A prayer for Ukraine


My heart is crushed for all the thousands suffering this very moment. Besides all the natural disasters, there’s the horror and sadness of many innocent people’s lives at stake and even ending as a result of others’ negative intentions.

Our children were stunned as we explained the dilemma many children are facing with war at hand. Hosanna’s bright hazel eyes grew wide with horror. Her dream is to go care for poor children (as she calls them), and give them a home. Jesse said he wants to go to them and bring them home and make many, many wooden buildings for them to live in. Seeing their ambition and pity makes me feel so helpless. I especially ache for the children and elderly in times like these when war breaks out.

Though I’ve never been to Ukraine or Russia, we’ve had various occasions when our youth went to Ukraine to help package and distribute seeds to those in need. During their six week stay, they put millions of vegetable seeds into small packets. At the end of their stay, they all joined in singing and sharing the good news of Jesus where natives had gathered. Each person then received free seed packets to help them during difficult times when funds were scarce. There was a mixture of a dozen different seeds, most of which were carrots, cabbage, onions, beets, and other veggies that store well for months. Each six week hitch proved to be a highlight to those who helped. Seldom did they know any of the other dozen youth who came from all over the United states. And now to think of the anguish these dear people are now facing! In a sense, it feels so hopeless.

So what can a lone housewife do? I wonder what it would be like if it were happening to me? Then I imagine the comfort of having people pray for me.

Okay, so why not pray? We have the absolute assurance that every single time we believe and pray the will of God to be done, it does make a difference! So in reality, our hands are not tied.

Four years ago, after the arrival of 16 month-old Hosanna, I’ve been encouraged to pray for children. Before we started taking foster classes, we began to pray for our future children. When Hosanna was placed into our home as a foster child, we did some quick calculations. Believe it or not, she was a newborn exactly when we began praying for our future children! During those months of stark plight, she was covered with prayers and I know every one of them made a difference. Surely, there were angels to minister to her when there was no one to come to her aid. Let’s pray for all affected by the war and the thousands of little ones across the globe, crying with no one to really care for them.

Though I’ve never had the chance of going to Ukraine, I’ve had the opportunity helping package bar soap, which was sent overseas, including Ukraine. I have fond memories of being with the youth and helping package these white bars of soap which would be used for hygiene or washing clothes. Usually we packaged four to five large bins of soap a night. If only I could follow those bars to see where they end up!

As thankful as I am for my home in The United States, I am much intrigued with the simplicity found in many other countries.

Okay, here you go with a recipe – Delicious Ukrainian Bortsch – from Ukraine, which my cousin brought back after six weeks spent there! This is a staple in many Ukrainian homes, as it contains many veggies they are able to raise and store them for an extended period of time.

Delicious Ukrainian Borscht

1 pound beef shank

4 cups onions, chopped

4 cups chopped celery

3 cups diced carrots

1 to 2 cups chopped cabbage

1 or 2 beets, cut into strips

1 small can tomato paste

1 teaspoon vinegar

1 teaspoon sugar

2 or 3 potatoes, diced

1 fresh tomato

1 garlic clove

2 bay leaves

Boil roast in a little water until done.

Remove from pot and chop into small pieces. Save broth.

Pour several tablespoons oil in a skillet and saute onions, celery, and carrots.

Pour sauteed vegetables into reserved broth.

Add beef back to the broth and put into the chopped cabbage.

Turn on low heat and simmer.

In a skillet place a little broth, tomato paste, and cut up beets.

Cook until beets are tender. Add vinegar and sugar.

Pour beef mixture into pot, add the chunked potatoes, and bring to a boil, boil for 10-15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Cut up the tomatoes into tiny pieces and add ¼ teas salt. ‘

Press garlic cloves and add into tomatoes, then pour into pot.

Continue simmering 10 to 15 minutes.

Add bay leaves and let set for up to an hour to blend flavor.

May serve with sour cream.


By Gloria Yoder

The Amish Cook

Gloria Yoder is an Amish mom, writer, and homemaker in rural Illinois. The Yoders travel primarily by horse-drawn buggy and live next to the settlement’s one-room school-house. Readers can write to Gloria at 10510 E. 350th Ave., Flat Rock, IL 62427

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