Andriy’s Story In the War Zone

Andriy is a missionary and a defender of his country.

January 2023 – Andriy Khoroshilov joined Mercy Projects in 2014.  He is the IT manager and husband of our director, Yulia.  They have one son and live in Kyiv.  When the war started on February 24, 2022 men aged 18-60 were required to register for possible military service.  He now volunteers as a chaplain with his local unit serves families with Mercy Projects, and delivers aid to those in need. This is his story about a recent trip to the war zone.

Hi, my name is Andriy. As you may know, this Russian-Ukrainian war has been going on since 2014, but, unfortunately, on February 24, 2022, the Russians began a full-scale invasion.  I grew up speaking Russian, watching Russian TV, and working at a factory making aviation parts for Russian planes.


Supplies include wood-burning stoves, children’s clothes, backpacks, foodstuffs, and medical supplies.

My trip to Kharkiv started with a call from my good friend.  He asked me if we could quickly deliver supplies there including warm clothes, a bread maker, crutches, and a wheelchair.  We loaded all this into our mission van and left Kyiv for Kharkiv.

Near the city of Poltava, I chatted with the soldiers at the checkpoint.  Unfortunately, they still didn’t have enough helmets and bulletproof vests.  The guy I talked to asked if I had a first-aid kit or warm gloves.  I didn’t, but we exchanged phone numbers and I agreed to send him one.  I gave him my gloves, and later he thanked me by text message, asking how much he owed me.  I replied, “Nothing, just keep doing your tasks, and may God protect you.”

A missile in Kharkiv,.

At the entrance to Kharkiv, air raid sirens filled the sky and I stopped to put on my bulletproof vest and helmet that Jeff Thompson brought me.  We arrived and unloaded the cargo quickly because there were just a few hours left before the curfew.

I took a few pictures, said goodbye, and drove off as fast as I could because curfew was about to start.  I turned on the Google maps navigator.  Street lights were turned off and thick fog covered Kharkiv.  I drove carefully, dodging concrete barricades and anti-tank barriers.  I was humming, quietly dreaming of a hot cup of tea.  I didn’t notice that the maps navigator stopped working.  It was dark, foggy, and quiet.  I got a bad inner feeling that something was wrong.

Roads can be perilous in the war zone

Nothing looked familiar, and it suddenly occurred to me that I was near the exit from Kharkiv towards the Russian border.  I was a few kilometers from the front line!  Thanking God for the inner “signal”, I turned around and drove back to the city. The navigator had stopped working due to Russia jamming the GPS signal (Radio Electronic Warfare).

Finally, I saw the exit to the bridge I had to cross.  10 minutes later I arrived at a parking place, drank some hot tea, texted my wife, thanked God for a safe trip, wrapped myself in a sleeping bag, and fell asleep.  A few hours later I woke up to the sound of explosions.  Russia was shelling Kharkiv again.

As is often the case, our plans, and God’s plans do not coincide.  I planned to start my journey back to Kyiv early in the morning to arrive there before dark.  But God made the fog so dense it was impossible to drive.  There were too many barricades and not enough visibility.  I waited and started thinking that God had His reason to stop me from driving that morning.

When I was approaching the checkpoint, I noticed that all the cars were passing a gray civilian car with an open hood.  A man stood next to it and waved to the drivers, asking for help, but no one stopped.

I asked what happened and learned that their engine was broken.  It seemed to me that God planned my time to be there at that precise moment.  I offered to tow them.  The husband and wife told me they were fleeing from the Kharkiv region.  They had lived under Russian occupation and now that our troops were there, they could leave.  Friends waited for them in the next town of Poltava.  The brakes didn’t work correctly so we drove very slowly.  I towed them to a mechanic shop.  They were so grateful and offered me money.  I said, “No thank you, it is fine.  God loves you!”

We say in Ukraine, do good and it will be returned to you

Andriy and Yulia in the back recently shared a meal with friends and staff

That night I made it home tired but safe to Kyiv.  In the evening I developed a fever, my cheek was swollen, and my tooth ached.  I drank the painkiller and asked my friends about a good dentist near me.  The next day after dental treatment, I asked how much I should pay, to which he said, “Nothing, it is for free for you because you help others a lot.”

The Lord showed me that, even though we have hard times now in Ukraine, we can and should still serve Him and serve others.  I try to focus on the opportunity to help, not on the hardship.

Cast your bread on the water, for you will find it again after many days.  Ecclesiastes 11:1