UPDATE FROM UKRAINE
Hello friends, Here is another short update on our life and ministry during this terrible time, and please see the attached pictures.
- My family is staying in Poland in Tychy - a town near Katowice. They are safe, but it's hard for them emotionally and they all want to go home to Lviv very much. We will see how things develop on May 9 (sacred date for russians) and if there won't be signs of further escalation and danger for Lviv, maybe I'll take them with me to Lviv at least for a couple of days.
- I continue to go back and forth between Poland and Ukraine. Last 2 weeks were super busy and I personally travelled around 2000km. (And BTW, the Sprinter van has already travelled over 10000 km since we got it, doing 2-3 trips per week delivering the supplies to the needy.))
First me and Halya were gathering supplies and buying food in Poland, then our good friends Yuriy & Natalia came with a Sprinter van and we loaded it up along with my car and we brought it all to Lviv. Part of it was for the needs of our shelters (still 50-60 people everynight in 2 of them) and the bigger part was to be sent to the East.
- We bought some more supplies in Lviv, loaded a convoy of 3 vans and went to Irpin and Bucha, 2 towns north-west of Kyiv, that were occupied by Russians and severely damaged. More than 500 innocent people were killed there....
- We partner with 2 local churches in Irpin who are very active in helping locals, they know more where the actual needs are so we brought supplies to them and they will distribute it more specifically to needy individuals.
I wrote about this before, but I'm seeing more and more how God is orchestrating everything, putting "puzzles" together, and His Body is working in unity around the world. Just in this trip - we had financial help from people like you to get all these supplies, practical help from friends in Poland, then our church in Lviv sorted this all and we brought it to 2 churches who now are distributing it to the needy in their area, and actually sending some of it still further to where there is more need! Beautiful picture of unity and global work of Jesus' church!
- It was also very impactful for me to see with my own eyes the damage and consequences of russian aggression... to see hundreds of buildings destroyed, hundreds of cars shot, burned, torn apart by russian guns and bombs... and so many lives lost in them...
The ugliness of sin, of human pride and aggression is still with us... this war is a grotesque form of it, but sadly the roots that caused it - is in all our hearts and this shows again again how much we need Jesus and the resurrection of heart that He gives. Also seeing all that, I can now pray with more understanding - Let Your Kingdom come, let Your Will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven... We desperately need it!
I'm in the process of writing another song based on this prayer. Also I try to grab windows of time between the trips to record that song that I shared before during the zoom call, and it's about 60%-70% done. Hoping to release it within next month.
- In Lviv we are continuing to serve the refugees, there are some who have been staying in our shelters for weeks now, as they can't find other places to live. Our team also did a number of activities with residents (master classes for women, crafts for kids) So this gives a good opportunity to build relationships and share Gospel with them more.
Our Sunday services have been packed lately, and many people can hear the Gospel. We also started a Bible study group with those who have more questions about God and the Bible. Please continue to pray for God's work in their hearts and that people would meet Jesus and come to follow Him through the ministry that we do.
Continue to pray for our team as well, they are faithfully doing their work.
Also please continue to pray for our family. For now we decided to postpone the trip to Canada with all the needs that are here and with a unique open window of opportunity to serve people in Lviv and Ukraine. Every decision we make is actually tentative and really depends on the situation with the war (as russians started talking even about using nuclear weapons), but for now we decided to stay and continue to serve, at least through the summer. If the war continues, the big decision of where to live would need to be made for the Fall and next school year for our girls. So please pray for God's guidance in all that, for His protection and for strength to do what He called us to do. Jesus said to not worry about tomorrow and that each day has enough of its worries, and that's the only way for us to live now.
And obviously keep praying for strength and protection for our soldiers, for this unjust war to end with Ukraine's victory and God's justice for the russian aggressor.