grace, in marked contrast with what came before.

Alina will live in our home ... and will become part of our family.  She has a wonderful, warm, loving family in Ukraine ... but we are welcoming her here, into our home, as one of us.  Willow has already adopted Alina as her new best friend! 😊

Today at the Vancouver airport was very special. 

A bit of background ...

In all former eastern bloc countries, Soviet shadows still hang heavy in the air.  Everyone in authority ... anyone in any kind of uniform receives only half their pay in their financial compensation.  I swear they get the other half from the power and prestige of barking orders at people, scaring them half to death for fear of consequences.  

As we travelled, I told Alina that it was not like that here in Canada, that she would be warmly received.  As I was speaking on her behalf to Immigration officials at the airport, I made mention of this to the fellow there, and told him that I promised this young lady from Ukraine that someone here, wearing the uniform of Canada, would extend to her a warm welcome with kind words and a gentle smile. He said: "I think I can do that for you."  

I called Alina, who was then sitting, some distance away, to come, that this fellow would like to speak with her.  Right on cue, he leaned forward, and offered her a warm welcome, with words, tone and a smile. He said: "I am confident you will be very successful here. Welcome to Canada!"  

Alina smiled and cried, all at the same time.   

What it took to get here.  From the stress of war, from studying at times in air raid shelters, to the hopes, the dreams ... all the preparation for this day, leading to this moment ... now seemingly in the hands of yet one more person in uniform.

It's the closest thing to an immigration experience that I will ever personally encounter.  The chances of me leaving Canada to emigrate somewhere else?  When hell freezes over.  That's when.

On our way home from the airport, I took a slight detour to White Rock .. right down to the ocean's edge.  It was about 1:00 pm Saturday afternoon.  Sunny, warm, people and ice cream, kids and laughter, a Canadian flag at the end of the pier, the fragrance of flowers everywhere ... and a sweet ocean breeze.

I asked Alina to take a deep breath and told her: this is the smell of a country at peace.  

It is the smell of freedom.

Welcome home, Alina!

Alina's first day in Canada

 We continue our work in Ukraine.  I will likely return there early in the fall.  In the meantime, our vans and trailers are continuing to take supplies to those in or near the war zone … as well as to the House of 64.

If your heart calls out for you to support this work, please consider a donation to help out.   Everything counts toward making a change for the better.

Lending a hand though others pass by.  He Had Compassion.


Thank you for making all we do possible.  Really, all of you:  you’re the best … and on behalf of those we serve, thank you so very much.



Update - 2023-06-18 


To All Friends and Supporters of our work in Ukraine

Most people reading this are well aware of our work in Ukraine, and that I recently returned from my third trip there.   If you’re new here, perhaps a brief summary is due.   New information follows.  Please take a few moments to read … and consider forward to anyone who might consider supporting this work.

The ministry of He Had Compassion (“HHC”) has been active in Ukraine since February 2022.   During this time, HHC has developed and focused our humanitarian and gospel outreach ministry, from a base in western Ukraine to cities and small towns in the east of the country.  We receive humanitarian goods from Poland, Germany, Czechia, Hungary, and some from within Ukraine itself … into a warehouse location in Ivano-Frankivsk.   We then assess needs in the cities of the east and load up accordingly.  We have three large vans, three trailers and to-date, have carried more than 125 tons (approximately 100,000 kg’s) of food, water, medicine, cleaning supplies, sleeping bags, hot water bottles, generators, Bibles, Bible story books, used clothing … and more … all to the very edge of the man-made hell that is the war.

I have travelled three times to Ukraine within a nine-month period, beginning in August, 2022.  During my second trip, early in 2023, the team established important logistics, including vehicles, vehicle maintenance, suppliers, warehouse location, drivers, and target recipients. A vehicle and two trailers were purchased in Germany, and those vehicles, plus one additional, were filled to the max before leaving Germany and Poland, arriving in Ukraine on Orthodox Christmas eve, Jan 6, 2023.   They have been in almost daily use since that time.  

We have drawn upon a network of approximately 150 evangelical churches and their pastors, all emanating from our contacts in western Ukraine, and via an evangelical seminary in Kyiv.   Together, they offer logistics assistance and local support wherever we go.

As the above took shape, we took a breath … and asked the recipient churches:  What is the most important thing you need that we have not yet brought?

Their answer:  We need some way to deal with the trauma we are all experiencing.  

Trauma First Aid

So began our search for the most-effective means of delivering “care” that would be practical, of significant value and would make a long-term difference to those who would receive.   Over a few months, we pondered, prayed, researched, and a plan of action emerged.  We settled on the idea of local seminars, within each community. 

Delivering to the locations where traumas are occurring has multiple benefits.  First, most of the local population is not able to travel.  Few have vehicles, fewer still can afford fuel, and almost none are willing to travel any distance from their home, should shelling in their area resume.  We can bring our help to them.  Secondly, we can present directly to the people affected, rather than remotely training only leaders, thus avoiding putting even more responsibility on the shoulders of leaders when they are already stretched to the max.   Finally, having brought food and other supplies, we have “reputation” with them.  We have come to their aid when others have fled.  We have eaten at their tables, wept with them in their homes, sang and prayed in their churches.   We have voice.

Of note:  Ukraine is not suffering from classic “PTSD,” as usually defined.   There is nothing “post” about it.  What people there are experiencing is often daily, repeatedly, happening to themselves or others they know and love.  The entire population of Ukraine has been … continues to be … traumatized in one way or another – and often in multiple ways.  It is unrealistic to expect an entire country of 30-40+ million people to take a number and wait to speak with a professional. 

Circumstances dictate that there must be a better answer.

In our search for a path forward, we found several examples and several possible resources to draw upon.  Resources from the American Bible Society have been an excellent cornerstone resource.  As well, resources from a friend of the ministry, Jim Cunningham, who has more than a decade of experience, dealing with trauma in several African nations, has been very helpful.  The resources generously offered by Dr. George Rhoades, Ph.D, an expert in the field of trauma counselling, have been invaluable.   The close counsel of Herb Neufeld, retired Senior Pastor of Willingdon Church and personal friend, has been invaluable.  Finally, scripture itself speaks clearly in a great many passages, providing guidance, counsel and comfort where trauma is prevalent.

From all these resources and more, emerged what we came to call:  Trauma First Aid.   A 4-hour seminar to equip the local community to deal – in some measure – with the trauma they were experiencing. 

Everyone understands the concept of medical first aid.  To check for a pulse, to clear air passages, to apply pressure to a wound to stop the bleeding, to ask if the injured can hear you and to find out where it hurts … and to call for help.    Trauma first aid has many similarities.   Helpers are the first ones on-site.  They can provide comfort, hope and a degree of protection from further injury.   They can provide long-term support and more: they can recognize the symptoms in themselves as well.  Traumatized people can, themselves, be very good helpers, and many places in scripture support these concepts.

Finally, because the church has been delivering food and other humanitarian supplies to their local community, whether people are related to the church or not, this has become the next logical step, for church members to invite their communities to come – not to a church service – but rather, to a seminar that can give them some tools to steady themselves through dark days, when most everyone has lost sight of the horizon.

Our Plan

We devised a plan and prepared the ground.   We loaded three vans and three trailers to the very limit of what they could carry and drove approximately 1300 km’s east to the Mykolaiv area.  We travelled through the city of Mykolaiv to the village of Mala Korenykha, where they hosted us for the week, about to unfold.  Over the following week, we distributed all humanitarian goods in each of four separate communities within that peninsula of land, between two inlets off the Black Sea, each time, inviting the local church to invite the broader community to a seminar, entitled “Trauma First Aid.”  The communities were Mala Korenykha, Nechayane, Shurino, and Ochakiv.   

We began in our home base, Mala Korenykha.   The seminar was scheduled for Saturday.  Four hours, including a BBQ lunch outdoors.   The church was packed.  Once the church was full, people were ushered one at a time to the front of the single, narrow aisle, with a chair placed just behind them, in order to sit down.  One at a time, this continued until the aisle was full.   After that point, no one could leave the church if they wanted to!    Next, chairs were then set into the foyer, just outside the sanctuary, where many more crowded up to the door.  They could not see the speaker or the screen.  They listened.

The format included beginning with a 90-minute opening interactive session, followed by a ten-minute stretch break, then another 45-minute session, leading to a 40-minute break for lunch.  Following lunch, we reconvened for a final hour session that addressed remaining topics and drew people close in prayer and worship of our Lord.

What unfolded next surpassed all our planning, exceeding our hopes for a meaningful experience. 

The format included several opportunities for people to turn to their neighbours and discuss what had just been presented, or to answer a question that had been posed.  We didn’t know, in advance, whether we could actually get these people to speak out loud to family, to friends, to neighbours – about how the war had been impacting them personally.   The first time I released them to speak to the person sitting near them, there was an awkward 5-10 seconds of dead silence in the room.   And then it began … first a conversation here and there … and then building.  Not loud discussion, but nearly everyone in the room engaged.   Oleg and I prayed at the front, and I wept, knowing that the Holy Spirit had taken the crumbs of our preparation … and turned it into a feast for those in the room.   I knew that God was going to use us for something significant for these people. 

At the end of the four hours, the crowd was slow to leave, wanting to share more stories with us, to shake our hands and to have photos taken.  And then … something I had not anticipated. Three ladies stepped forward, and through translation, said that they wanted to know and to follow Jesus, and would I please lead them to Him in prayer.    What an honour!

The next day was Sunday and we had planned to stay in that church and have a day of rest.  The local pastor came to us and asked if we would bring the Sunday sermon as well.  Having been in Ukraine twice before, I have experienced this – short notice invitation to lead – and I had come prepared.  However, I chose to lead the devotional and asked Oleg to lead the message.   He agreed.  The Sunday morning service was scheduled for 10:00 am.   Oleg and I arrived at 9:30 to find the church already full, with just two chairs saved, for Oleg and me at the front.   The pastor said that the church had been full since 9:00 am.  They were waiting for us.   Incredible.

Variations on this story unfolded over the next week, as we presented the same materials in three other churches that were each within about 125 km’s of this location.   Each church was filled to the maximum possible.  In one location, they opened the shutters on the windows and people stood outside to listen and participate.      In the end, we delivered this seminar to six churches, the remaining two being further west in Ukraine.   Before we left the Mykolaiv area, in all locations but one, people accepted Christ, though that was not the predominant theme of the message delivered.   Generally, 2-3 people in each setting gave their hearts to Christ, and in one case, four people did so.


The most difficult case was the city of Ochakiv.   We were warned by the pastor there, not to come, that there had been missile attacks most days, and that on Sunday, the church service needed to end prematurely while the entire congregation squeezed into their bomb shelter.  A city with a peacetime population of 12,000 was now a fraction of that.   Russian mortars were regularly fired at the town from a location just 8 km’s away, creating damage and terrorizing the 2500 or so citizens that had chosen to stay.   The pastor also thought that our efforts to come would be thwarted by police roadblocks.

We prayed about this and waited.  

The following day, I asked Oleg to find out:  Are they still intending to hold church services?  

The answer came:  Yes.

I said:  Then we will come.   I believe the soldiers at the roadblocks will let us through when they see that we have a load of food to deliver, to bring hope to the people of the town.  The pastor spread the word:  the seminar would go on as scheduled.

And off we went.

The moment we entered the town, the air raid sirens sounded off.   Two vehicles on the road – ours and the pastor who met us at the entrance to the town.   No one else to be seen.   We drove to the church and noted the pot-marked walls of the church buildings – damage from cluster bombs designed to inflict maximum human carnage.  Shortly after our arrival, the sirens ended, and people began to arrive to the church, walking down roads and through fields. 

The church was about half-full, and we began the seminar 30 minutes behind schedule.   I began with about a ten-minute introduction … and the pastor came into the sanctuary and asked me to wait, that more people were walking up the street toward the church.   I paused and when I began again, I took it from the top, now with the church nearly full.   It happened again – ten minutes in, the pastor came and asked me to wait.  He could see about fifteen more people walking towards the church.  I finally began in earnest about an hour late … and they continued to arrive … the church, once again, like the others, full to overflowing.  And yes, they opened the windows (which were normally covered by thick plywood to protect from cluster bombs) and people stood outside.

On the one hand, I think:  Incredible.

However, on the other hand, during this, my third trip to Ukraine within a nine-month window of time, I have repeatedly seen the absolute determination of its people, to live their lives, as normally as humanly possible.   I have witnessed a tenderness to spiritual matters, to the words of Christ, that they might hear His message for their lives.   I have found an openness to the truths of scripture that leaves me embarrassed at my own lack of faith in dark times.


Our final two seminar locations were in the west of the country, and the largest of these was in Oleg’s home church in Ivano-Frankivsk.

At the lunch break in Ivano, as was usual, there was a line of people who wanted to speak with me or simply have a photo, etc.   This time, it took nearly the entire lunch break to work my way through the group.   I suggested that they should hurry to get some lunch before the time had passed.  That’s when I noticed a boy, sitting in a chair at the front of the church.  It turned out that he, too, was waiting to speak with me, but perhaps a little shyer.  He told me his name, that he was 13, and that he and his father were from Kharkiv.   In defining his background, he was telling me something that anyone in Ukraine would know.   Kharkiv is Ukraine’s second-largest city, predominantly Russian-speaking, close to the border with Russia, and was successfully targeted by the Russians for occupation early in the war.   Life there has been hell, with people living for months in subway stations and such.  Ukrainian forces have retaken the city, but it has since suffered unmercifully by bombs, mortars and attacks.  

He continued:  It’s just my father and me now.  Anyway, I want to thank you for what you shared this morning, about you and your father (my dad, WW II, significant trauma, long story).  He said that his days had been quite dark … and that what I had shared had given him hope.

I shook his hand, thanked him for his words, and said that his encouragement was my goal. 

And then he asked:   Would it be ok … could I have a hug?

A beautiful 13-year-old boy … daring to ask me for a hug.  I gave him the longest, deepest hug that I could find within.    We both cried. 

And I nearly missed it!   What 13-year-old boy do you know would ask a stranger for a hug … and dare to cry in his arms?

As I think back on that interaction, I understand that what God empowered me to share that morning gave him hope with his own father and gave him courage to face his future.

In Closing

One cannot enter into people’s pain without it touching your own heart.  That is the beauty and strength of love.   It is sacrificial, knowing that you, yourself will be impacted.  You will feel something of their pain.   It is not boastful; it is not proud.   It just is.  

And I am glad that it hurts, because if it didn’t hurt, I’d be concerned for my own sense of humanity.  

I am grateful for the opportunities given me each time I go to Ukraine.   And yes, I fully anticipate that I will go again, probably late in the fall.   The goal will be to work our way into Kherson (currently flooded) and to whatever points east of there that are possible to reach at that time.   Preliminary plans are in the works, but that is a story yet to be written.


Update - 2023-10-18   


The House of 64 ... and The Road to Mykolaiv

To Friends and Supporters of He Had Compassion, and our work in Ukraine:

Greetings to all.   It’s time to bring you a bit of an update on our work in Ukraine … and to let you know what we’re doing next.

House of 64

Let me begin with the House of 64.   We continue to provide basic food and humanitarian supplies and support for the people in the house.  We think of those as “the basics,” but there has always been more.   You may recall that last year about this time, we took everyone there shopping for winter clothes and footwear.   That’s when we received a “thank you” video, put together by the kids in the home.   If you haven’t seen that video, or would like to see it again, you’ll find it on the home page of our website (link below), about three-quarters of the distance down the page.

When I was there in the spring of 2023, I worked with someone who has taken general responsibility of managing the affairs of the home.  She and her husband are residents there and serve their house community by meeting together for prayer and sharing of needs.   She and I drew up a list of specific needs for people in the home.  Of the total number of people living there, there were 23 with significant and/or acute needs.   On the list were medical, dental, optical, and psychological needs.  Several simply needed corrective lenses, but many more needed dental care, some requiring oral surgery.  The list included diabetics needing care, treat-able cancer, heart disease and one with auditory disease that, left untreated, would have left a young mother deaf within two years.  She has now received a proper diagnosis and medication leading to a cure.   Several needed diagnostic MRI’s, leading to further diagnosis and treatment, and all of those are now underway or complete.

We received a stream of messages back to us from people in the home, many saying much the same thing:   Your kindness to us all has saved several of our lives, and made the rest far healthier and able to work.   We are beyond grateful for your kindness and your care.

That’s you, they are talking about!   Your donations have not been spent on “something, somewhere over in Ukraine.” 

They say:  “You have contributed to saving lives in this home.  And your prayers have sustained our spirits.   Together … you have restored our faith in humanity and our hope for the future.”

The Road to Mykolaiv

I will return there soon.   Yes, I am leaving Canada before the end of October, and will be in Ukraine until mid-November, just short of three weeks in-country.   We will continue to distribute humanitarian resources and goods to several communities neighbouring the Black Sea, in and around Mykolaiv, and we hope to get as far as Kherson.  Though travelling to Kherson carries increased risk., we also reach people with the greatest need.   We have now distributed something in excess of 150 tons of goods, again, with thanks to you for this provision.  Truly, I have lost track of the grand total.   We have three huge vans and each pulls a trailer.  Drivers are elders of the church, each volunteering their time, and those making the 2,000 km round trip from western Ukraine to the war zone spend the night with church members on each end of the trip. 

The vans are constantly on the road so fuel and vehicle maintenance are our biggest continuing expenses.  We are still able to pick up food at low or no cost when we can connect with churches in countries neighbouring Ukraine to the west.   A continuing expense is for sleeping bags, hot water bottles and hygiene products, all of which are in strong demand.   The drill:  we fill each van with heavy items of food (cooking oil, flour, sugar salt, soups, sauces, pasta, etc.) and when it is full by weight, we fill the empty space with lighter items, like the sleeping bags and such.    The drive takes us from our storage warehouse in the west of the country, and travels secondary highways all the way to Mykolaiv and the Black Sea.  Mykolaiv and the neighbouring towns and villages were once beautiful jewels in eastern Ukraine which the war has rendered a different world … of trauma, of loss and of desperation.  

We distribute the goods that we bring, and I will once again be invited to deliver what we call “Trauma First Aid” seminars to those communities.   We were so very well-received in the six communities where we delivered the seminar to overflow crowds … they have asked us to come back and do further training in this area.  As well, the war has moved on in some areas where we will be able to reach, that were once occupied … now free and relatively safe to visit.

For those who may wonder:  No one tempts fate in these trips of ours.   We are constantly aware of our surroundings and opportunities to find shelter from any storm, natural or man-made.   Although every move a person makes in a country at war includes a calculated risk, we do our very best to avoid areas that are at-risk to be shelled … for our safety … and to avoid drawing a crowd to meet us there, thus protecting residents themselves.  

We pray for wisdom in all these things.   Would you pray with us?

The Biggest Fear

The biggest concern of the people we meet in Ukraine is not their fear of the war and the tragedies it brings.   Their biggest fear … is that people in the west will forget them … and move on to the next item on the news.   Out of a country of 45 million Ukrainian citizens, at least ten million of them have  become refugees leaving the country for at least a portion of the war since February, 2022 … and perhaps ten million more have been displaced from their home and are refugees internal to Ukraine, living a thousand or more km’s away in the relative safety of western Ukraine, though it too leaves them exposed to potential abuse, with women travelling alone or with their children … and sometimes children travelling alone.  

These are the same people we have come to love at the House of 64.

Let’s not forget them.   Please continue to partner with us, who said:  if there is food on our table, there will be food on your table.

It is a commitment I made … and my wife and I will see it through.

I remain very grateful for all of you who have seen fit to partner with us in whatever ways you can.

Bless you all ….



2023-11-21   Update From Ukraine

Anna's Bracelets ... and Marguerite

Left: One of about 200 kids’ bracelets made by my daughter, Anna, for the children of Ukraine.
Right: 5-year old Marguerite, in Mykolaiv

To Frends and Supporters of our work in Ukraine:

I’ve been home in Canada now for exactly one week, having returned from nearly three weeks in Ukraine just before.   To say that I have been exhausted and in need of rest … is to understate the case.   I was completely drained upon landing in Vancouver, and very glad to see my family and the comforts of home, before sleeping pretty much non-stop for the next several days.

This trip to Ukraine was the most focused time of ministry with which I have engaged in my entire life.   The schedule was drawn up by my good friend, Pastor Oleg, but once we were in an area and available, so many more doors opened, from which we really could not turn away. 

Resurrection Baptist Church - Ivano-Frankivsk

Trauma First Aid – Part Two – In Resurrection Baptist Church – Ivano-Frankivsk

The net result:  We delivered twelve 3-hour seminars in seven church locations over the course of eight days.  The busiest time had three of these in one day, with several individual ministry requests in between them all.  Among these groups, there were what we called “Trauma First Aid – Part One” (for locations we had not previously been), “Trauma First Aid – Part Two” (for communities in which we had previously ministered, Pastors’ Seminars for two different regional pastor networks,  a message on the atonement, delivered three times, and one youth group of about 45 kids, gathered from several churches, all within spitting distance of the hell that is the war.   

Busyness is one thing; delivering all these topics to such a wide range of audiences, all within striking distance of enemy fire raises the stakes and, though it’s possible to set concern aside in the moment, the ambient stress over time … takes a toll on everyone.   People must shut off their cell phones before arriving at the location.  Otherwise, enemy fire can be attracted by the accumulation of cell phone pings in or around one location, increasing the risk of a rocket attack specifically directed at our meeting place.

Take the city of Mykolaiv on a river that empties into the Black Sea.  A warm water jewel in peacetime, it had a population of 500,000.   It might be half of that now.   It was shelled every day when enemy forces were only 40 km’s away.   Even the Mykolaiv zoo has been bombed in an effort to demoralize the people of the city.  The city has been without running water now for ten months, and electrical power is off as much as it is on.   All the people with relatives elsewhere …  or who could afford to leave … have left.  

A large ministry has drilled wells all over the city, setting them up where local groups could take them over and maintain them.   One such well is in the basement of a church in which I spoke on multiple occasions.  The church property also has large shipping containers outside, filled with used clothing.   People would come from perhaps a half kilometer distance, dragging a small wagon or child carrier, loaded with empty 10 liter plastic jugs.   Many of them elderly, will then drag home water, clothing and food, going up several flights of stairs to their rooms in Soviet-era apartment buildings.

The first day I was there, we provided a bag of food and invited them to hear a message and stay for a hot meal, before beginning their trip home.   In my message, I spoke of how Jesus insisted that his disciples let the children come, that he took them in his arms, he laid hands on them, and he blessed them.   I kept coming back to this theme a few times as the message unfolded.  It was core to helping people understand the silent trauma that children experience, and that parents and elders can do much to inoculate their children if they will gently take them in their arms, lay hands on them and bless them.   The church was full and people were listening closely.

As the service ended, and the room was reset for the warm meal, a woman approached me, with a little girl about 5 years old in tow.  Through translation, she said that the girl had no father, and that her mother was away, in the army, on the front somewhere, repairing tanks.   She said that there was no one in this little girl’s world to do as I had asked, that is, to take her in his arms, lay hands on her and bless her … and would I be willing to fill this role.   The little girl’s name was Marguerite, and she could easily have been the twin of my own granddaughter!   I gladly swept her into my arms to her great delight, and I cried my way through praying for this little girl.

Marguerite ... and the Mykolaiv Pastors' Network

Left:  Little Marguerite                       Right:  One of the pastors’ networks

The grandmother whispered something in her language to my translator who then quietly told me that I should be careful, that Marguerite was still in diapers because she was in need of an operation that was planned for, but not yet financially feasible.   I replied that it would be ok, that I was a grandfather and have been pee’d  on by grandchildren more than once.  We laughed, but I eventually found out that the operation would be simple, and not costly, by western standards, so as this grandmother and child ate their dinner, I slipped her enough funds to take care of this need.

While chatting with her, I asked if this was her home church.  She replied that: “no, this is the first time that she had been here.”  She came for water and for clothes and only learned of the seminar upon arriving, so she stayed, had the meal afterward, and finally left for home.   This was a Thursday afternoon.  I mentioned to her that I would be back on Sunday, and I would be pleased to see her and Marguerite again.  She thanked me and left.

On Sunday, there she was … in the back row … and at the end of the service, Marguerite ran into my arms.   Her grandmother made sure that I noticed that Marguerite now had new shoes … and something more.   On the Thursday before, I mentioned how Marguerite and my granddaughter could easily be twins.  On Sunday, Marguerite and her grandmother came back with … gifts for my granddaughter!   She was so pleased that she might be able to send something from Ukraine home with me for my own family.   Incredible!

At this point, I want to say:   this is incredibly symptomatic of my entire experience when I go to Ukraine.   They are all so very keen to send a message of love to those in Canada who have offered assistance to them in their time of great need.   Everywhere I go in Ukraine, they want me to take little expressions of their love for me, my family, and to all those who have contributed in some way to make this ministry possible.

It is not possible to go to Ukraine without making personal connections that are authentic, with people who do not seek to receive more than you are offering, who want to express to you … all of you … just what your ministry to them means.   I am fond of saying that I have no blood relatives in Ukraine … but I have a great deal of family.  When I say this to a group there, they are very pleased, for it is exactly how they would hope that I feel.

For some, it has meant a bit of warmth and comfort to get them through a cold winter.   For others, it has meant life itself.

After leaving Mykolaiv each day, we returned to a tiny community on the outskirts of the city, just across a bit of open water.  Each night, we would hear the air raid sirens coming from across the water, then explosions, followed by sirens of emergency vehicles.    As day turns to night, the demons come out to threaten them, to destroy their peace of mind, and to break their will.    It is insidious and vicious.   It is the nature of man’s inhumanity to man. 

I do not often write home about the air raid sirens and sounds of explosions.    Truly, I feel very well protected by those with whom I travel.   We do not take needless chances; we do not tempt fate.  But the greatest need is often within the “danger zone,” and requires that we prepare for difficulties along the way.   In going the “extra mile,” we find the people to whom no one has brought supplies in some time.  However, even on this trip, we did not go as far as we had hoped, in order to avoid difficult areas carrying risk deemed too great.

Baptist Church in Mala Korenykha

Baptist Church in Mala Korenykya, just outside Mykolaiv

But our message remains one of hope and encouragement in the darkest of days.   We speak of practical responses to various symptoms of trauma.   We lead them gently in discussion and remind them that, in scripture there are more psalms of lament than there are psalms of praise.  We remind them of others before them that have experienced disappointment with God, even feeling abandoned.   We invite them to cry out to God, that He is big enough for their anger and their tears.  They need not fear His judgment as they cry out with what might be the most honest prayer they have ever prayed.   Even Christ Himself felt abandoned on the cross, as He called out the first line of Psalm 22.

Back to something I know many of you will be wondering about:   The House of 64.   If you don’t know what that place is, it is a home in Western Ukraine, filled with children who are mostly orphans and a few women, a few with their husbands present.

We have taken care of the greatest of needs in this place now for over a year.   This trip, I actually stayed at the house for a few days, at the invitation of one of the family units there.   I was invited to three different evening meals where I met different family units and got to know them individually a bit better.  Then we did a couple of major outings:   I took two large van loads of the kids that were old enough to not need personal care, and we went to an indoor water park in the city of Lviv.   You might wonder if parents would let someone like me take their children on a 90-minute drive away to a city most had never been to, then take them to a water park.   The answer:  after a year and half of war, the parents’ universal answer is:  “Take them!  They all need to have something good to look forward to … and we would be grateful for the quiet day of rest.”

Then, for good measure, I took them to a McDonald’s Restaurant, and told them they could eat as much as they wanted.

The young people of H64

Two vans, about 30 kids, plus some brave adults who volunteered to help.

Ok, now, you’ve got to understand the context.  Many of these kids have never been to a restaurant.   None of them had ever even heard of a water slide or water park … and, as an aside, none of them know how to swim.

Yes, of course … there’s potential for problems.   Air raids, bombs, car sickness, potential drownings, food allergies.   But I digress.  

The 30 or so kids we took that day … had the time of their lives.   The big kids were told to be responsible for the smaller ones … and they were.   The smaller ones were told to obey … and they did.    Just think about it:  if you were a teenager, would you want to be the one to mess up what might be your only chance to ever experience a waterslide park?   I don’t think so.

No … none of these kids … not one of them … would you ever confuse with the entitled bunch we have here in North America.   But again, I digress.

At the restaurant, the teenage boys each ate three double burgers, each of those double burgers came with large fries and a drink.   All the burgers were gone, all the fries devoured.  Only a sip or two of the second large drink remained.

The tweens all had two double burgers and fries, one drink

The younger ones had what you might think of as a regular McDonald’s meal.

Oh … and the hot cherry pies for dessert.   They all had their fill.

Not one of them complained of indigestion on the way home.    Every one of them hugged me … thanked me … multiple times … for having given them the most amazing experience of their lives.   What an amazing day! … it still makes me smile.  

So ... 18 days in country.   We still distribute goods using three oversized vans and trailers, and I think the grand total now is something over 150 metric tons of humanitarian goods delivered. 

Twelve seminars in seven churches over eight days.   If you’re wondering what we did with the rest of the time, you can include about 3,000 km’s behind the wheel and a bit of time packing and unpacking van loads of goods, delivering them to the most grateful people you will ever hope to meet … and a day at the water park.

I started off my work in Ukraine acknowledging that we could not do everything … but … we could do far more than nothing.

I want to acknowledge the kind and generous people among you, who have given legs to this work.   I pray that you sense that your contribution has been put to great use … efficiently and effectively.   Every time someone in Ukraine tries to thank me, I let them know that it is the contributions of many people in Canada that make it all possible.  

They then hurry to say:   Thank you, Canada! 

And I do, too.   Thank you friends.   And if you are a contributor to this work, please let’s stay the course.   I will go again in either February or March, 3-4 months from now.

I’m only marginally too early to wish you all a very Merry Christmas.   Perhaps might you consider a Christmas donation to our work?   Ok … I’ll stop.  😊

God bless you all …


Lending a hand, though others pass by.   He had compassion.