Volunteers from Joni and Friends and Agape Ukraine united people from different countries at the Schonblick German Christian Guest Center in Württemberg. Chaplains, psychologists and other caring people from several Ukrainian and American churches gathered here to hold a retreat for the families of Ukrainian soldiers who were injured as a result of the Russian – Ukrainian war which began in 2014 and continues to this day.
These five days at sunny Schönblick were filled with lectures on life with PTSD for the soldiers and their families, support groups, table games and sports, walks, tours, creative competitions, incredible national cuisine, delicious baked goods and presents from German friends, singing, worship, swimming, sauna, fellowship and a separate children’s’ program. There were many funny and sweet moments which transformed this crowd of strangers into a circle of like-minded people and even friends.
The organizers sincerely hope that they provided a good opportunity for Ukrainian soldiers and their families not only to be in a friendly environment, but also to rest in safety and peace and receive strength, ideas, and the inspiration to continue on the path of recovery. And the greatest encouragement for the team was the impressions of the participants:
“Thank you for this restart. Sometimes you think that you’re alone. But here you understand that’s not true. Thank you so much for this, that we are not alone.”
“…I was most impressed by the spiritual rest. It’s exactly what was needed. I think it’s the most important. Before the war started, I traveled across half of Europe and saw many things, but here I wanted the spiritual support the most. And I think that most people need this kind of support in order to recover. I want to thank these friends from the US, Germany and Ukraine. You did a great job! You know, each person does his part. Someone shoots and someone makes bullets here, spiritual bullets.Thank you!”
“When we traveling to the retreat I didn’t expect that it would be THIS way! Everything was great: an interesting program, I learned so many new things…my gratitude has no limits. I’d love to gather with such company again, to meet with these people who share similar experiences and finally have someone to talk to. Thank you so much!”