By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
KYIV/BUDAPEST (Worthy News) - The American founder of mission group Mercy Projects is rescuing children and their mothers inside wartorn Ukraine.
Jeff Thompson landed in neighboring Hungary at the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine to coordinate refugee care with staff “and ministry partners,” he said.
Hearing of the dire circumstances within the war zone, Thompson, along with his adult son Joel and a local missionary partner, bought two 9-passenger vans in western Ukraine. He serviced them and left for Ternopil, the God Reports news service reported.
“We stayed in the home of one of the foster families supported by Mercy Projects last night. Ternopil is relatively quiet at this time. We got up at 5 am and drove 8 hours through snow, ice, and leapfrogged long lines of vehicles into Kyiv today and rescued six people,” he added.
“They called us crazy Americans. Actually, as the song says, ‘Our God is an awesome God,” Thomson was quoted as saying.
He reported that air raid sirens went off as they left the city. He said, “We got through the checkpoints and to safety about two hours outside Kyiv,” the capital. “We will remain there before continuing rescues.”
Thompson said, “Thanks so much for your prayers and support. Of course, we are glad to be safe, but our hearts break for the wives and kids forced to separate from their husbands.”
Jeff Thompson is no stranger to what he views as Russian tyranny and helping its victims. He began smuggling Bibles into the former Soviet Union in 1980. Thomson then expanded the Mercy Projects (formerly Eastern European Outreach) to serving “at-risk children” in Ukraine, Armenia, Kosovo, and Eastern Europe.
Thompson also backed prisoners and orphans for years after the fall of the Soviet Union but was later apparently banned by the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Thompson said that while visiting Ukraine, he witnessed massive suffering. “What I am seeking is a people torn. Most did not believe this could happen. Others mourn the loss of life and the senseless killing,” he recalled.
“A young mother shared today and showed us photos of the home they had just built. She and her husband finished it several weeks ago. Today it is gone.”
He thanked Christians for “the outpouring of prayer and financial support we are receiving and ask that it continue during this crisis.”