Ukraine Crisis Statement No: 2
We are horrified and heartbroken daily at the pain, loss and grief that so many Ukrainian families are experiencing right now. Our greatest desire is for peace... but as a Christian charity, committed to working with vulnerable people in Russia, do we abandon that commitment?
As the conflict drags on, it’s hard not to reflect on the continually changing landscape we find ourselves working in. While being a western based Christian charity working in Russia always carried risks and challenges, today they are infinitely higher. Our general income is also lower. Some might question our desire to carry on, to stick to our mission statement. Is now the moment to declare our work in Russia ‘done’?
“Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested...Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
We firmly believe that no, now is not the time to stop; our dedication to the mission God has put on our hearts, and all those who have gone before us over the last 30 years, remains steadfast. We must be aware of the risks and take every precaution to reduce them but remain faithful to the call God has firmly put on our hearts; to empower Russian Christians so they may respond to the social needs in their communities; helping orphanage leavers, vulnerable families in poverty, providing refuge for victims of domestic violence and so much more.
So, what is our mission? “Love Russia charity is committed to improving the lives of orphaned children, destitute young people and adults in crisis. This includes those with disabilities and learning difficulties. Our aim is to provide relief of poverty, suffering and distress by demonstrating practical Christian compassion and where appropriate sharing the Christian faith.”
How do we practically live our mission out? In the UK we fundraise for, advocate for and generate prayer support for all our projects and project partners in Russia. Most of our funding is raised in the UK through individual donors, with some donations from churches as well as legacy gifts. This gets divided into separate funds, based on what appeal a donor has responded to. From these funding pots, they go directly to our project partners. Find out more about these ‘pots’ in our blog coming out in a few weeks.
What do we think about all that’s going on in Eastern Europe right now? We believe God’s heart is for peace. This is our heart too so, we remain heartbroken at all that is going on, and we regularly pray for peace in both Ukraine and Russia. See the statement we made on the Ukraine crisis in February 2022 here. As a charity with a firm mission, we identify the needs, and if it is safe and legal for us to respond, it is our mandate to remain impartial and respond to those needs as best we can.
How have Russians been impacted by all that is going on? There have been repercussions on all aspects of life; financially, emotionally and spiritually.
Financially – The cost of living has increased significantly. Friends in Russia have reported back to us that food is now 30% more and is even higher for other goods. Businesses have closed leading to fewer jobs, and some have had family members mobilised leading to a loss in household income.
Emotionally – Russians feel cut off from the rest of the world and fear they are hated. Tightened laws mean many feel repressed and freedom of speech is limited, most choosing to keep their thoughts to themselves. Most live in fear of family members being mobilised, or with constant anxiety about loved ones who have already been mobilised never returning. Some have already lost loved ones, so there is widespread grieving too.
Spiritually – Anxiety and oppression has a huge spiritual impact on a nation as people question their safety and security.
Is what we are doing still legal? Yes, we remain legal in all we do. We are registered with the Charity Commission and Companies House. They are our regulator and are responsible for ensuring we remain compliant with UK law. We are not breaking any sanctions imposed on Russia by continuing to work with individuals there.
One partner told us this; “It's very hard for me right now. I do not know how to help everyone. My heart is bursting with pain.” With needs increasing and the pressure increasing on our partners, we cannot abandon them now. We are needed, and if you are a supporter of Love Russia charity reading this, you are too.