“I am proud that such girls grow up in Ukraine”

Rita, an eight-year-old girl caught in the midst of the war in Ukraine, shared with our team how she summoned the strength to flee her home and travel to our warehouse. 

Escaping with her mother and her family, Rita tells us that in a quiet moment, they were suddenly fired upon as they were boarding a bus. 

“Momma said to keep my head down. I was with my favorite toy, and I hugged it. I didn’t let go.” 

Rita reminded her mother to be like a warrior. 

When asked in our warehouse if Rita was a warrior, she replied, “Not yet… I just pulled myself together because it was very scary.”

Her mother replied, “I hope you don’t feel so scared anymore, but you still learn to be a warrior because the enemy does not sleep, and we have to be strong.” 

Rita’s strength may resemble one of a warrior’s, but the expectation on her to be brave like one is something no child should ever have to burden.

Thankfully, still with her mother, Rita was able to experience a glimmer of hope and safety again. Inside our warehouse, her family was given the support and time they needed to figure out what their next steps would be. 

With Ukrainian team members and volunteers that have been displaced themselves, Lantern’s team has been able to minister in a unique way. When families come in fearful and grieving the life they knew, they are welcomed into the arms of support, care, and the light of Christ.

The last words we heard her strong mother sharing with her brave daughter were, “Thank you for such strength. You are an example for me. I am proud that such girls grow up in Ukraine. I believe that you will grow up beautiful, smart, and a real warrior. Even if you are a woman.”