News from Ukraine September 11, 2023

September 11 ( Day 565)

«Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation» Hebrews 13:7

Sunday, yesterday, was for us not only a day of worship, but also a day of communication and unity. Our church gathered for dinner in memory of our elder Vitaliy, who died a year ago. Vitaliy was an incredible man who did so much for Kingdom of God here. He was in charge of the construction project when we were building our church. So many things that we see around were made by his hands. As a former military man he loved order and discipline and wanted everything to be well organized. Sometimes we did not like it, thinking that he wanted too much of our congregation and now we remember this with a smile understanding that the fact that our church was able to be reorganized so quickly and serve the needs of the army and the community from the beginning of the war was largely due to him. Sergey spoke about people , as living stones that build the church. When they go to heaven we still enjoy the fruits of their ministry. Other people witnessed how Vitaliy discipled them and helped them in their spiritual walk. It was good for our new members to hear their witness.

Few days ago I visited our local defense center where the group of volunteer continue to make camouflage nets and garments for our soldiers. Last year I was a part of that group and spent several hours every day to do the work there. It was a good opportunity to communicate with the ladies there, to share the gospel and talk about many different things in our life, to give support and encouragement to the women whose husbands and sons are at war. This year I am too busy with our ministry that develops more and more and can only occasionally visit my friends in the local defense group. Last week I shared with them my news about the support groups of refugees and they asked me if I can do a support group with them. I will be glad to do it and we agreed to start next month. Our society is very tired of war and need help. I also had a call from my good friend who teaches at the local college and often has to conduct her lessons in the bomb shelter, she invited me to come and have a meeting with the teaches of the college who need encouragement and some positive energy to pass to their students.

In spring our counselor Tanya and I were invited to one of the military units to work with Alex, a young soldier who was depressed and suicidal. We used to travel to the village where the military stayed several times a week and spent time with Alex, we talked, did some relaxing techniques with him, taught him how to work with his feelings and with his body. We also talked with his commander and some other soldiers of the unit. We were glad to see Alex feeling better. It was good that he was open for God and started reading the New Testament that we gave him, he began to pray and it helped him a lot. After a month the unit went to the front line and we communicated through the phone for some time but then stopped because it was not always allowed to use phones there. We were praying for him wondering how he was doing. Last week Alex called me, I was so glad to hear his voice and to know that he is alive. He told he was fine all these months but now he has sad feelings and negative thoughts again. We talked for a while and he told me that two last months they were holding their position and were able to stay at the same place. Now they are advancing and he is transferred to another group. It became clear that his state is caused not by the war, he got used to be in the front line and fights and the sounds of explosions do not scare him. It’s very hard for him to part with the people who became his close friends and to build new relations with the people in a new group. We went back to his childhood, he was three when his mother left him with his dad and was never interested in his life. Then we talked about the people that God brought into his life, we remembered how he first met the soldiers who became his friends, then we talked how God has been caring about him during all this time of war. We prayed at the end of our conversation and Alex told that he felt better. He asked to pray for him. I hope we will talk again soon.

This week we plan a small retreat for our counselors who work so hard and need rest, we will go for three days to a quiet village and have some time to rest and communicate with each other.

Thank you for your help, for your prayers and support. It is very important for us. Organization Mission to the World has a project Crates for Ukraine which is a help for many churches in Ukraine. This is the information about this project:

In Christ,

P.S. There are photos of our church dinner, Dr. Anya speaking during the dinner, the photos of my friends-volunteers who make camouflage nets, the refugees meeting in the café, there is a photo of the waitress, Inna, serving us the drinks in the café, her father who is a soldier, was badly wounded last week and is in hospital now.