“You’re the best! May God keep you.” That was the blessing from the checkpoint guard, who waved us through as we entered the Kherson region heading toward to Nikopol. My traveling partners and I were going to visit and encourage Roman and his wife Inna and observe what they had shared with us earlier in the week during our meeting in Kyiv. Roman had a “church of children,” according to locals, alluding to the many children now being served there. 

However, it has become a “church without walls” because in addition to the 450 children coming for food, fun activities and a Bible lesson – there are now hundreds of adults coming twice weekly for hot meals, bread and basic necessities. Gas burners are set up outside the door of the small kitchen to ensure enough food is prepared. A large enclosed tent is erected in the parking lot to provide a warm place to eat. All the while, Nikopol continues to be routinely shelled from the area around the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, just across the Dnipro River. “I understand that many people needed to leave, but somebody had to stay.” That was the message I repeatedly heard from Roman and other church leaders I spoke with. 

There were indications the midday “lull” was over, so we had to leave before the children arrived. But as my traveling partner Vadim told me, “a hungry person always looks for food – physical and spiritual.” As a result – Roman, Inna and their church without walls remain in Nikopol feeding the hungry, serving hot soup and sharing the Bread of Life.