Two Years On: Australian Missionary in Ukraine Shares Reality of War - Juice 107.3

Two Years On: Australian Missionary in Ukraine Shares Reality of War

"It’s worth all the sleepless nights and the difficult experiences, to see God touch people," Rachael says.

By Juice 107.3 Network Thursday 22 Feb 2024FaithReading Time: 3 minutes

This weekend marks two years since Russia invaded Ukraine, and, although the war has largely left our headlines, it shows no signs of slowing down. Rachael Wilcox, who is an Australian missionary based in Ukraine, sheds light on what daily life is like in an active warzone.

Life in Ukraine

Rachael serves as a full-time missionary in Kyiv, Ukraine as part of Awakening Europe, where she feeds the hungry, equips the church and preaches the Gospel. Most of the time, Rachael leads a normal life but can instantly be reminded of the reality of war.

“You can see the weariness and hopelessness on people’s faces.” – Rachael

“[Sometimes] life feels really normal. People walking around, going to the shops, living their normal lives,” Rachael told Hope Drive.

“But then all of a sudden…there are air raids, rockets, sirens.

“It’s not strange to see tanks and weaponry being carted around in trucks on the highways.

“You remember quite quickly that the country is in a war.”

Rachael says that areas closer to the frontlines are even worse, with damaged infrastructure that will take years to repair.

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“It’s very clear that death and destruction has gone through these places.

“You can see the weariness and hopelessness on people’s faces.”

Rachael Wilcox in Ukraine, Photo supplied

Left: Rachael in Ukraine, sharing the Gospel with Soldiers. Right: In Kherson region, with a young Ukrainian girl who lives in a village that was occupied by Russia for 8 months.

“When you’re standing in front of a soldier [who] at any moment can be put on the frontline fighting for their life, it’s so important that they have the opportunity to get right with God today,” Rachael says.

War takes a toll

However, it’s not just people on the frontlines that are feeling the repercussions of continued violence – it is every person living in Ukraine, including Rachael herself.

“The majority of Ukrainians are suffering with post-traumatic stress.” – Rachael

“The majority of Ukrainians are suffering with post-traumatic stress,” Rachael said.

“I have gone through some moments of living through air raids.

“Experiencing these moments, and not knowing where rockets are going to land – it’s traumatic.

“Sometimes when I hear similar noises [such as planes overhead], it sets off a fight or flight response in my body, and it takes me a couple of seconds to remember that I’m safe.

“No-one is untouched from this war.”

Rachael Wilcox in Ukraine, Photos supplied

Left: Burnt out tanks on display in Kyiv, a reminder of the ongoing war. Right: Rachael preaching the Gospel and bringing hope to hundreds of children in a bomb shelter in East Ukraine.

Rachael serves as a full-time missionary in Kyiv, Ukraine as part of Awakening Europe, where she feeds the hungry, equips the church and preaches the Gospel.

God is still in Ukraine

Despite the deep pain woven through the country, Rachael has witnessed God move in incredible ways through Ukrainian people.

“This is what it’s all about for me. It’s worth all the sleepless nights and the difficult experiences, to see God touch people.” – Rachael

“I have seen God save hundreds of people,” Rachael said.

“Ukraine is so open to the Gospel. I’ve seen him transform lives right in front of my eyes.

“When you’re standing in front of a soldier [who] at any moment can be put on the frontline fighting for their life, it’s so important that they have the opportunity to get right with God today.

“This is what it’s all about for me. It’s worth all the sleepless nights and the difficult experiences, to see God touch people.”

To support Rachael, follow her journey on Instagram or visit rachaelmaree.com.


Featured image: All images supplied.