News from Ukraine April 17, 2023

April 17 (Day 418)

News from Ukraine

Christ has risen! We are so happy to proclaim it again and again. We had a blessed weekend. On Saturday we organized a church dinner where traditional food of Jesus time was served. Sergey’s message was about the history of Easter starting with Passover, about the idea of sacrificial Lamb and connection of the past and present. I watched how people were listening, there were many people who started to attend the church not long ago. It was vivid that for many of them it was a new information and they were listening with an interest. In our culture we celebrate Easter a week later of Jewish Passover people don’t know about the connection.

On Sunday we had our Easter worship and rejoiced together. We had more new people in the church. At the end our youth group showed a drama based of Pilgrim’s progress story. We had a good fellowship and people stayed and communicated after the worship.

There are many wonderful things that God is doing in this difficult time. It’s a year already as we started our ministry to the refugees and we see wonderful fruits. There are young people who became active members of our youth group. There are adults that are involved in our church activities. One lady, Alina, feels a calling to minister in a Sunday school and she will start helping Sunday school teachers next month to learn from them. Olga, the lady from Mariupol that lives in our church guest room serves in the kitchen and loves cooking for our church gatherings. The young man, Ilusha helps a lot in the church doing painting and other renovation things. We are glad to see that they do it with joy. Many of them are ready to help and volunteer.

One more joy that we had celebrating Easter is to see our dear brother Paul Lukoshkin who could come home for a few days on holidays. All our brave soldiers were with us in the church yesterday – Anya, Vitaliy, Ivan and Paul. Paul addressed the church making a call to prayer and said that we often ask God to look at our circumstances and do what we want, but we should rather reveal our needs to Him and seek His holy will.

Another exchange of war captives was made on the holiday and 130 our soldiers returned home. Among those who were released there is a husband of the friend of Vika, our counselor. He retuned home pale, thin and weak but he is alive.

We continue work with Alex, the soldier from the military unit nearby who made a suicidal attempt a week ago. He is doing much better but needs more therapy to deal with the traumas of his past and the pressure of the present.

Thank you for your prayers and for your help.

In Christ,

There are photos of our Easter celebration, the photos of Dr. Anya, her husband Vitaliy and Paul Lukoshkin that are home now, the photos of the refugees listening to Sergey’s message about Easter and Passover and the group of Ukrainian soldiers that were released from Russian captivity.