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Faith in God keeps Irina in hopeful frame of mind

Major Irina Shvab with General Brian Peddle. The photo frame says, ‘Faith and Wisdom’.

I never thought I would live through a war – me and my family, of course. But that’s what happened. On 24 February 2022, I was back in Ukraine after I had spent holidays with my children in Poland.

I remember the first few days when the war started. It is hard to imagine that you can calmly react to the information that comes to you – what to do, how to behave, where to go with your children, and what steps to take.

Parents of the teenagers who attend activities at the Vinnytsia Salvos telephoned me and asked when we were going to leave. I don’t know why they decided that we were going to leave. Apparently, they were also very worried about it. For me, this question did not arise. I stayed in Ukraine to do what I can do.

Irina congratulates new Salvation Army officer Marina Egorova.

It is very difficult now, both for me personally and as a pastor. It is difficult to see thousands of needy people who simply do not know where they can find a piece of bread for today, where they can find housing and how they can plan their lives. This is especially difficult for those families with children who require some special care. We face that every day on the phone and in our life. I praise God that there is hope in him. I know that he is my light at the end of any tunnel.

I want to show you a small piece of craft (pictured below), which encouraged me very personally. It was brought by a woman who came here from the east of Ukraine. She said that her daughter, who came from the Donetsk region, makes such items. I am very grateful that she encouraged me a lot with this. She said, thank you very much for what you are doing. It is very good for us when there are people waiting for us, especially in Vinnytsia, especially in The Salvation Army, where we can see hope.

Irina shows the tiny gift made for which has brought so much encouragement in the tough times.

I am very happy when I see our youth and teenagers who are now mobilised to do good things in their lives. They don’t know what challenges they will face in the future, what choices await them, but they are also doing what they can do. For example, they serve, they help us pack products, they help us organise programs for children who are temporarily staying, for example, in different cities – in Vinnytsia or in Kropyvnytskyi. They are really doing well and that encourages me a lot.

I believe that there is a great future for our country and for The Salvation Army in Ukraine. That makes me very happy.

Major Irina Shvab is a Salvation Army officer and a leader of the Salvos in war-ravaged Ukraine.


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