News from Ukraine March 8, 2023

March, 8 (Day 378)

First spring days are warm and nice and there are snowdrops blooming around. March 8 is a Women’s Day, the holiday that we inherited from our soviet past. In the beginning it was based on socialist ideology of equality then it lost its political background and people just celebrated it greeting women and having parties. We still celebrate it but there are more and more talks about changing the date and the idea of the holiday to get rid of anything that connects us with Russia.

The topic that I chose for our group meeting last week was “Biblical women” and we discussed beautiful images from the Old and New Testament – Eve, Esther, Ruth, Hanna, Mary - the mother of Jesus, Dorcas and the woman at the well. We also talked about the image of a Christian woman today. I invited the youth group to join us and it was good that they participated in our discussions.

Women in our culture have always been active, sometimes too active, because they had to take on the roles of men when men did not want to take responsibility. The passivity of men is another problem that we inherited from our past, where a woman had to take care of children, house, earn money and also take care of her husband. It’s good to see that the situation is changing now, so many men stood up to protect their families and their country. Statistics have shown that many young couples have made the decision to marry rather than cohabit. The war made people more responsible.

It’s interesting that many women joined the army when the war started and their number in the army is increasing. We are so proud of our Dr. Anya and her assistant Lena who are serving together at the medical unit very close to the front line. There are many stories of women and some of them became really famous. The famous paramedic with a nickname Taira (her real name is Julia) began to study tactical medicine since 2014, then started teaching it and developed her own course to train the combat medics. In the beginning of the war Taira organized a mobile hospital in Mariupol helping people, she was captured by Russian soldiers and spent several months in captivity before she was exchanged for Russian prisoners of war. She continues her active service now. Another paramedic with nickname Bird ( real name Catherine) stayed up to the end with Azov regiment in Mariupol, then went through tortures of Russian imprisonment. A skilled sniper Joan of Arc (real name Jane) who was a successful businesswoman before the war that decided to become a soldier. There are many-many other women that need our prayers and we think of them today, on this day of women’s holiday.

I often call Sasha and Nadya, Sasha feels improvement every day. He began to move his legs. He says he has a strange feeling because it’s hard to control the movements yet. But he sounds much more positive now.

The war situation is still the same. The city of Bakhmut, in the north of Donetsk region withstands the intensive attacks every day. Our commanders say that despite the constant attacks, our army will hold the city, preventing the enemy from advancing. They make incredible efforts resisting a powerful pressure.

Please, keep our brave defenders in your prayers. And pray for our women to follow the example of Biblical womanhood.

In Christ,

P.S. There are photos of our group meeting, the photo of Dr. Anya with her husband Vitaliy who is recovering in Odessa hospital, the photo of three girls ( Taira in the middle, Bird – a girl with a curly hair and Joan of Ark on the right)