Andre Zinkovski, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Ukraine, says he is grateful for his food supply. (André Zinkovski)
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KYIV, Ukraine — It has been a month since The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints evacuated missionaries from Ukraine, but the Church has members in each of the war-affected areas.
Andre Zinkovski says joining the church has blessed his life, but now following certain teachings is saving his life as war unfolds on his doorstep.
“Last night was the most terrifying night,” Zinkovski said Sunday.
Explosions echoed throughout the night – some so close the walls would shake.
“You never know what’s going to shoot at you next minute. You never know when that bomb will drop. Will it hit your roof, you know?” says Zinkovski. “I consider myself lucky tonight because my windows are still intact, but some people had to leave their places because there were no more windows, no more walls, no more houses. It was scary.”
On Sunday afternoon, the streets in front of Zinkovski’s house were empty, as were the shelves of all the nearby grocery stores.
“In the past four days, the verse ‘If you prepare, you will not be afraid’ comes to mind,” Zinkovski said.
Twenty-three years ago, Zinkovski and his mother joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Since then, her family has been slowly but surely preparing everything that is needed.
“I never thought we’d use it, but we had this food and my mom was like, ‘You have to go get some food for my food stash,'” Zinkovski said.
The dedication to preparedness is now keeping Zinkovski and his neighbors alive.
“We’ve been blessed by this, and I’m so thankful that we have our church leaders teaching us that we need to do this, and I couldn’t be more helpful than at those times. And I’m blessed to have helped others because of that; we have a lot of food for ourselves,” Zinkovski said.
This preparation helped him pack and share the food with members of his branch, and even with his next-door neighbors.
Zinkovski and his family do not know what will come next.
“We have two backpacks ready with water, with medicine, money and our documents ready to go. We are ready to go. I don’t know where or how, but you don’t know when they are going to shoot you,” Zinkovski said.
He finds peace knowing that his brothers and sisters on the other side of the world are praying for him.
“I’ve seen stories of people coming together in Utah just to support people here in Ukraine. It was so touching and so powerful. It means a lot. I know it doesn’t help us physically, but it helps us. definitely helps mentally to know people are with us,” he said.
Zinkovski collects donations via Venmo to help those around him. A woman from Utah who served his mission in Ukraine (Venmo @MichellePearson)* is raising funds for him right now.
A local business, the Plastics Clinic, matches all donations up to $10,000 if you capture your Venmo transaction.
You can find more information here.
*KSL.com does not guarantee that money deposited in the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons designated as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit into the Account, you should consult your own advisers and proceed otherwise at your own risk.