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In Lebedyn, the last week has been spent preparing for their Easter activities across this weekend. There has been more stability in military activity locally with less air raid sirens. In the north of the region and near the Russian border, there is still much activity with daily missiles being launched, much of it still focused on the infrastructure.
The Easter camp finished well and the children had an amazing time. Most of the children were younger than previous recent camps, and it was great to see them enjoying themselves. Around 80 children had fun, food and for most of them heard the Easter story for the first time. The photos in this update show all of these things and more.
The team have been quieter this week after a busy previous week and weekend. But now they plan a weekend full of activities to reach out to the community. Maunday Thursday (13th) was a day of prayer and fasting, with a special service for mums currently living on their own, as husbands and partners are fighting.
They have had more nappies delivered, so will give these out as well as any aid that is required. Good Friday saw church services in the morning, and in the evening a special Easter gathering for the teenagers. For Easter Saturday all the children of the town were invited to a special Easter event and they expected large numbers to attend. Easter Sunday again saw services in the morning, and a special evening event for the youth. All in all a busy time connecting with many hundreds of people. Loaves will be baked and given away, and aid given whereever it is needed and where it is available. Please pray for all that is going on and that air raid sirens do not hinder all that is planned.
Last week I mentioned that Alla was leaving. Today she is still on route to Germany having spent some time saying good bye to family in another region of Ukraine. We still need to find a replacement for her in her work, but not many are willing to move to Sumy as it is so close to the Russian border and deemed unsafe to travel there.
Bohdan reported that they have found 2 more orphanages operating close by in Shtepivka and Ulyanivka. They plan to visit them over these next few weeks to see what help is required and how many children are left in the orphangae. The orphange in Ulyanivka is going to be difficult to get to as the roads are treacherous and not all are passable. They will work out the best way to get there. They have also heard of a few other orphanages they used to visit are back up and running, but they are in the north of Sumy and Bohdan hss said that it is too dangerous to go there at present. Please pray for safety and wisdom for the team as they seek to help the children in this way.
The team are now planning for what they can do for the children and youth in the summer. So far, their plans are extensive and they will be doing more than ever before to help the young and vulnerable. We are now just costing out what this means, but the heritage of the past summer work has brought much success, and many of the team today are doing what they do having been in the same situation as those we will be reaching.
This week Bohdan has had several parents come to him who are unknown – one even knocking on his house door – to say a massive thank you for all they are doing with the teenagers and children.
The team wish you all a very Happy Easter (in Ukraine time), and once again thank you for your love and support through this terrible season of war.
Founding Director of Hope Lebedyn