Last week in Ukraine, Mission Without Borders hosted 120 children for an incredibly special Summer Camp as summer winds down. For each one of these children, the war is particularly personal - either their father, or mother, is fighting in the army or serving in the police force, emergency rescue teams, or fire service.
As the war in Ukraine passes the six-month mark, being able to get away from the stress and worry of the conflict is especially important for these children. It gives them a chance to escape, even for just a little while, to a place where they can relax, connect with friends, and spend some time just being a kid.
Most of the children have never been to a Christian Summer Camp before, and had a week of fun, games, and a safe place to play – something that can’t be taken for granted, unfortunately.
Anya, 10, is particularly thankful for the opportunity
to attend summer camp in Ukraine this year
“This is my first time in such a camp," says 10-year-old Anya. "It feels like home here. Everything is so warm, like a place I know, and I want to stay here as much as I can and more. I was so happy to have such a good leader of my group. She always supports and comforts us. We talk a lot about everything. I enjoy watching and participating in drama performances, playing games, eating tasty food. The nature here is wonderful," she shared.
"At home we have a lot of pets: one dog, three hamsters and one rat. I attend gymnastic classes. My dream is to be a leader in the camp like this when I am older," says Anya.
Living with the fear of war and loss
"My father has been fighting in the war since 2014. I am very proud of him," says Anya.
"He is very brave. I am happy when we have the opportunity to talk over the phone. Recently, in the night we heard a knock on the door. Mother got so frightened. It was Dad. All of us (three sisters) jumped on him and did not let him go for a long time. I was so excited that I could not breathe."
"I pray for my father's protection," Anya says. "Once, he and his friends went out of the house where they are living. Just three minutes later a rocket hit it and everything burned down in the moment. I could have lost him forever.”