News from Ukraine, July 29, 2023

July 29 (Day 521)

How wonderful it is to be there where there is peace and quiet, how wonderful it is not to wake up at night from howling sirens, how wonderful it is to be with those you love. I spend time with my grandchildren and we have a lot of fun together. We have special time in the evening reading Bible stories, having discussions and praying. They ask questions and there are so many things I want to tell them before I leave. We talk about Ukraine a lot and pray for our country. I will miss them so much but I am so glad to see that they are happy here.

Last week was very hard for the southern part of Ukraine. Odessa and Odessa region was heavily bombed. There was a lot of destruction in the city, which is famous for its beautiful architecture and historical monuments. It was so painful to see familiar buildings in the downtown of Odessa ruined and destroyed. The rocket hit a big Orthodox Cathedral and it happened on Sunday night right on the day of worship. The port of Odessa and other ports of Odessa region were attacked and so many tons of grain that could be the food for many people in the world, were destroyed. I felt very devastated watching the news and talking to my husband and people from my church. I worried so much for the historic building of Presbyterian church in Odessa and I felt so bad that I was so far away and could not be with my friends in Odessa. But then the next day brought so much encouragement. I saw people in Odessa gathered downtown to clean the debris, the Orthodox people had their worship outside standing in front their ruined cathedral, there was unity and desire to stand together and protect their city. I talked to our counselors who live in Odessa and I was glad to hear them in a good spirit and faith.

Then in addition to all attacks there was a big rain storm with a wind that broke a lot of trees in our town. The entrance to our Christian clinic facility was blocked and Sergey organized the boys of our youth group to clean the territory there. It’s nice that they are always enthusiastic about doing something.

Few new families with children joined our refugee group while I am away. They very easily became part of a group that is open to new people. This week Tanya organized a tour in the historical places of the city and our refugees enjoyed walking and taking photos.

Each time I call Sergey he is in the Refugee Center supervising the renovation process. Right now the workers work on the bathroom in the second living zone. There is another family that is waiting to move in, so they want to finish it soon.

I receive messages from our refugees and they write about their life. I am glad they are doing well and the news about counteroffensive gives them much hope. One lady wrote me that her husband who is in the army will have two weeks of vacation next month and will come to see her.

The time is passing fast and I will go home soon. There are many plans and many things to do. I hope for good changes. Though it’s hard to say when the war will stop, we know that it will end with a Victory.

Please, pray for our Victory and for the end of this terrible war.

In Christ,

P.S. There are photos of the destroyed cathedral in Odessa, the photos of our youth helping to take away the fallen trees and the tour that Tanya organized for the refugees.