Weekly Update for 4.18.22
Dear Friends and Partners,
I hope you had a good weekend and a Happy Easter; it is good to remember our risen Savior, Jesus Christ!
It was another hard week in Kharkiv. There was a direct hit on a food market, that is a few hundred yards from my wife’s mother’s home (they left Kharkiv a month ago) and Good News Church, one of our partnering churches. It destroyed the market and blew out all of the windows of the church. Some days the shelling is very intense and other days it seems a bit lighter. You can hear how difficult it is in some of our partner’s voices. We offered to pay for the church windows, but the pastor said, “What is the point; we are in war and it may not be around tomorrow. You can help us with the windows after the war. Until then, we will just board the holes up with plywood.”
In the past week, the newspaper, Kviy Independent reported that within Kharkiv, 59 civilians were killed, including a teenager, 7 year old, and 7 month old child. An additional 109 people were injured. It didn’t make headlines, but the Russians bombed an area of evacuation buses, which killed and injured some civilians.
I am hearing similar themes this week from our partners – a lack of medicine and vehicles needing desperate repair. If you want to make a donation to this specific item, please place on your check or online donation, “Vehicles and Medicine.”
We are getting reports just now (4/28/22) that there is heavy fighting in Eastern Ukraine – perhaps the Russian big offensive in the east has begun (time will tell). We are getting continuous reports that there is heavy fighting in Donbass. One person (within a Christian Ukrainian prayer group we follow and trust from one of our partnering churches) posted that “Donbass is currently a living hell with the fighting.” Another person posted, “The Russians are trying to break through to the Slavansk area by sending everything they have against the Ukrainian military (about 2.5 hours south of Kharkiv). They are getting updates that there is massive shelling all over. Please pray!
All of our ministry partners are working around the clock. They are weary, but thankful for all you are doing in prayer and giving. I can tell it is from the heart, because they keep saying it over and over again, when we tell them “you don’t have to keep thanking us; we are in this with you!” Here are their updates, they are ministering in the face of danger every day:
· Good News Church of Kharkiv: It was a hard week for this church. As I mentioned above, a huge missile hit near their church and destroyed their windows, but the building is still intact. Nevertheless, they are continuing to feed no less than 2,000 people per week, including people in villages, as well as, the orphans, senior citizens, and military. We asked if we could help them with helping feed the orphans, and the latest update is that the “new orphans from the war,” have declined from 70 to 35 new orphans. We don’t know if extended family took some of the children or if they were moved to western Ukraine or another country, but the church is able to care for them with the support we are already giving them;
· Holy Trinity Church of Kharkiv: They continue to provide food and medicine to 10,000 people every week, including average citizens, military, and the police. They have also helped around 5,000 evacuate the city of Kharkiv. Our main partner, Peter, has recently gone to Germany to find medicine that they cannot get in Ukraine. He is the pastor whose car was hit by shrapnel and his home destroyed by a missile three or four weeks ago. They are getting desperate for medicine in our area. I thought they were getting assistance from Red Cross or UN by now, but apparently, the only funding they are getting is from the Christian community, like ours;
Living Hope Baptist Church of Kharkiv: They continue to help feed people, but they are also now stepping up and feeding villages and towns that were liberated from the Russians and are now back in Ukrainian control. They also evacuated 50 people who wanted to leave their villages and go to western Ukraine. They fed over 800 people last week in the locations of Dergachev and Zolochiv. Pastor Sergey is telling me that they desperately need medicine, like drugs for hypertension and cardiovascular drugs. They also need vehicle repairs due to how hazardous the road are these days. There is also a huge need for volunteer drivers, because there are few vehicles remaining and they continue to break down because of the condition of the roads from the war. Living Hope Baptist is going deep into a war zone area to begin evacuating people tomorrow, so they are asking for extra prayers for safety – I am purposely not naming the area for security reasons, but it is a very dangerous area;
· New Life Church of Kharkiv: They continue to help feed and help transport refugees away from Kharkiv and Chuguev, a town 20 miles south of Kharkiv. Since the beginning of the war, they have helped transport over 2,600 people to safety – mostly military families, whose husbands are fighting the Russians (Chuguev is a military town). Most people go to Poltava (a city 1.5 hours north of Kharkiv), but some travel to western Ukraine. New Life Church has also distributed over 60 tons of food, and medicine since February 24th. He has about 30 volunteer drivers, but most of his church has moved to western Ukraine for safety. He is still holding services online because most people still need spiritual encouragement. Please continue to pray for the safety of all his drivers. The vans need desperate repair;
· Pentecostal Union: They continue to deliver food to many people across Kharkiv and surrounding villages. I am proud how they are continuing to proclaim the Word of God before distributing the food supplies – I didn’t get an update this week, but see lots of food distribution online via videos. They are doing a good job of proclaiming the Good News. Before they distribute the food and biblical literature, they give a sermon that everyone hears before receiving the food packets;
· Baptist Rehab Facility: The rehab facility where we have been working for years continues to function. They are not only taking care of some of their patients, but have opened up their facility to refugee families. They are taking care of many people. Since the beginning of the war, they have distributed over 20,000 loaves of bread, 10,000 food packets, and they feed 60 people at their rehab facility every Sunday. They need more supplies, so we are trying to get them more flour and oil from Poland so they can continue their bread-making;
· Romanian Partners: There is no new update this week, but I am happy to report that we are continuing to help support refugees through this ministry that includes 25 Ukrainian orphans that were transported to our ministry partners in Romania. You can pray for our friend Chris, who is the president of Reaching Romania as he makes many hard and difficult decisions on how to help the flood of refugees;
· Donations & Fundraising: God continues to provide for us; thank you for sacrificially giving! The needs are huge and ongoing, so thank you! This week, I am asking for help to repair all of their vehicles. If I can raise an extra $10,000 for Ukraine this week, it will go for vehicle repairs and medicine. If so, please put on your check or online donation – “Vehicles and medicine.”
I begin preaching every Sunday at a different church for the next 7 to 8 weeks, raising awareness to the situation in Ukraine. I hope it continues beyond the next 8 weeks. If you want me to be a guest preacher at your church, please contact me;
· Federal & Colorado Government: The State of Colorado reported this week, “In the near term, it does not seem as though many Ukrainians displaced by this conflict will arrive via the traditional US Refugee Admissions Program. Ukrainians are anticipated to arrive under Humanitarian Parole, with student visas, employment visas, and via family-based visas.”
· US Partners: Medi-Share, a Christian medical bill sharing ministry is helping us with volunteers with administration needs. In the future, Medi-Share is also planning on helping us with membership advocacy, which we are very thankful for, because it will also help us raise awareness beyond Colorado and our current base of partners, like you. Another different ministry, is praying about helping us send 700 Bibles to Romania and 30,000 copies of the book of John to deliver with our food packets to those in Kharkiv.
How Can you help?
Please continue to pray, as well as, help us save the Ukrainian people by becoming a regular/recurring donor. If you are willing to become a regular or recurring donor, please go to our website below. And please, advocate to your church on our behalf. See if you can set up a meeting for me to speak to your pastor or mission leader. I would love to connect with your church and see how your church may be partner with our ministry.
Thank you for all of your prayers and donations. You are making a difference and we thank God for you!
In Jesus love,