"There is no communication right now between Belarus and Ukraine. Border guards from both side don’t see each other and don’t talk to each other. But this little dying Ukrainian girl brought so many people together... When people ask us how this was possible, we tell them — it is God!"
Story of Polina
Polina was born 14 years ago in a small Ukrainian town named Kovel. When she was 3 years old, she was diagnosed with brain cancer. Her mom took Polina to Moscow, Russia to a large oncology clinic and with treatment cancer went into remission. However, in the beginning of 2022, just before the war started, cancer came back. Polina and her mom went back to Moscow’s clinic, but this time the treatment did not work.
She was feeling worse and worse, but her health began declining rapidly after she had COVID-19 in the summer of 2022. Soon after that Polina lost the ability to walk and could barely talk. In January of 2023 she was moved into hospice care in Moscow. She knew she was dying. She really missed her two brothers and her father who stayed in Ukraine, she hadn't seen them for over a year. Polina told her mom she wanted to die in Ukraine. But Polina is bedridden and couldn’t be transported by a regular car or a bus, only by an ambulance.
Christian volunteers in Russia who help send Ukrainian refugees from Russia to the Western Europe or Ukraine through Belarus contacted Belarusian volunteers about the situation. Even though our volunteers helped thousands of refugees successfully cross the border, this situation was different, and they’ve never faced anything like that before.
Belarus-Ukraine border crossing points were closed when the war started. In the summer of 2022 one was reopened, but only for crossing by foot. No cars are allowed to pass the checkpoint building from either side of the border. There is a large anti-tank ditch on the Ukrainian side now and people who cross the border by foot need to walk for 2 kilometres from the Belarusian side of the border to the Ukrainian. It would be impossible for Polina and her mom to walk that road. Ambulance would need to come all the way to the anti-tank ditch, but it was impossible because no cars were allowed at the checkpoints. However, nothing is impossible for our God.
Nothing is impossible for our God
A lady from Belarus (a believer and volunteer coordinator in Brest) called the head of the border guards and explained the situation. It took more than a phone conversation — document proof, countless copies of all the documents, but after some time the head of the border guards said they will allow the ambulance to drive up to the anti-tank ditch. Ukrainian volunteers called their border guards and received the same permission after providing the proof of documentation. It finally looked possible for Polina to be reunited with her family. Volunteers in Russia helped arrange an ambulance, volunteers in Belarus arranged the overnight stay, meals and a heartfelt evening conversation with Polina, her mom and two ambulance drivers talked about the only True Hope in Jesus. The next morning (15 February 2023), it was time to go to the border.
Volunteers had to say goodbye to Polina and her mom at the checkpoint building. There were no single dry eyes in the group of people as they watched the ambulance go to the Ukrainian side. Four fully armed border guards rode with the ambulance.
How did it happen?
After the drivers came back, they shared with the volunteers what happened at the border. They said they will never forget this moment. A Belarusian ambulance came to the anti-tank ditch from one side and a Ukrainian ambulance drove to the other side of the ditch. Four fully armed Belarusian border guards helped carry Polina and all her things through the ditch and four fully armed Ukrainian border guards received her on their side and helped carry her to the ambulance.
They were all quiet, helpful, and showed amazing cooperation. As we were listening to the drivers, we were thinking — there is no communication right now between Belarus and Ukraine. Border guards from both side don’t see each other and don’t talk to each other. But this little dying Ukrainian girl brought so many people together.
When people ask us how this was possible, we tell them — it is God! It is our Lord who opened the hearts of so many people to help. It is God who changes hearts and gives hope in hopeless situations.
To Him be the Glory. Please pray for Polina and her mom. We don’t know how much longer Polina will live. She was able to see her brothers and her father, but she is now in Lviv in the oncology clinic there, because her hometown is too small and doesn’t have a hospital. Thank you for all you do to help us show Christ to the hurting people.
Story by the Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists in the Republic of Belarus.