News from Ukraine July 18, 2023

July 8 (Day 500)

Today marks 500 days of the war, 500 days of incredible resistance and fight for freedom and independence, for the right to choose and for the right to live as one nation.

It’s 500 days as our cities and villages have suffered from bombings and shelling, as many people have no homes, as we haven't slept peacefully, as we keep following the news all the time. But it is also the time of increadible unity and strength, the time of growth and maturity, the time of faith and depending on God. The time when people pray as never before.

I’ve come to the USA this week and my first day here was the holiday of the Independence Day. I was very glad to feel the atmosphere of this holiday and to see the country where freedom is highly respected. For me who grew up in the Soviet Union where many things were forbidden, where people who believed in God were put to prison and killed, where people could not choose where to live and what to do, this holiday is very special.

I am very glad to be with my daughter and my grandchildren though I have a jet lag and sometimes it’s hard for me to stay awake during the day.

I talk to Sergey every day on the phone and stay up to date with the news. I must admit that news is perceived much harder when you are far away. It was difficult to see the news about bombing of Lviv, this beautiful city in the west of Ukraine. And though there is nothing I can do about it, there is a subconscious desire to be there. I did texting with a pastor’s wife of the church in Lviv. They are fine but it’s hard to see the damage and know about deaths and wounded.

Last week our youth leader Paul Lukoshkin had few days off and came home. He mostly slept first two days and the last day spent in the church with our youth. Such warriors like Paul know very well what they are fighting for. He sees the future of this young people in the renewed and recovered country, he wants to do everything to provide a meaningful and peaceful life for them.

I am glad to see the message from a young man, Denis, who is also fighting now. He used to be one of my students, he studied so hard and after graduation was very successful on his job. When the war started he immediately joined the army. I have not heard from him for a long period. I knew that he was on the front line and prayed for him to bee safe. I am so glad to know that he is well and full of strength and spirit.

While I am away, our counselor Tanya and my good friend continues to work with the refugees, leading group meetings and organizing charitable breakfasts for them. It’s good that we have volunteers who help and it’s not too much load on Tanya. Our Refugee Center is changing every day and becomes more and more comfortable for the work and ministry. And though there is still much that must be renovated there, there are rooms that are ready and can be used. Tanya began to do counseling there, yesterday when she came, Svetlana, the refugee who lives there, prepared everything for Tanya to be comfortable and even thought about the snack. Tanya was very pleased, to see the bowl of strawberries on the table.

Thank you for your prayers and support.

In Christ,

P.S. There are some photos: the photo of our President addressing the nation today on the 500th day of the war, the photos of Tanya and our volunteer Vika working with the refugees and the photos of the office in our Refugee Center where we can do counseling now.