An update from Matias Raziwiluk, director of Word of Life Ukraine:
Our missionary team is spread out in different countries across Europe. We are trusting God and His way during these hard moments for all of us. We are faced with multiple challenges as a team, apart from having to deal with the reality of war and all that it brings. But despite that, we want to remain faithful to our Lord Jesus and continue to bring glory to him, no matter what circumstances we are in.
Our team in the Czech Republic is doing an amazing job. They recently increased their hosting capacity to 70 people. All of the Ukrainians that God has brought to our Czech camp are not from a Christian background. God is providing great opportunities to share the love of Christ in a practical way. We are also working very closely with the local churches and following up with those Ukrainians that have moved on to permanent housing in other cities. The team is connecting them to local churches so that they can continue to have a gospel influence in their lives. Pray for our team in Czech, for wisdom as they interact with the Ukrainians, and for strength for the tasks ahead.
We have a smaller group of Ukrainian missionaries in Hungary. Some of them are assisting our dear staff member, Rita, who is pregnant and will have to wait in Hungary until the little baby is born. We are so thankful for the servants’ hearts of our staff ladies who are helping her. They are showing the love of Christ in a very bright way! Pray for Rita and her husband Dima, who is in Ukraine–that God would comfort them and allow Rita to carry the baby to term. Some of our team members are awaiting visas to move to other countries where they will be able to minister. Please pray for the visas to be issued and for God to grant them peace in their hearts and patience as they wait.
Our team in Romania has been busy as well. They have been able to build relationships with the Ukrainians staying with them and have been instruments of God’s grace during this hard time. Many Ukrainians have moved on to other countries, but they have left greatly impacted by God’s love. The staff of WOL Romania has been serving with incredible love, and they have done everything possible to help the Ukrainians to feel safe and taken care of. There have also been many church groups that have come to the WOL property to serve and show Christ to the displaced people.
One of our staff families is located in Italy. Tony and Albina Tyschenko were able to get to Italy for treatment for their little son Simeon. We praise God for allowing Simeon to get quality medical care in Italy for his damaged esophagus.
Evacuations From the East As the Battle Rages On
Over the past week, we have been able to conduct evacuation runs from the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine. Since the complete liberation of Northern Ukraine from the Russian occupation forces, the focus of the war has tilted toward this eastern region, which is why the Ukrainian government has called for an evacuation of civilians in the eastern part of the country. Our team–initially composed of nine cars–has been operating evacuation runs from various cities in the east and taking people towards the central city of Dnipro, where churches then helped them relocate further west. Our team was in Kramatorsk, where the Russians shot a missile into a crowd waiting for an evacuation train. They also made runs to evacuate people from towns just 20 kilometers from the line of fire. As our drivers would pray before each trip, they were able to share a message of hope in Jesus and point the evacuees to Christ. Here are some of the testimonies that we recorded from these precious passengers:
“I want to thank the volunteers that drove us to safety. They were very cheerful and brought much joy to us on the trip. I especially want to thank them for the message they gave us, that God is above everything and that there is no greater value in life other than Him. Not anything–not even our homes.”
“Thank you very much for taking care of us. You gave us the ticket to life”
57 days into this horrible war, we are praying for wisdom and understanding for the next steps in our ministry. We are potentially looking into opening our property near Kyiv to host internally displaced Ukrainians. This means that we need more staff to operate our property, and for this reason, we are regrouping our missionaries–and some of them will be returning from abroad to our camp property.
We are also praying and working on other ministry opportunities that have become very relevant during this time. Please pray for wisdom and clarity in taking the correct steps so that our ministry continues to spread the Gospel of Christ during these unprecedented times.
As our hearts continue to hurt and suffer from the devastation of the war, we grow confident in our Lord and believe that He is still in control and that He is still the same. So together with Him, we look forward with confidence. Thank you for being with us, with your prayers, and with your donations. We have been able to accomplish all this ministry with full confidence because of your support. There has not been a single opportunity we were unable to seize due to a lack of funds.
The body of Christ has come together, and I want to thank every single individual, group, church, or organization that has donated to the WOL Emergency Fund. You are allowing us to do this and we are deeply grateful.