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I had one of the most encouraging and helpful meetings yesterday morning with Bohdan, despite the intermittent internet signal and all they are going through. Their positivity and energy is simply amazing! He sends his greetings to all that are supporting and continuing to pray for the work and team.
This situation in Lebedyn is very different to here. Whilst we bask in very warm temperatures, out there it is still only 10 degrees, and the rain falls every day. The ground is wet under foot, but more concerning, summer fruit and vegetable crops are not doing well with the amount of wet around them. The past two days have been very quiet in the Lebedyn area with no sirens, but last weekend there was lots of activity. In Samotoivka, where Pastor Andrew is based, they have come under fire from small artillery every day. It is still our hope that in August the team will go out and run a summer camp week for him. The decision will not be made until the last minute, depending on what is happening with military activity. I will keep you updated.
The team are preparing the site ready for the new playground and planning all the summer camps as you can see from the photos.
Registration opened yesterday for the camps, and within two hours all weeks were full. The team keep some places free within this process so they can add newly orphaned children, those that have fled and come into the area, and those they might find in real need. Next week, registration starts for the teenager weeks, and we expect these to do the same, but perhaps fill even quicker. The children will be fed very well whilst at camp, so some parents are keen for their children to attend for that purpose alone.
On team news, Luba is still struggling through her pregnancy. Thankfully, she is now seven months pregnant. She needs an injection next week to help her and the baby due to the issues of the incompatability of her and her husband's blood. Bohdan said that this in the UK could be a simple procedure, but they are not skilled at doing this in Sumy!! Their own GP had the same problem, but sadly doctors did not do it right leaving the baby brain-damaged. All are pretty nervous and have asked for prayers at this time. Otherwise, team are doing well, and Svetlana has arrived and jumped straight into working with the team planning all the camp weeks.
The youth still come to the Centre every day as you can see from the pictures below. They stay late, enjoying the facilities, playing sports and doing bible study together. They eat the bread that has been baked, and help the team with a lot of the work, especially as they are in school summer holidays right now. At the Centre, the work continues day by day, to help where they can, with supplies to the disabled, and food to the hungry.
Our congratulations go to Valentine and “Farmer” Sergey who graduated this past weekend in Kyiv with a foundational degree in theology. This is the same course that will now be taught in Lebedyn from September. It is great to share in their joy at this time when so much around them is without hope.
There will be another update that comes out next week, which details some of the financial needs we have. Over the past 16 months I have have kept these updates simply to inform you with what is going on within the work at the Centre, in the region, and the effects of the war. This will stay the same. The prayer and general support given has been amazing but these updates are not about raising funds but encouraging you to keep supporting and praying for these brave and amazing people, who are doing such an amazing job in the midst of war and destruction. This is our first priority. We have been amazed by people’s generosity without having to ask, but there are needs that are coming up which the update will inform you about. There is no pressure to donate – your support is the greatest thing we could have at this time. We are only planning to do these updates three times a year so nobody gets bombarded with requests.
Thank you again for standing with us and we continue to pray for the team in their plans for what will be an immensely busy summer.
Founding Director of Hope Lebedyn