OCT 2022: FROM HARDSHIP TO FREEDOM
This story was provided by our Ukraine team before war broke out in February 2022. We feel it’s important to share because it really demonstrates the strength and resiliency of the Ukrainian people, and how with the intervention of Mission Without Borders, families in Eastern Europe are working their way out of the cycle of poverty and into the freedom of self-sufficiency ...
“I grew up in this village, and farming is what I’ve been doing for most of my life. I always wanted to succeed at it.”
Serhiy Kryvchuk (42) and his family are hard workers who own a farm in western Ukraine – but they were struggling to make ends meet.
“They were a family living in poverty, and they couldn’t see a way forwards. They had no relatives to support them, and their house was tiny, with no facilities,” said Pavlo, who works for Mission Without Borders supporting families in Rivne.
The Kryvchuks – like all farmers in Ukraine – had had their share of hardships. In 2017, two cow sheds in the yard caught fire and were completely destroyed. Then in 2019, all their pigs died from swine flu. Two years in a row there was a drought, which had a significant impact on their harvest.
The Kryvchuks were ready and eager to make the most of any support they received. They farm three hectares of land, growing mainly potatoes and wheat, and keep cows, sheep, and pigs. Serhiy also works as a bus driver to earn extra money.
“I wish I could spend all my time with my family – but small farms in Ukraine don’t bring in a good income. Only big corporations and businessmen make a lot of money here.”
Ukraine is known as the breadbasket of Europe because of its rich soil and vast fields, but it is difficult for small-scale farmers to be successful – even before the war. Farmers don’t have access to capital at affordable prices and they are further prevented from expansion because of land sale restrictions – a legacy of communism – with fields chopped up into small sections that cannot be sold on.
Serhiy’s wife Olga (39) said, “As long as I’ve known my husband, he’s always been a dreamer and an enthusiast. His head is always full of new ideas and projects, and he never gives up. No failures can stop him.”
“Difficulties never stopped us,” Serhiy agreed. “I am blessed to have such a supportive wife. She inspires me! For us, difficulties are another reminder that we need God, and that we can’t go on without Him. Last year our daughter had severe pneumonia. We worried a lot, but we received peace on our knees in prayer.”
“Also, my wife Olga has health problems. Sometimes it’s bad, and we turn to God.”
“We bring our children to God in prayer daily. They are our main concern. After all, everything we do, we do for them. We long to raise them well and to educate them in the right way.”
Olga and Serhiy have managed to raise energetic, curious, and hardworking children. Daily life together has given the children lots of quality time with their parents, as well as wonderful role models.
“My dad is the best dad,” Victoriya said proudly. At 16 years old, she is the second-eldest. “There is no work our dad cannot do. Also, he cooks delicious food too. We enjoy time we spend together.”
Their daughter Olha (15) added, “Although we all have chores and farm work to do, there’s still enough time to study and to have fun. Our mother keeps good discipline and order in the house. And our father is our friend. We enjoy spending time together, working and resting.”
After several years of support from MWB, the Kryvchuk family farm is a busy and happy place. Children are seemingly everywhere, focused on their work or running and playing; there are cows and sheep and pigs, rabbits, and a much-loved dog. Sheds are in the process of being built and the house is being renovated.