May 20, 2024 (Day 817)

May 20, 2024 (Day 817)
The beginning of a new week always means new plans, new hopes and new discoveries. One of these discoveries is the feeling of peace amidst war. Despite the anxiety and fear that are constantly present somewhere in the subconscious level, we are learning to experience peace by trusting God and relying on His Holy Will. The title of Sergey’s sermon yesterday was “The humble will enjoy great peace”. I had an interesting situation in church yesterday. Before the start of the service, I saw a new woman and decided to come and talk to her. It was an elderly woman named Nina, she was nice and open. I told her that it was good that she came to church because in such difficult times it is important for us to be with God. She agreed with me and said that she is praying for the end of the war because her son is a militaryman. My heart immediately responded to her pain and I thought about the women in our church whose sons are now at war. I took her hand and asked where her son is now? Most of our army is now on the front line holding back the enemy and this is very dangerous. But her answer was like a blow to the head for me. She said that her son moved to Russia many years ago and now he is in the Russian army. I immediately imagined our soldiers in the trenches under the fire of Russian cannons, I mentally saw the destroyed cities, I remembered the dead civilians, the children who died and became disabled. Strong feelings of nausea came straight to my throat and I could no longer talk to her. During his sermon Sergey talked about what it means to have peace with God, that the real peace begins with the reconciliation with God and when we accept the peace of Christ we can bring this peace into our world. During the service, we prayed for our soldiers, we prayed to our country and asked God to defeat the evil that came to destroy us, and we also talked a lot about the love of God and his faithfulness. At the end of the service I looked back and saw that Nina was still there. She was about to leave when I approached her, I shook her hand and thanked her for being with us today and invited her to come again. I hope that she will come again, and that the spirit of God will work in her heart. I also hope she will be able to tell her son important words about reconciliation with God, so that he will stop committing evil and start building peace.
Now we are in a very difficult phase of the war, the enemy is attacking and our armed forces are holding on with all their might, it is very difficult for them both physically and morally. There are fierce battles along the entire front line. Russian army is trying to reach the city of Kharkov, it is constantly being bombed. Last week I counselled several people from Kharkov over the phone, they have panic attacks, anxiety, lack of sleep, they simply cannot sleep due to constant explosions. Refugees from Kharkiv who have been living in our city for two years and are a part of our support group also complain of increased anxiety, they began to have a flashbacks of the events of two years ago. They talk about their memories of the first day of the war, what they experienced, and now they worry very much about their hometown and the people who are still there.

The situation has changed in our city, too. Before we could distantly hear the sounds of explosions that were mostly in Odessa. And now we see drones in our skies every day, we often see how at night they are searched for by searchlights in the sky and destroyed by air defense forces. We hear loud explosions, everything shakes around, but thanks God no drone fell on our city yet.

We are constantly in contact with our military from our church with Paul, Dr. Anya and others. They don’t always have internet connection and we always look forward to messages from them with excitement. I corresponded with Pavel last week. A couple of weeks ago he was home for a few days spent some time with our church youth. He returned to fight, but all the time he thought about two girls, he noticed a conflict between them. He shared his concerns with me. His thoughts are about his ministry in the church. How much we want all our ministers to return to their churches unharmed and continue their service. Please, pray for our ministers, please, pray for Sergey. He is supposed to come to a recruitment center on June 3.

Thank you for your prayers and for your support. We thank God for each of you.

Please, send your donations to Pathway Ministries
E. Langston Haygood,D.Min.,Ph.D.
Pathway Ministries, Inc.
288 Huntington Parc Circle
Birmingham, AL 35226

In Christ,

P.S. There is a photo of me talking to Nina in the church. There are photos of the meeting of our refuge group, the class of art therapy.