June Prayer Letter
Dear Friends and Partners,
After 3.5 months of war in Ukraine, there are now 13 million Ukrainians who have fled the country or had to leave their home, with 90% of the refugees being women and children. We know many people who are struggling, waiting for the war to end, and just surviving … it is a hard situation for millions of people.
Celebrating one of the Ukrainian orphan’s 12th birthday while refugees in Romania. For a short period of time, things were looking up within our city and region of Kharkiv. People were coming back to their homes, due to how costly it was to stay away, but now that Russia have retaken nearby areas, the bombings and shelling have increased dramatically once again, and people are leaving again. On June 1, one of our ministry partners told me that the bombings are more random than ever and it is no longer safe to travel to the villages outside of Kharkiv without taking huge risks, so please keep our ministry partners in your prayers.
As a reminder, all war updates can be viewed here: https://www.slavicchristian.org/blog
Prior to the war, we helped care for orphans, disabled children, and sponsored many kid’s clubs all across our region. But when the war began all that changed and we no longer have connection with them, so we have been intentionally building back our efforts to help children. There are three different ways we are trying to help Ukrainian orphans/children; some of this is still developing, but here is what are doing/preparing: 1) helping orphans in Romania; 2) supporting new orphans in Kharkiv; and 3) serving at-risk kid’s within our ministry locations.
Ukrainian Orphans in Romania
My friend, Chris and I worked together in the same church in Florida eight years ago. He is now the president of a Romanian ministry that has morphed into helping Ukrainian children too. Because of our heavy involvement in Ukraine for over 21 years, and with our passion for orphan ministry, we have been partnering with him from the very early stages of this war. I shared with him that perhaps God put us together years ago for how we are partnering to save kid’s lives today! We are supporting Chris and his ministry care for 17 Ukrainian orphans in Romania that were brought over the border for their safety.
The children are staying in a converted home on their Romanian campus. They named the new home, “The House of Hope.” Due to the massive needs of both Ukrainian and Romanian children, the Romanian ministry was provided a grant by the European Union to build three more facilities. This is great news because we don’t have the ministry finances to help them with their building costs, but we are deeply committed to caring for these Ukrainian children!
While this war rages on, we are helping the children have as stable of life as possible. Our friends are instilling the concept of family, showering them with love, and teaching them about Christ and his love for them. While it is already tragic not to have parents, it is even worse to be cast out of your country and into a foreign culture due to war. And surprisingly, these gentle souls are the blessed ones … getting an opportunity to flee and not see the massive destruction happening in Ukraine and to hear about God on a regular basis.
We have been partnering with six ministries in Kharkiv. All of them are doing an amazing job of feeding 150,000+ people. However, one of our ministry partners (Good News Church – Kharkiv), has been taking care of recently made orphans in Kharkiv. As I mentioned in an earlier update, there were 70 orphans, but at last count the number dropped to 35. We don’t know what happened to the other 35 children -- did extended family pick them up? Were they shipped across the border, like the other kid’s we are helping in Romania? We truly don’t know, but through Good News Church we are providing the necessary resources to help these children.
Please pray for these children: they hear the constant bombs and explosions daily. No child should have to live through this, much less without their parents! They reside in the bomb shelter/basement of a hospital. However, the Russian military has been targeting hospitals throughout the war, so I don’t know how safe they truly are at this moment. They are living in a nightmare, which breaks my heart!
I am unsure how to help these children long-term, but these kids are our first priority. All of your donations will go to help these kid’s long after the war is over! If you want to donate toward any of these orphans, just place on your online donation or check, “orphans.”
At Risk Children
Another one of our long-term ministry partners named Zhenya, is a Baptist pastor and director in a rehabilitation center we have supported over the past 10 years. When the war began, his church and volunteers have been sheltering dozens of refugees, making hundreds of loaves of bread daily for the villages around him, and also holding church services every Sunday.
As they were distributing bread, food, and supplies to people in their town and surrounding villages, he reported to me something that horrified me … severely neglected children due to the war. To be honest, some of these children were neglected by their parents before the war, but their daily care has deteriorated since the beginning of the war.
Take Lisa and Gleb, as an example. They have a father who is an alcoholic and drug addict, and their mother committed suicide at an earlier time. During this war, they have no parental oversight and rely on our ministry partners to keep them alive. We have decided to begin kid’s activities this summer, if the war relents. We need to give kids like Lisa and Gelb hope for the future and let them know that they are dearly loved by God. There are many children like Lisa and Gleb. Please pray for these kids so they will not fall through the cracks and that we can help them physically and spiritually.
Thank you for your faithful prayers and financial partnership. Now that the war is barely in the news cycle, our donations have dropped about 70%, but our long-term needs have not declined. It will take faithful partners, like yourself, to help these children (and many more that God will put in our path for the years to come). That is why we ask you to become a monthly partner. If God is touching your heart, please help us by going here: www.slavicchristian.org/donate. You can sign up to be a recurring donor.
Two last things: I will update you on our friend, pastor Sasha who was abducted and tortured in our update in mid-June. But on another development, our ministry partners believe a very big Russian assault will begin around mid-June, so please pray for everyone’s safety.
I cannot stress enough what a blessing you have been for so many in Ukraine. I feel so encouraged knowing what huge hearts you have for people of Ukraine - thank you very much!!!
In Jesus’ love,