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It is at Christmas we are being reminded of the phrases “peace on earth and goodwill to all mankind!”. When you then look through the lens of how Ukrainian people are living, they are praying constantly for peace and that there would be some goodwill, but the rhetoric that is being given says that Russia intends to upscale their efforts in the New Year – or perhaps sooner. For many, Christmas will be hard in so many ways, so please can you continue to pray for families that have been bereaved or are missing loved ones due to this war.
This past week in Lebedyn has witnessed days where there has been heavy shelling in the area and other days where it is more peaceful. Today (Thursday) Bohdan told me that yesterday there were many rockets they could see flying around but today there is peace, but still little power. Despite the ideal of having 4 hours of power and 4 without, most of this week has been 16 hours without power, heat or light. This makes it very hard to teach children and have any normality to life. People are getting tired of it and downhearted as you can well imagine.
As it is Christmas time this past weekend the team did some different things with the teenage young people. The young ladies met and had fun doing Christmas crafts and games, along with many other special seasonal things, and Bohdan with Valentine and Farmer Sergey took the young men to the local “bathhouse”. Apparently this is quite a thing to do and they loved it, discussing life and the effects of war. A bathhouse is like a roman steam/sauna room where the temperature got up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit!
Last weekend we heard that Misha, who is like our janitor/caretaker and looks after the security on site and the boiler room, had two strokes very close together. He is still in a bad way and there is not the medical support around to give him the best care. In the New Year they are hoping to transfer him to a rehabilitation centre. Please pray for him and his family. He has 5 children between 10-20 years of age.
Also last weekend, Bohdan and his family took a day out to visit Pastor Andrew who is in Samatoivka. They are very close to the Russian boarder and this village has received much bombing in recent months. The day they went there was no bombing and Bohdan was able to go and encourage them in the work they are doing, share within the church services and we have also been able to help them with some of the supplies we have been able to get. There was no power or light through the day as this situation is worse in this region. Pastor Andrew was immensely grateful. They work a lot with soldiers and their families and although some photos were taken we are not at liberty to share.
During the week aid continues to be given out, and, as the pictures above show, the team have been busy going out to buy presents and supplies for all the Christmas activities. With the number of sweets they have bought, the local dentist should be kept busy for a while!
So, as Christmas is upon us now, the team out in Lebedyn send their greetings by video. Please click on the image above and it will take you to a message on our website from them to you!
Can I take this opportunity to thank you for all your support, prayers, donations and love shown throughout what has now been 10 months of war. The messages of encouragement you have sent have been special. We are not sure what 2023 will bring, but we know that together we can make a difference.
When we see the amount of work the team have been able to achieve in this small city, extending out into the whole region, it has only been possible through your generosity and with your love, care and prayers. Early in the New Year we will be making an announcement regarding a special event at which we hope you will be able to join us so, watch this space!
On behalf of both the UK and Lebedyn team, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a peace filled New Year.
Founding Director of Hope Lebedyn