Below is an update shared with us by Matias Radziwiluk, director of Word of Life Ukraine.
And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ (Matthew 25:40)
In Ukraine, every day of ministry looks a little different. As much as we like planning and understanding what our week is going to look like, under the conditions of war, you learn to plan day by day. Our team’s efforts in Chernihiv came to a halt, for the time being; the Russians are attacking the only exit from the city, which has limited all the relief efforts. Pray that it will be liberated soon; reports are coming in stating that approximately 200 civilians are dying every day due to bombings and artillery fire.
Thus far, we have been able to travel into the Sumy region and the liberated city of Tostyanets (and surrounding villages) three times. Our team was able to deliver supplies and share words of hope and comfort for these dear people who have suffered so much under Russian occupation. The Russians have completely destroyed their lives in a matter of days. Every day, our team drove six hours one way in order to reach this area and deliver physical aid and the Gospel of Jesus Christ to these precious people.
Over the last week, the Armed Forces of Ukraine have started a counter-offensive in the Kyiv, Chernihiv, and the Sumy region. This is an incredible demonstration of the resolve and professionalism of our army, and it is also an answer to prayer. As of April 2, the entire Kyiv region has been liberated from the Russians, as well as most of the Chernihiv and Sumy regions. This is encouraging news, but it has also uncovered the evil and destruction that the Russian army has caused as it occupied these territories for the past month.
As the Russians leave our land, they leave total disaster and horror behind: death, destruction, rape, mass graves, executions. It is too much to handle at times. Our hearts break at what we see and hear. God has given our team the opportunity to be one of the first groups going into villages and towns that were liberated; in some of these towns, we are escorted by the Army, since it’s very dangerous, as the Russians have mined everything as they retreated. Serhii Korobkin, who is coordinating the WOL efforts in Ukraine, shares: “We clearly see that our duty now is to be the first ones to respond to the needs of the poor people whose lives have been destroyed. This is the duty of the Church of Jesus at this moment, and we have to step up to this challenge and be the first ones these people see after being liberated”
As we bring supplies, our team members are able to talk and share with the civilians we are helping. This means hearing about terrible stories and situations these people have had to endure. In one of the villages, Serhii spoke to a lady–her name is Katya. Her daughter Viktorya was kidnapped and is still missing. Please pray for her.
Special Connections: The Body of Christ is United and Shining
Our team on the ground in Ukraine is constantly growing and changing. There is a reason for this–God is moving people and connecting them to do His work in this moment. Our team now consists of our missionaries, Bible Institute grads, pastors, and volunteers that are willing to do anything to let the banner of Jesus be raised high and clear. I cannot help but think that Jesus is looking at His Bride in Ukraine from Heaven right now and smiling. The Church in Ukraine is not perfect, and it is not better than any other Church anywhere else in the world. But, during this incredibly difficult time in Ukraine, we have seen how the Church of Jesus Christ has come together to share in the suffering of our nation and to provide the love and hope that only Jesus can give. God’s people have not remained indifferent and have not looked for comfort or safety. The church has stepped out of its way to receive displaced Ukrainians, to drive long hours across the country to take people to safety and deliver help to people. It has cooked food, gathered humanitarian aid, and has become a shelter of hope amidst so much despair.
One of our team members in Ukraine is a brother from Ireland who loves our Heavenly Father and has come to help in any way possible. This brother has had much experience in his life, including experience with similar situations to those that are taking place in Ukraine. He does not speak Ukrainian or Russian, but he has been driving our vans and helping our team deliver aid. When delivering help to Trostyanest the very first time, an army vehicle came to the church, desperately asking if there was anyone who knew first aid–three people had tripped on a mine in the nearby forest and had been severely injured. Our friend went with the military and was able to provide emergency help to these people until the ambulance arrived. He did not know the language, but he did have the skills to save lives at that moment. This is the beauty of the church working together and shining with the light and love of Jesus Christ.
Please, Continue to Pray
- Pray for strength, safety, and stamina for our team in Ukraine
- Pray for God’s continued provision to those in need
- Pray for wisdom in planning and decision making for all involved in these efforts
- Pray that God would comfort the Ukrainians who have been severely traumatized under Russian occupation