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This week marks the first anniversary of this terrible war between Russia and Ukraine. As a result, I have been able to have plenty of contact with Bohdan as we plan to mark this occasion locally here in Eastbourne on Saturday 25th February at 4.00pm, for a 4.30pm start, at Victoria Baptist Church with a service of prayer and worship. As we reflected we have been astonished by the amount of answered prayers, the amount of help given and the number of lives that have been impacted. The recorded interviews made for the service (in case we cannot do them live) have been done with Bohdan, and will be shown in the future. The service will also be recorded and we can send a link for those interested. Please email for this.
There has been a lot of military activity in Kharkiv area which brings more displaced people into Lebedyn. The flight path for missiles going to Kharkiv appears to come over Lebedyn, and several have been destroyed in the air above the city. It is quite frightening for the children. Otherwise, it has been a reasonably quiet week, with power on more than off. Nobody knows what to expect on the anniversary day and the weekend, but Bohdan has been informed that there are an estimated 10,000 troops encamped along the border of Sumy. Lebedyn now has between 2-2,500 troops based within it so there is expectation of hard times ahead.
Since my last report, and having the uncertainty of the above situation, the team have tried to reach out as much as possible to the vulnerable, disabled and displaced. Most of these people cannot get out of home to even get supplies and have very little income to buy anything.
As they drove around the villages, not much has been done to repair buildings and infrastructure. There are people living in abject poverty with no local shops open. As shown below, they were given the iCare food boxes donated through Mission Eurasia to help us in the region. These boxes give enough food for a family of four for 7 days. We are grateful for our partnership with them.
Aid is still being distributed, although stocks are getting low. The usual meetings have been taking place with extra gatherings happening to distribute more seeds to families, ready to plant and harvest later in the year. The teenagers still come to meet and the number grows week on week. Just this past week, Sophia, whohad been coming with her friend sporadically, really met with God for the first time, and it was an amazing meeting by all accounts. She now wants to be baptised along with the growing list of others.
We have been mentioning about the bakery for a while and I am pleased to say that all the work has been finished and it is ready for use. The team that bakes are learning how to use the new ovens, and loads of flour has been ordered and delivered ready to start baking and giving bread out to those in need. Apparently the smell is lovely through the building!!
As this is the one-year anniversary, I want to take this opportunity to thank those that receive these updates and have been standing with us in prayer and have been so generous with your donations throughout. This now goes out wide and far so thank you for spreading the word.
We have found out that we are probably the only charity that is working within the Sumy region, so we are really making a difference into the heartbeat of the community. God has been good and gracious, and Bohdan said in one of his messages he recorded that we must rejoice always. We are thankful for their safety and protection, and that their buildings and activities can still happen when so much has been closed.
Keep praying and keep supporting and spreading news about the work and thank you once again!
Founding Director of Hope Lebedyn