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WE HAVE UNEXPECTEDLY BEGUN FEEDING MORE AND MORE PEOPLE


May/June 2024

         

Dear Friends,                          

 

It is getting very scary again in our city and region of Kharkiv. The new Russian offensive has begun and the Russian military has made significant advances in our state. So far, nine towns and villages have been taken over by the Russians. In today’s news over 1,700 Russian soldiers were killed in one day – the highest number I have ever seen during the war. There are intense battles happening as I communicate with you via this letter.

 

My wife spoke to a nurse in Kharkiv, whom she has known for many years, and she said she is now taking medication to calm her nerves because of the intensity of the attacks upon her city and the major battles a short distance away. She said that the entire night sky is lit up constantly with exploding bombs, missiles, artillery shells and other types of explosives as the Ukrainian army and Russian military battle each other about 15-20 miles away.

 



Friends, I am very concerned that the Russians will take over our city in the near future. The Ukrainian military knew this advance was coming, but the lack of men and military resources have made it difficult to stand their ground. I think my biggest concern is how many civilians may be killed (including our friends who have helped serve the military with food and encouragement), if the Russians breaks through the Ukrainian defense lines. Here are some news articles about the recent events in Kharkiv:

 

 

 

 

 

While it is difficult for me to report on anything else right now, I want to give you a brief update on one of our ministry partners - pastor Zhenya has been one of our employees for about 12 years. For most of his time with our ministry, he worked in a Christian rehab center, and he has been very instrumental in brining many people into a saving knowledge with Jesus and also freeing them from their drug addiction. Zhenya has a huge heart for God. I haven’t really given an update on him and his ministry since the war began, except touching on his work indirectly.




 

About a year after the war broke out, the Ukrainian military forced his family and all the rehabilitants from their facility - and they had to scramble to find a new place to live and do ministry. His family had to live in a bullet riddled home for a few months until they found a more permanent place to raise their family. During this period of time, his wife had a medical emergency, and all of you helped donate money towards her medical needs, until she could return to good health. You also helped their family get a more stable footing and their church is doing great.  

 

Since the war began in Feburary 2022, Zhenya has extended his ministry activities beyond the rehab center and a small church to a thriving outreach of distributing soup and bread to their community, as well as, buying firewood, heating units, having Christmas and summer programs for the kids, and faithfully serving a flock of new believers from his town within his church setting. Thank you for helping him so much!! Here is what pastor Zhenya would like to convey to you:

 




WE HAVE UNEXPECTEDLY BEGUN FEEDING MORE AND MORE PEOPLE

 

 

“Dear friends in America, thank you for allowing me to share about our ministry in Pokotilovka, a suburb of Kharkiv. Due to the recent attacks from the Russians, we are experiencing intense struggles at the moment: our electrical grid and power/energy sources are almost completely destroyed. There is very little electricity and when it is turned on, the voltage is very low. The water is very unstable too and all of us here in Kharkiv are in dire straits. My oldest son Vladeck had been studying at home for two years, but now with no energy, he can’t even complete/attend school online, which breaks our hearts. He began studying at home because the Russians targeted his school and destroyed it with a missile strike.

 

When we have our church service on Sundays (Light of Life Baptist Church), we use our generators and allow people to charge their phones, so they can stay in contact with one another and the outside world. When the church service ends, the people are in no hurry to leave, so they can pray with each other, encourage one another and be there for fellowship. We are thankful God is using us to help people come to the Lord, grow in him, and have found a place to feel accepted in a harsh war environment. I am the senior pastor and my wife works with women and children. It has been a joy seeing how my wife has served and grown her areas of ministry.

 

Our church is now three years old and Slavic Christian Ministries has been vital in its success and stability. We could not have made it without your help, so thank you very much!!! Over the past two and a half years, your ministry has helped us with food distribution and the people are so encouraged and thankful that we care for them. Many from the community are coming to learn, grow, and worship God, with some accepting Jesus as their Savior!

 

One of our new church families is a poor family who needed help. They originally came to us because they are poor and didn’t have the means to bury their loved one, so our church and Slavic Christian Ministries paid for their burial and my church assisted with the memorial service. We were able to show God’s love during their time of grief.




 

With your help, we are feeding about 150 people per week in the streets of our town. Before we give them food, we present the gospel to them with a small sermon. We have eight Bible studies throughout the week and we continue our rehab ministry, albeit, on a smaller scale since being kicked out of our rehab center by the military. Here is one testimony from our church:

 

     ‘Hello, my name is Alexander. When the war began, I was planning on taking my family and running away, but I decided that the church was so amazing that we stayed, so we could be spiritually encouraged, while also helping in any way possible. The church has grown exponentially and we don’t regret being with God’s people through this dark time in our history. We have helped so many people of all ages. Now we are praying for a kitchen, so we can feed people who are unable to feed themselves.’

 

Since you sent the money for the food kitchen, we have unexpectedly begun feeding more and more people, because many more refugees have flooded our town, after fleeing the villages and towns that are being destroyed by the new Russian offensive. Thank you for your huge help; please pray that they will respond to God’s word and give their lives to Jesus as we interact with them.”

 

 

Dear friends, pastor Zhenya is carrying a heavy load, so please keep him and his ministry in your prayers. With your help, we were able to send his ministry over $10,000 this past month, which included $5,600 for a new soup kitchen to help more people in his community. I had no idea they were praying for a new kitchen, but God heard their prayers and put it on my heart to help them, without any knowledge they were praying for this need. God surely loves this church! Let’s pray for all those who Zhenya is serving to see and hear God’s love for them.

 




Thank you for allowing us to support Life of Light Baptist Church. We may not have the resources to help millions, but we can make a difference for those in Zhenya’s town and a few other locations with our other ministry partners. You are helping keep people alive and giving them the ability to hear about Jesus. Thank you! I will be taking a small break during the month of June, but with the new Russian offensive, I may be sending updates periodically.

 

In Jesus’ love,

 

Ron

 

 

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