Update 22nd September 2023

Bohdan, Alla and family celebrating Harvest 2023 standing in front of boxes of fresh fruit and vegetables

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Dear Friends,

This week has been seen yet another increase in military activity within the region.

On Tuesday night the oil refinery within Sumy was targeted, causing extensive damage. For the first time within Lebedyn there was a bomb scare at the school Bohdan’s children attend. Sirens are sounding most of the day and although the children were supposed to start school at the end of August, they have not completed one full day because of bombs flying overhead and sirens sounding.

Bohdan became quite frustrated as living and working within this situation creates so much instant change and as a result it becomes very tiresome. However, they still plan, and below is a little of what has gone on and what they hope to happen in the coming days.

Last weekend, Harvest was celebrated, and you can see a wonderful picture of Bohdan, Alla and family below. The church was packed as not only food was received but much was given out.

In the lead up to this, extra bread was baked and food parcels were taken to those in need. There are many the team know about who are struggling to make ends meet, and over the weekend many came for help.

Bohdan heard of one such family and went to visit. Sadly, I cannot share photos of this story, but there are twin boys who, for a while now, have been attending summer camps and the many activities that the Centre has hosted. One of the boys is kind and caring but the other has become angry, depressive and a troublemaker. He tried stealing things even from the Centre. Bohdan sat down with him to find out his story. His father was called up to the army at the start of the war. For many months he fought in the south, and was on the frontline, right on the border with Russia; something that his papers said he was not trained to do. One day, a long battle was held and his father and colleagues ran out of ammunition, with his Commander leaving them alone. Fearing for their lives, they retreated and fled for safety. Unfortunately, the Ukraine authorities see this as desertion, so his father is facing a trial in the court over these next weeks. To make matters worse, he is not allowed to work whilst this process happens and they have not received any financial support from the government for many months. Bohdan said that literally every cupboard was bare. The team have taken food supplies to help them, and they are all very grateful. This is the story of just one family and how this terrible war is affecting day-to-day life. There are millions of others. The team will keep working with them and supporting in the best way they can.

The above story is not unique, and Bohdan is finding that the younger generations are showing more anger and bitterness to the war – there is a new angry generation emerging as they feel their lives have been lost. More is being reported in Ukraine with statistics showing the effects of the war. It is now estimated that 30,000 lives were lost in Mariupol alone. Kindergarten nursery’s have been closed for 2 years. These are just some of these effects.

Meanwhile, back in Lebedyn a busy week is planned. On Saturday, the children’s clubs start up again along with the youth clubs. Apparently, the list is long with those who want to attend, and families that want to come along as well. Bohdan will be running a joint youth event with several other youth clubs in the region over these next few weeks. Lyuba and Svitlana will be doing the children’s clubs and working with families on the Monday.

On Sunday, after all the church activities, the team plan to visit a village called Nedrigailiv where they have asked for help and support. Bohdan will assess the need there. Next week also sees the English classes start with Sashas and Alaya, and the usual other meetings and gatherings within the church will continue.

Please continue to pray especially for the work done with the teenagers. The more they gather the more hurt comes out and is shared. There are 2 teenagers who need prayers as they suffer with extreme depression and parental issues where views on the war differ. Many Bibles have been given out, and the Centre and its team work constantly to help those in need both physically and spiritually.

Long term we are still hoping to do an autumn camp, but we do not know yet whether this is possible due to half term potentially being cancelled as children have not been able to attend school properly.

We are also planning a big Christmas campaign where the puppet show will go to many places, as well as our own camps, and we hope to give gifts to the children. Last year people were so generous with their help we managed to reach around a third of all families in the town. This year we hope we can do more. We will keep you updated.

Thank you for your continued support and prayers.

Every blessing,

Peter Martin

Founding Director of Hope Lebedyn

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    From 17th - 24th February we are holding a week of prayer as we remember the 2nd anniversary of the war in Ukraine.
    To help you pray, we've created a PDF guide that contains some daily prayer points. 

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