Update 14th December 2023

People queuing in the Centre to collect bread baked in the bakery with is piled on tables.

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Dear Friends,

This week has been another busy week within the Centre.

Many of you might have seen that in Tuesday’s news the main Kyiv Star mobile communications network was bombed, causing the network to go down throughout the whole country. This is the biggest mobile communications network in Ukraine, so the impact has been immense. Ukraine uses this network as their main communication for air raid warning systems. This caused panic on Tuesday and into Wednesday, as many people thought Russia was invading again in the Sumy region because it was down. Schools also use this network, so it has been difficult to communicate with local schools if sirens sound. It is also the mechanism they use for online teaching, so this has seriously hampered schools once again. Bohdan has asked for us to pray that communications will be up quickly and ready for use.

There has been reliable information given that over the Christmas period, Sumy and the entire eastern border with Russia, will come under renewed attack with the intent of crossing borders. This is now creating fear in local communities within the region.

Help for those outside Lebedyn...

Meanwhile the work goes on. There have been many people coming from a village called Horky about 10km away for help. There is very little in the shops there, but the Mayor knows of the work done in the Centre, and has suggested they come to try and get some help. The team have been able to help all that have arrived thus far. There has also been a plea for help from the elderly. They told stories of how their children have been killed or are missing in action in this conflict with Russia, and they depended on them for help. Bohdan has promised to see what can be done. The Mayor runs the town but lives next door to Bohdan, and has 3 daughters. They joke that he has 3 sons, so perhaps this is a good thing!! His daughters came to the camp this summer and enjoyed themselves, and now come on occasions to the Centre to mix with the other children and youth. This is why he felt he could ask Bohdan and the team for their help.

Small gestures go a long way...

In previous updates, I have mentioned twins called Nikita and Roman. Their story is a heartbreaking and they live in significant poverty within Lebedyn. They have been intermittent in coming to the Centre or youth homegroup over recent months, but in the past few weeks they have been attending every week. Roman is very angry as he does not know where his father is. Both struggle with the emotions and trauma of the war. This week, they both arrived at the homegroup, keen to study and engage. They had an amazing time. However, Bohdan could not help but notice that Nikita had very old boots on which had holes in, and were clearly not his size. He believes that they had been previously owned by his grandfather. Bohdan asked him about this and he was embarrassed, but the family simply did not have enough money to buy new shoes. The next morning Bohdan went out and found out his shoe size, and bought a lovely pair of trainers. He was so excited, and has not stopped thanking Bohdan in his texts. Normally he would be angry and ranting, but today his heart is full of joy and love because someone dared to care. It shows that there is still much work to be done.

A successful youth conference trip...

As mentioned last week, on Saturday the team went to Poltava for a youth conference. The travel on the roads has got much worse since Bohdan made the last trip to that region, but thankfully they left plenty of time to arrive on schedule. They met with around 100 other workers, and were able to share notes and ideas of what is good to do with the young people they meet with. It was a fruitful and good time.

This week, production of bread is still growing, and they have also added other things such as muffins and other sweet things as treats for Christmas. These are all given out at the end of services and activities held. Hundreds come along for help.

Below is a picture of Sasha. He is a young man in whom the team have invested heavily with in training and encouragement over recent years. Last Sunday he spoke and gave the sermon at the church for the first time, which went down well. These things encourage the team in what they are doing, seeing many progress in their faith journey and to be active within the church.

Sasha standing at a lecturn in the church

Christmas prayer request...

Next week’s update will be the last over Christmas, as I plan to take some time off with the family and the office here in the UK is closed. However, the update will be longer than normal as it will include a review, some photos, and some very special greetings! Bohdan has asked though that we please pray for the plans for all the Christmas activities as there are so many things they want to do. The main hospitals in the region will be visited where hopefully the puppet theatre will perform, and presents will be given out, there will be a week’s camp, special family days especially for the younger children, puppet and theatre shows for all, special services and lots of bread and aid given as well. Please pray for the preparations and plans, and that they are kept safe as they start some of the visits soon.

Thank you for all your support, prayers and encouragement. The level of donations received over recent weeks has been so encouraging for the team, and the ongoing work which they will do in hugely difficult circumstances with the people in the Sumy region.

Every blessing,

Peter Martin

Founding Director of Hope Lebedyn

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    Essential Christian, registered charity number 1126997, a company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales, number 06667924.
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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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