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The last two days have been calmer after heavy fighting in the area. The Sumy region even made the BBC news due to the level of military activity going on and the number soldiers encamped along the border. Lebedyn itself was not affected, but the Samotoivka where Pastor Andrew is base, was hit hard. Many people are leaving the area as they do not feel safe.
Power outages have happened again and these were forecast to happen greatly through the winter. It looks like these have started already, making people uneasy of facing another tough winter ahead. Conscription is now including people up to the age of 65, and those with medical exemption are now having that ignored. At present Ukraine is not sending people to the front line under the age of 25 but this of course could change as they defend their nation. They are calling up people at the age of 21 so as to train them ready for war.
The team are doing great. Lyuba is back at work and all have been busy. Today was bakery day, and many loaves of bread given out. There is often a big queue for this! Over a hundred families have been visited who have needed help and aid.
Each week we are now running special services for young families where we can help distribute nappies and other things for young children (when available). It has been so appreciated. Families have also been keen to take a copy of the wonderful Jesus Story Book Bible, which they say their children love to read. See pictures below….
The team have been visiting and helping with the local hospital. Some of you might recall we helped to create a room for children (pictured at the top of this page), and they want us now to do more to help them by going in more regularly with the puppet theatre.
We are now in contact with a Germany charity over whether we can get some more aid from them. They have been very generous over the course of the war and we are hoping and praying that more will be able to be given. Our old children’s worker, Inna, is helping us with this charity and might be able to visit Germany to select what aid can be given if agreed. Inna herself is struggling as her best friend was killed in a road traffic accident. Inna was supposed to be travelling in the car with her, but at the last moment pulled out. You can imagine what she is going through.
This next week we will also be going to Okhtyrka to help distribute aid. There are many families suffering as this town was severely bombed at the start of the war and has still not been repaired.
Tonight, Bohdan is meeting with the Bible School Director to establish the start of the new term. The Bible School has been closed since the start of the war so it will be good to get it up and running again. They are also waiting for a local inspector to visit, as I mentioned in last week's update, to establish whether we can still hold children’s clubs at the Centre, and whether the bomb shelter is sufficient. He had to cancel their last meeting, so we hope and pray that this happens soon ready for preparation for the new season ahead.
Lastly, Bohdan has asked specifically that we pray for a young lady called Vlada. She is just 15 years of age. At the start of the war she and her mother fled the country for safety but after a while Vlada became very homesick. She heard that family and friends had died or were badly hurt in the war and wanted to return to Lebedyn. With her mother they returned, but it is evident that she is traumatised and suffering with depression as a result. She has come to the church and Centre looking for help as her mother is about to leave to go back to another country where she will be safe. Vlada cannot face leaving so is staying behind and will live with her Grandmother. This is just one story of families being separated by this war.
Once again, we thank you for all your support and prayers. The team out in Lebedyn are extremely grateful.
Founding Director of Hope Lebedyn