Update 20th January 2023

All the youth posing for a photo in the Centre
The youth gathered at the Centre this week

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Dear Friends,

This week I was able to have a long chat with Bohdan about the situation out there.

Locally, the situation is much about the same, with power being slightly more regular in its supply and sticking to their 4 hours on and 2 hours off with residential buildings. The children are struggling as each area of town has different times for their power outage, and this doesn’t connect with the school’s online programme. Education is fast becoming untenable with this situation.

At the Centre we still have power and the authorities have connected us to the main power site directly, so unless they get bombed, the Centre will have power all the time. Plus, we have been able to acquire 2 large generators which have the capacity to run both buildings – they have been donated through another charity working out of Greece. This has been a real answer to prayer. Bohdan is now going to talk with the local schools to see whether the Centre could be used for an after-school club, and run refreshments and help for parents at the same time. We could be fast overcome by demand and then have the same issues as the school, so we need wisdom on how to do this in the best way.

An increase in military activity...

In Lebedyn, troops numbers have been building again and many more are seen patrolling the area. This is in response to a build up of troops along the Russian border once again. Currently, there are over 2,000 troops based in the city which raises the risk to more military activity. They use Lebedyn as a hub for resting soldiers before sending them back out to the front line. One soldier known to the Centre had served on the frontline for 8 months without a break. He was told originally he could have 2 months off and then go back, but with the current situation they recalled him after just one week. Bohdan said he was exhausted.

New statistics have been released and it is being reported that:

  • Over 114,130 Russian soldiers have been killed. Many being left in fields where they have died in battle.
  • 500,000 new conscripts will be sought by spring for the Russian army.
  • It is strongly rumoured that is a spring offensive is being planned by Russia using 700,000 soldiers.
  • It is estimated that over 100,000 of these soldiers will be killed in the first 3 months of the offensive.
  • Today it was announced that Russia has bought 21 mobile crematoriums from China to cope with the loss of life from this new planned offensive.
  • In one prison in Russia, 270 prisoners were conscripted and only 30 are still alive due to their inexperience and lack of equipment.
  • Ukraine has had reported 7,031 civilian deaths of which 433 were children. This will not include things like the mass graves, and some places in the deep south where it is hard to quantify the level of loss.
  • Until January 10th 2023, over 17.4 million people have fled and officially registered at a border crossing. Many have returned back home but still there are many based in Europe.

All of this has been weighing heavy with the team. Conscription looks more and more likely for some of them, including “Farmer” Sergey as those studying are currently not conscripted. This is likely to change. Bohdan still has his military release papers so he will be safe from going to fight.

Bohdan has asked that we particularly pray for them as a family and the team and their families. Pray for peace and safety and that the work they do in the mission centre as it continues.

Activities at the Centre this week...

This week the team have been focussing on helping families that are struggling. Nappies have been given out daily to those parents needing them as there are so few in the shops locally. The children’s and youth work continue. At the top of the page and below are pictures taken this week of the young people, and those around the table have asked Bohdan for a weekly bible study group so they can understand more in their faith journey. Many of them have become Christians recently.

Youth gathered around a table during a Bible study session they have requested.

Aid continues to be needed...

The team have also helped many other people as word continues to spread about that we are doing. The family pictured below were given aid and support. They live in a village just outside Lebedyn and they simply have nothing. Other strangers came to the Centre to share about their situation, so they set out to see them to give food and supplies to help. They were overwhelmed and amazed that they could be helped in such a way.

Family who live just outside Lebedyn city receiving aid.

Lastly, I had a text from Bohdan in earlier in the week to say that one of his closest friends was killed down in Zaporizhzhia. He was called up to fight a while back and together they had run summer camps together as well as done other ministry work together in the Sumy region. It has been a tough week for them in so many ways and they constantly need our prayers.

Thank you for your kind gifts, prayers and messages of encouragement. They have been so appreciated and have been passed on.

Peter Martin

Founding Director of Hope Lebedyn

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    Hope Lebedyn is a Community Interest Organisation, registered charity number 1201618.
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