HOOVER, Ala. (WIAT) — Tom Boone with The Outreach Foundation has now made four trips to the Ukrainian region since the start of the war with Russia, his first trip just weeks after the war began and his latest this past spring. Boone says on his first trip, the fear among Ukrainians was palpable but that fear has now turned to courage.

Boone says in his latest trip this spring, he stayed mostly in Kyiv, Ukraine’s capitol. Despite being put in bomb shelters and hearing air raid sirens multiple times throughout his stay, Boone says the people tried to continue about their day-to-day lives as though there wasn’t a war raging around them.

“It was as if they were saying ‘we are alive, this war has not penetrated our spirit’,” says Boone. “It’s a weird tale of contrast. Some of the other things we saw while we saw people in restaurants, people out trying to do their work, we also saw tons of buildings that were just completely destroyed.”

In late march, Boone led a group in Kyiv handing out prescription medications and IFAKs, which are military-grade first aid kits.

“The war is not diminishing. The war is actually building,” says Boone. “The main emphasis was just to show up. It was just to say ‘hey, you’re not forgotten, we’re standing with you and we want to hear your stories so that we can tell it to those back home’.”

Boone says many people since the start of this war have asked the question ‘why would God do this and allow so much hurt?’ but the question should be ‘how can humans be so cruel?’

Boone says he witnessed this reality firsthand, seeing the mass grave in Bucha being investigated for war crimes and talking with the priest who was forced by Russian soldiers to bury the Ukrainian women, children and elderly.

“To see that question lived out and to try to create a space where people don’t treat each other that cruelly, that’s really the heart of what we do at The Outreach Foundation is attempt to build relationships where understanding is achieved in very difficult places,” says Boone.

Boone says The Outreach Foundation is looking into a bigger trip to Ukraine this fall to deliver more supplies and spend time with more the people.

To read some of the detailed stories from this past trip, visit The Outreach Foundation’s website at the link HERE.