Update 20th October 2023

Youth group members walking around a room as part of a game durig a youth meeting

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Dear Friends,

Already another week has passed!!

This past week seems to have had more sirens than ever before. There have been big explosions, especially on Tuesday on the outskirts of Sumy citym which was reported in the news. When sirens sound, life stands still. Schools are still not open, banks close and all retail outlets must shut. So with sirens sounding more and more, it becomes difficult to plan and do anything.

Whilst this happens rules and regulations change weekly. Banks now limit the amount of cash you can draw out daily, which makes it hard to operate in Ukraine. Most people want $US Dollars, as these can be traded if they must leave the country. You can only draw out $2,000 a day, and that is if they remain open. With the problem with sirens sounding much of the day, banks are closed with long queues to get money out. When buying in bulk, all traders want Dollars, so life is getting tougher there.

Sumy hosts a large medical college and quite few members of the church are training there. New rules state that no medics can leave the country, and if sirens sound then they must carry on with studies as they are trying to rush training to have them working ASAP. Bohdan highlighted that many medical staff have been either killed or injured on the frontline helping people, so they need replacements.

Bohdan said that the schools have been shut for many days now, and children are frustrated with this. Half term has been moved to try and save money. Next week, the temperature is mild, whereas the first week of November it is forecast to be much colder. So, to save on heating, they are delaying half term for a week – not that they have been at school much anyway! This means that the Autumn camp has been delayed to the first week of November, but WILL go ahead. Please do pray for this week as we are expecting many children to come along. The bomb shelter refurbishment is going well, and having this extra week means that it will be finished in time for the camp week.

Please can you pray for Vlada. I mentioned her a few weeks back. As a young teenager, her father has been killed in the early stages of the war, and her mother has abandoned her to move to Europe, leaving her with her grandmother. She is experiencing deep depression, and in addition it appears a loss of memory also. Bohdan is going to see her grandmother this weekend to see if the team can help in any way. She had started to get better, but mental health is so unpredictable and they have witnessed her going downhill fast.

Something different for the youth...

Over last weekend Svitlana’s parents came to visit from the Donetsk region. They run a group of churches in the area and do much of the same things as us. They held a special meeting with the youth which saw many new people come. They young people really enjoyed this so Svitlana’s parents are planning to come back again before Christmas for a weekend.

Helping another centre...

Every day the team are reaching out to the poor and needy. This Tuesday, Bohdan invited in people for a meeting from the local “Inclusive Centre”. All have many types of disability. They had a great meeting, with food and were sent home with food packages.

More aid sourced...

In other good news, we have been able to find some aid through our partners with Mission Eurasia. There is a long drive to several western cities in Ukraine to get to their depots, but we will be able to get around 5 tons of aid per trip. The first runs to get this have been very kindly sponsored by Rotary District 1120 Kent & East Sussex and their international arm. We are extremely grateful to them.

Please do remember Bohdan, Alla and family and all the team in your prayers. There has been some illness and some issues to have to deal with caused largely by the war. Everyone is really not looking forward to a very hard winter season.

Next week there will not be an update due to travel both here in UK and in Ukraine. However, please keep an eye out for news of our Christmas campaign and activities. It is ambitious, but we all feel it is right to do! We will need your help along the way if it is to be successful. We plan to reach out to children in all the orphanages we know, plus those in the region's two hospitals, plus those that will attend the camp and other special events.

Thank you to all that continue to support and pray. It is so appreciated.

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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