Editor's note: The fighting in Ukraine’s southeastern regions of Luhansk and Donetsk has intensified. Amidst the chaos, many citizens have nowhere else to go. Many count sleepless nights in fear, one after the other. This article presents first hand accounts of how three Falun Dafa practitioners in the war zone manage to sustain themselves and overcome fear.
I am a 60-year-old living in a highrise in Sloviansk, [a city in eastern Ukraine in Donetsk Province]. The water and electricity supply has been cut off. We need to go to designated places to contact the outside world. The nearby stores have stopped transporting products. I get my drinking water from the wells in the neighbourhood.
Many more well-off residents have run to other places. I have been sustaining myself without any income and with the help of my belief of Falun Dafa.
During the day time, I try to handle my daily needs and study the Fa. I then do the Falun Dafa exercises after dark and send righteous thoughts frequently. Store shelves are empty. There is no work to be found. Many others, like myself, have no way to earn an income.
Even though I face a lot of difficulties, I treat the hardship as a cultivation opportunity to relinquish my attachment to comfort and other human attachments.
I remember Master's words in “Path” in Essentials for Further Advancement II:
“Cultivation is hard. It’s hard in that even when a terrible calamity strikes, even when evil madly persecutes, and even when your life is at stake, you still have to be able to steadfastly continue on your path of cultivation without letting anything in human society interfere with the steps you take on your path of cultivation.”
One morning, another round of gunfire started just as I went out of my highrise. While initially in fear, I quickly calmed down and simply sat down to do the fifth Falun Dafa exercise – meditation.
As I meditated, the deafening gunfire gradually stopped. Sloviansk has been a base for the pro-Russia separatists. I have not thought too much about my own life and death. I believe in Master's protection and draw support from my belief of Falun Dafa. I made it through until the Ukraine officials recovered my area, and some measure of peace returned.
I didn't manage to leave Kramatorsk, the city I live in, before the situation became dire. I had never been so afraid in my 60 years of life as I saw the pro-Russia forces appearing in my region. This meant that a war was going to break out.
To overcome my fear, I kept reminding myself: I am a Dafa practitioner who practices Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. These good values will carry me through; there's no need to be afraid. Even though I witnessed several bombings very nearby, I was able to suppress my fear.
In my city, the fighting usually happens between 10 pm and 3 am. Citizens like me who have remained often have to spend the nights sleepless. I am only 3 kilometers away from the war zone. When the fights start, the glass in my window trembles.
The next morning, I usually see many people running to the bus station with their suitcases. The city has become a ghost town. Trains have stopped running since long ago.
Two days before the Ukraine governmental forces took back Sloviansk, a house in my neighbourhood was bombed. The mine shot up three stories high and exploded upon hitting the ground.
Another time a mine exploded 100 metres away from my home. My window glass was completely shattered. Some people were injured. Several big trees were cut off. I have remained safe in such a surrounding. During the past three months, I have survived without water, electricity, or gas and very limited food supply.
I'm very thankful to the protection of Falun Dafa.
I'm 70 years old and live a small town near Lysychansk, [a city in southeast Ukraine and near the Russian border.] I was very afraid at the beginning. I felt as if my city was getting separated from Ukraine. Three bridges were bombed out. Roads to other cities were damaged. Factories were destroyed; railways were closed. Food supplies stopped as well.
Before fighting broke out, I often distributed Falun Dafa informational materials to local citizens and even soldiers to inform them about the persecution in China. After the fighting started, nobody was on the street any more.
The fighting usually occur between 3 a.m. and noon. I live on the fifth floor. I send forth righteous thoughts frequently every day, to ask for the support and protection of Falun Dafa and Master Li Hongzhi, founder of Falun Dafa.
I regained myself and also asked other Dafa practitioners not to be afraid. In an area where shattered glass is common, my residence has remained intact, even the window glass.
My neighbour's units all experienced different degrees of damage. Some lost a corner due to bombing. Some lost all glass. Some lost roofs. A nine-story building nearby was completely demolished by bombing.
I was able to sleep quite well at night. One morning all neighbors talked about the gunfire after midnight. They told how the ground was shaking, window glass shattered and even dogs barked non-stop.
I was awoken at 2 a.m. by a series of gunshots, but quickly went back to a sound sleep. The late night fighting didn't affect my sleep at all. However, I witnessed several times rockets flying over my small town. I know that I owe my safety to the protection of Falun Dafa.
After the Ukraine forces regained control of my area, I resumed distributing informational materials to soldiers. They took the materials with joy and hung the calendars with Falun Dafa messages in their vehicles.
A military official asked me to explain in detail the perseverance and courage of Falun Dafa practitioners in China in peacefully resisting the brutal persecution there. He thanked me repeatedly for sharing the information with him. He has since helped me spread word of the persecution and Chinese practitioners' spirits of compassion and forbearance. He also brought me potatoes, grains and other food to help me survive the current difficulties.
When fellow practitioners called me to ask me how I was, I told them what I wholeheartedly believe, “Master has been protecting me!”
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