Update 1st December 2023

Luda at work in the bakery at the Centre

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Dear Friends,

Bad weather is hampering the work outside of the Mission Centre. They have had quite a bit of snow and lots of rain, which is then freezing the roads making for treacherous journeys.

But the team continue to serve...

At the Lebedyn school where Bohdan’s children attend (sirens permitting), they have had so much rain that the bomb shelter is flooded with over 30cm of water. The Director of the school has asked Bohdan and team for help, so they have put in a water pump to help drain water away. It will then freeze when pumped outside. It has been as cold as -12c, but Thursday was only -5c. It does mean that when sirens sound parents must collect children immediately as the bomb shelter is out of action. The school closed for two days this week alone!

Below is a picture of Zoryana that Bohdan shared, all wrapped up in the snow!

Zoryana wrapped up in thick clothes sat in a wicker chair in the snow

Bohdan explained that travelling in the region is getting dangerous for other reasons. Checkpoints are getting quite aggressive. In the past they would give a glance over papers and wave him through, but especially near Sumy city the past few times he has been quite forcefully interrogated, asking why is has not been called up – even though he has exemption papers. Many younger men, and even some of our team, are therefore fearful about going outside of the city limits for fear of instant “call-up”.

Despite this, Bohdan has been asked to take the team over and help in a school in the village of Hryntsevo (its where Inna taught part time when she was on team). This area has become very poor and there is much need for help, so they will visit with aid – sirens permitting. They visit today (Friday) or Monday. Also, on Tuesday, they are visiting people they know from the church in Okhtyrka taking food parcels with them. Aid continues to be hard to get hold of but thanks to the generosity of Hope Lebedyn supporters we hope to purchase some large quantities of basic food staples so this can be given out in January. It will take time to source the large quantities required.

This past week they have updated equipment for the bakery. The dough maker was not robust enough so a new one arrived yesterday so that many more loaves can be made for free distribution.

Getting ready for Christmas...

Christmas preparation is being made. The presents are being purchased and a plan of action is being created on how to best distribute them. The team will visit 2 hospitals, orphanages, and a school where possible and if deemed to dangerous due to the checkpoints, they have invited many children to the centre.

As yet, we still cannot find the correct minibus for use. The friend of Bohdan searching on our behalf has now been called up to fight, so we start again. This is getting frustrating for the team as there is nothing left in Lebedyn region of any quality to purchase.

Over these past few weeks there have been greater pastoral needs within the youth. Many of the youth that went away for a while have returned. Fear of conscription as they get older is growing. Broken families where children and youth are not able to live as one is taking its toll, emotionally, spiritually, and physically in many situations.

But, there are some really encouraging stories as well. Edward is a young man whose family has been broken by the war. He came along to the Centre to the Bible study and became a Christian. He now wants to study and work within the church, and Bohdan has a one-to-one session with him every Tuesday to encourage him. Edward is not the only one that is growing in his faith. However, too often there are stories the team are confronted with from the young people which are tragic and full of trauma. Life is so difficult for them as they struggle mentally with all they see and hear.

For your prayers Luda, who is the wife of “Musical Sergey” is quite ill in Sumy Hospital. She struggles with diabetes, and it appears that the insulin they are using is not of good enough quality. The hospital are trying to stabilise her sugars, but have found it hard to do so. Luda heads up the catering team at the Centre which means she is baking lots of bread and many meals when a camp is on. She is desperate to be fit and well to help with all the Christmas activities. You can see her hard at work in the picture above!

Please continue to pray for the team and all they are doing and our appeal fund is still open for those that want to still donate.

With a heavy winter, the sounds of war around them, and many sirens still sounding every day, it is tough for them all. We are so grateful to you for standing with us and for your ongoing support.

Every blessing

Peter Martin

Founding Director of Hope Lebedyn

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    Hope Lebedyn is part of the Essential Christian family
    Essential Christian, registered charity number 1126997, a company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales, number 06667924.
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    Hope Lebedyn is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation, registered charity number 1201618.
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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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