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“God if I die, please take me to heaven, because I have already been in hell …”



May 2022

Dear Friends and Partners,


After 2.5 months of war in Ukraine, there are 7 million Ukrainians who have fled the country, with another 8-10 million displaced people within the country, including our family members.


If you personally know someone in Ukraine, the US is now open to refugees coming to America, but they need a financial sponsor and have to present a voluminous amount of financial documentation. If you are interested, I will give you our immigration attorney’s contact information.


As a reminder, all war updates can be viewed here: https://www.slavicchristian.org/blog


In and around our Kharkiv region, there is still intense fighting, but it looks like the Ukrainian military is now making a counter-offensive against the Russians. I am hoping that with time, this will reduce the number of missiles, bombs, and shelling. But the eastern side of Ukraine is an absolute intense warzone, but our western media isn’t reporting on it much as in the beginning of the war. Please don’t be lulled into a false sense that all is OK, we are still trying our best to help our ministry partners feed people and get them medical supplies. Our friends have helped no less than 150,000+ people, but it cannot continue without your help – so thank you very much! You are a huge blessing!


In our weekly updates, I concentrate on Kharkiv. But in our monthly prayer letters, I try to focus on an individual or family we support, so the war becomes more real and personal and not just about statistics. Today, I want to highlight an army chaplain named Alexander that we are supporting, Here is his testimony:


“God if I die, please take me to heaven, because I have already been in hell …”


“Hello, my name is Alexander; I am the senior pastor of Holy Trinity Church in Dunaivtsi, in the Khmelnitsky region since 2001 (southwest Ukraine). I am very close to SCM Board members Glen and Natasha Westcott and went to their Christian college many years ago. They are good friends! In 2000, I arrived in the Khmelnitsky region and began to serve God. In addition to my church ministry, I was the academic dean and director of a local college and coordinator of the Institute of Biblical Preaching, and head of the Ukrainian Reformation Society. The Lord gave me a beautiful wife, Irina and we have three wonderful children: our son, Mark, and two daughters, Kristina and Solomiya. Our son is already an adult and graduated from the military academy. Currently, he is on the front lines, protecting our country.


I have also been a military chaplain since 2015 and served at the front lines in Donbass for the past seven years helping both the military and civilians living in the war zone. On May 4, 2018, a miracle happened: my car was a direct hit from anti-tank ammunition blast. I miraculously survived. Now it's like a second birthday for me.


On February 24, life was forever changed - my chaplaincy no longer required me to go far away regions of Ukraine. From the first days of the war, hundreds of refugees began to travel through our city. At first, they came from Kharkiv, Sumy, Chernihiv, now they are mostly from Donbass - the worst hit areas of eastern Ukraine, where the Russians have destroyed everything. Some of them stay with us and we find them a place to live. Many of our church members take in the refugees, but most of the refugees are in transit to somewhere safer. We help settle people in our refugee center we created on our church premises; here people can spend the night, eat, sleep and try to calm down.


We talk to them, pray, comfort them and also help them practically. Sometimes we just give them money to get to the border because many refugees lost everything they had in this world. Some only had their personal documents. From time to time, we organize buses to bring refugees from the east of Ukraine. These are people who either do not have their own transportation or their vehicle was destroyed in the war. We also make similar runs to the Polish and Romanian borders.


From the very beginning of the war, volunteers and military alike have formed militias. These military groups include many of our relatives and church members. Even my assistant at the church went to volunteer on the front lines. Since these fighters are volunteers, they must get their support from local people (not from the government military). We donate a lot of food and medicine. We also organize the tailoring of military uniforms.


We are always looking for bulletproof vests. I handed over the last 20 vests to the front line where my son is fighting. Unfortunately, we have heard about many people dying in combat. As a chaplain, I help support grieving families of the deceased. When I go to the war zone, I provide food, supplies, hold church services and provide spiritual counseling.


Please continue to provide Slavic Christian Ministries with your donations. We are using those funds to buy groceries with long shelf life, hygiene products, Pampers and baby food, military footwear for the soldiers, and vehicle upkeep, since the stress on the vehicles is huge.


Please continue to pray for Ukraine, my son Mark, who is fighting at the front line, my assistant, Yuri, who is also serving in the military, for all the military because many Ukrainian soldiers are dying, and also for me. I am physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted. I saw written on one Ukrainian soldier’s helmet, “God if I die, please take me to heaven, because I have already been in hell …”

Thank you and Slavic Christian Ministries for your support and prayers. Please keep it coming, we need you!” - Alexander

Friends, I cannot agree more with Alexander. We must not get weary in helping Alexander, those in the military, and all the refugees. Included in the 150,000 + people we have fed are the military in Kharkiv too. Our ministry partners deliver them hot meals and food supplies. Please help us continue to bless those in Ukraine. Like I mentioned above, the needs don’t disappear with the new cycle.


Thank you for all your prayers and financial partnership. Please advocate to your church and see if your pastor would be willing to have a phone conversation with me. Please also consider becoming a regular monthly donor, because the millions of displaced people will need help for a long time. If so, please go here to donate:

www.slavicchristian.org/donate.


It is really difficult for us to create a budget when we don’t have sustained giving. People sometimes believe, “my $20 a month won’t make a difference,” but this isn’t true. If “everyone” we know on social media gave, we could share Christ and help provide support to twice or three times as many people as we are today.


Besides our war updates on our website, my wife and I try to provide regular updates on Facebook, so please find us on Facebook at Slavic Christian Ministries, Katya Putnam or Ron Putnam. We continue to provide email updates on how things are progressing in Kharkiv on a regular basis too. Thank you to everyone for your prayers and support! You are truly a blessing!


In Jesus’ love,


Ron Putnam


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