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Kids' War Art is 'Window to Their Souls' as Pain Grows

Church-run summer camps offer traumatized children 'oasis of hope' amid missile bombardment

In Ukraine, a 10-year-old boy sketched this picture while sitting in church. “Everything for these kids is about the war,” said Eric Mock, who frequently travels to Ukraine with U.S. mission organization Slavic Gospel Association (SGA,

Slavic Gospel Association (SGA)
April 29, 2024

LOVES PARK, Ill., April 29, 2024 /Standard Newswire/ -- Kids’ War Art is ‘Window to Their Souls’ as Pain Grows -- Children in Ukraine, for whom death and destruction has become part of life, are expressing themselves through “war art” -- giving a heart-wrenching window into their young minds and souls.

Eleven-year-old Sophia’s wartime artwork shows missiles raining down while a girl in traditional dress -- perhaps Sophia herself -- sits under an umbrella, surrounded by a hopeful splash of bright yellow sunflowers.

“Everything for these kids is about the war,” said Eric Mock, who frequently travels to Ukraine with mission organization Slavic Gospel Association (SGA, “Their life consists of nightly air raids… their friend’s dad is not coming home from the frontline… their dad is not coming home.

“Kids in Ukraine don’t know if tomorrow will come.”

The United Nations calls the war’s impact on Ukraine’s children “particularly appalling,” with 7,000 schools out of action.

Nearly two-thirds of Ukraine’s children have been forced to flee their homes. And an estimated 1.5 million children are at risk of post-traumatic stress and other mental health conditions, the U.N. says.

Increasingly, Ukrainian children are using paints, crayons and pencils to show what’s going through their minds. Many of their drawings consist of war images, missiles, and rocket launchers.

Drawing Drones, Missiles in Church

Angela, a pastor’s wife, noticed a 10-year-old boy sketching during a church service. His pencil drawing, left behind on the church pew, shows a soldier launching a surface-to-air missile at a drone.

“I said to my husband, ‘Look what kids draw in their sketch pads in church’,” she said. “Children don’t deserve to have their childhood stripped away from them.”

Ten-year-old Maryna has suffered the full horror of war.

Surgeons had to amputate her crushed leg after a shell exploded next to her home. Now she wears a prosthetic. She panics when she hears any loud noise.

“I wish that (people in America) never see things that I have seen in the war,” Maryna said, “and that they would never have war.”

Click here to watch Maryna share her thoughts.

“Like thousands of children across Ukraine, Maryna is bravely dealing with huge psychological stress and life-changing injuries,” said SGA president Michael Johnson. “Only her strong faith in God carries her through.”

In a few weeks, Maryna is looking forward to going to a church-run children’s summer camp. It’s an opportunity to forget the war for a few days and have fun with other kids her age.
This summer, Illinois-based SGA is supporting local churches as they organize and run children’s camps across Ukraine and the former Soviet Union, including Russia and Belarus. At the camps, kids can be kids – giggling and playing games as well as listening to Bible stories.

Click here to watch a short video.

Supported by U.S. donors, the camp program aims to give more than 75,000 children a brief “oasis of hope” from the war and their often-dire circumstances at home, frequently marked by addictions and domestic violence.

“Some camps have to be held in bomb shelters,” said Mock, the organization’s senior vice president. “We’re trying to turn these kids’ hearts and minds away from the destruction and pain surrounding them to the hope of the Gospel and the love of Christ.”

Founded in 1934, Slavic Gospel Association (SGA, helps “forgotten” orphans, widows and families in Ukraine, Russia, the former Soviet countries of Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and Russian-speaking immigrants in Israel – caring for their physical needs and sharing the life-transforming Gospel. SGA supports an extensive grassroots network of local evangelical missionary pastors and churches in cities and rural villages across this vast region.

SOURCE Slavic Gospel Association (SGA)

CONTACT: DeWayne Hamby, 423-505-0041,