TWO MILLION AND COUNTING!
Hello dear friends,
I hope you had a wonderful Easter! Thank you for always praying for those in Ukraine – apparently the next offensive hasn’t taken place yet, but there are still huge battles in Bakhmut, which is just south of our region. So far about 350,000 have been killed in this war (from both sides, plus many more have been injured). Please keep praying that this war will be over soon!
I mentioned that I would like to begin sharing testimonies of our ministry partners in Kharkiv this year. Here is one of the five ministry partners we are working within our region – his name is Peter and he is our point person for Holy Trinity Church in Kharkiv. This is his testimony:
TWO MILLION AND COUNTING!
“Hello friends, my name is Peter Loboiko. Since 2004, I have been the associate pastor and second in charge for Holy Trinity Church. I am married to my wife since 2007, and we have three beautiful children. Before the war in Ukraine, I was a regular preacher, participated in the worship team, was in charge of baptisms, and lead the youth group and summer camps. On occasion, I also worked with senior citizens in two nursing homes, where I would share the Good News. Our church was around 350, plus children, before the beginning of the war.
My senior pastor, Ilya Gerasim, is the regional director of all Pentecostal churches in our state of Kharkiv. We were engaged in many outreach activities, before the war broke out and changed all of our lives forever.
February 24, 2022 is etched in my memory forever - early in the morning, our family woke up to terrible explosions and we realized that our worst fears have come to pass – a war with Russia! We were very concerned, as bombs and missiles were going off everywhere. Within hours, we took our children to my grandparents’ home in a village about 60 miles away, where the kids would be safer. I eventually moved my family to Spain while I was working very long hours in Kharkiv, but now that are back with me in Ukraine.
During the early months of this war, my church was able to help evacuate more than 25,000 people. It was a special experience in our life when we literally felt God's protective hand on us. Our cars were hit by shrapnel, bullets, and basically our vehicles were totally destroyed by nearby explosions, but none of us were killed or injured!
Almost immediately after the start of the war, we began to feed people in the church – and much of this help early on came from all of you at Slavic Christian Ministries, so a huge thank you to each of you; you were a critical help with food and medicine during the early stages of the war and throughout the last year!
As the war has continued over the past 14 months, we have also had help from a couple of other ministries, including the United Nations, and by God’s grace, we have been able to distribute over 2 million food boxes to our city of Kharkiv and 200 other small towns and villages in our state. Slavic Christian Ministries has been an important part in helping us serve people and keep them alive, not only with food and medicine, but helping with fuel, car repairs, heating units, etc. There is still a huge need for medicine and hygiene products. People are asking for our help with these things constantly too. We notice all that you have done for us and we thank God for your faithfulness over the past 14 months! May the Lord bless each one of you for your kindness and love.” – Pastor Peter
You may recall last year when I wrote about how his apartment was destroyed by a missile. It was a direct hit and totally destroyed everything in his home (thankfully no one was home at the time). And you may also recall me sharing about a missile hitting the roof of his church, but not exploding – this was his church too. Pastor Peter, pastor Ilya, and all the other volunteers of Holy Trinity Church have been amazing servants of God. I still remember Peter driving all the way to Poland and Germany just to get specialized medicine to keep people alive in Kharkiv (a 15 hour trip minimum); he has been willing to do whatever it takes to ease the suffering of people during this war. I consider it an honor to call him my friend, Christian brother, and serve alongside of him and his church!
Please keep his family and his church in your prayers. Please keep our ministry in your prayers too. We are faithfully sending money to Ukraine to help people stay alive, but our finances are down considerably since last year – we trust the donations will still come in, but we are currently down about $30,000 in deficit spending. I will be posting many more photos of what he and his church are doing on our Facebook page over the next week, if you would like to see many more photos. Next month, I will be highlighting the children of this war and how you are helping the most vulnerable. We thank God for you in every way! Please remain faithful.
In Jesus’ love,