January 9, 2024 (Day 685)

January 9, 2024 (Day 685)

Yesterday we woke up again to the sounds of air alarm. It’s the third massive attack in the new year. The news showed dogs searching for people under rubble. And although it’s hard to shock us with anything after what we’ve already seen, the tragedy in Pokrovsk is terrifying. The enemy bombed residential buildings in the private sector during the holidays, when families gathered together. Three generations of one family died in one of the houses - parents, children and grandparents. It is impossible to imagine who are those who kill civilians during the Christmas holidays.

There were a lot of children in our church at Christmas and we were glad to arrange a holiday for them. They were children from the neighborhood, the children that attend Superbook club, the children of refugees. They all gathered together in the church and we all rejoiced celebrating the birth of our Savior. Such joyful events are especially valuable for children now. The life of children of war, as we call them, has very little joy. Like us adults, they suffer from this war. But their suffering is even more painful because they do not have the ability to cope with fear and cannot always rely on adults nearby. Most of the children in Ukraine can not go to school and be with their friends there, they study online. They can not practice their hobbies or visit their favorite places. Many of them had to move, leaving their homes. The fathers of many children are now at the war defending our land. Many children became orphans. I want to share some stories of the children.

Misha (11)

The counselor of our center, Roman, told me about the talk he had with his son, Misha, after they survived one of the attacks on Odessa last week. Misha is eleven, two years ago he was nine. Up at sudden Misha started to talk about the first day of the war and Roman was surprised that he remembers every detail of that day. He remembers how Roman woke him up and said that the war had begun. When he got dressed, he had a strange kind of fear, he wanted to run away and hide somewhere. Few days after that there was a birthday of his little niece, the daughter of Misha’s elder sister. As they were sitting at the table they heard the sounds of an explosion and the little girl asked what it was. Misha did not want her to know about the war and he told that it was thunder. Roman says it is oddly enough that his son shared this for the first time in two years.

Gleb (9 years old)

His father was a soldier and died several months ago. Gleb is not talkative, he wants to be alone. His mother asked for help, she worries and thinks that her son has problems, because he changed so much, he used to be talkative and active before. I told her about the experience of grief, then talked with Gleb. The boy was silent, but he began to talk when was asked about his favorite computer game and about the cartoon he had recently watched. He doesn’t like to draw, but agreed to depict his usual day on paper. Then we talked about his father and what they liked to do together. At the end I asked him if he wanted to write a letter or draw a picture for his father, he chose to draw a picture…

Nika (14 years old)

Few years ago her family was friendly and cheerful. Everything changed when the war began. Their city was occupied in the first days of the war and they had to flee leaving everything behind. Her father joined the army and they didn’t see him for six months. Then the news came that he was wounded and mom left for a long time to be with her dad in the hospital. Nika was left with her elder siblings who were busy with their lives and did not pay enough attention to her. Nika felt abandoned and lonely. When dad was released from the hospital and the parents returned home, mom didn’t recognize her youngest daughter. She became withdrawn and silent. One day her mother looked into her phone and saw a correspondence with an adult man. This was followed by a conversation with Nika, which ended in conflict. Nika’s mother came to talk to me, asking for advice. Please, pray for the wisdom to help Nika not to get into a big trouble.

Lita (15)

This sweet girl came to our church a couple of years ago. She took everything she learned and heard very seriously. She has become a member of the church, sings in our music group, plays the piano and wants to know more about God. She really wants to have friends and is very open to communication. But this makes her vulnerable. Her parents are divorced, Lita and her sister live with their mother, but the girl is really looking for communication with her father, who is a former military man. He returned from the war wounded, with PTSD and became addicted to alcohol. It is a big tragedy for Lita, she wants to help her father, but doesn't know how. In our Christmas program, she played the role of a military star who brings victory from the Lord. She played this role in her father's military uniform and was very proud of it.

We should pray for peace and for the hearts of fathers to turn to their children.

Thank you for your prayers and thank you for you support.

Please, send your donations to Pathway Ministries
E. Langston Haygood,D.Min.,Ph.D.
Pathway Ministries, Inc.
288 Huntington Parc Circle
Birmingham, AL 35226
(205)835-3325
http://www.pathwayministriesinc.com

In Christ,

Lyuda

P.S. There are photos of the tragedy in Pokrovsk that happened during Christmas holidays, the photo of our counselor Roman and his son, the photo of the kids who took part in our Christmas program, the photo of our drama “Christmas stars” and the photo of Lita who played the part of a military star wearing her father’s uniform.