Update 5th January 2024

The puppet theatre team stood and sat in front of the nativity scene at the Centre holding their puppets

Support the work of Hope Lebedyn:

If you would like to support us financially you can do so below. Remember, if you are a UK taxpayer, please confirm that you would like us to claim Gift Aid on your donation. This will add 25p to every £1 you give.

Dear Friends,

Many of you will have heard that over the Christmas/New Year season Russia escalated its war activities in Ukraine, and sadly this was felt in the Lebedyn/Sumy region. On Tuesday I received a text from Bohdan to say that over 100 missiles had been launched in attack, but thankfully most had been bought down by air defence systems. However, the explosions were heard all around and many were encamped in basement bomb shelters for safety.

Since I last wrote before Christmas much has happened, with the team working tirelessly to help others. Firstly, I must thank you so much for your ongoing prayers for the team and the work going on out in the Lebedyn area. They were much busier than I thought they would be. Christmas Day was cancelled by the government, and therefore, there were no days off for families to enjoy what we probably take for granted. Although the intention was to have some time off, the team decided that they too needed to keep supporting those around. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Christmas Eve saw a huge turn out to the church service with seven people becoming Christians through what went on. In the evening, they opened the church to all team, members and anyone to feast Christmas together. This went on until curfew.
  • Christmas Day had a traditional morning service which Pastor Sergey took, and Bohdan took Christmas out to many others. Sadly, his car got damaged quite seriously with all his family in it as they visited those in need. They took food and help to one lady they knew within the church, but sadly she died soon after Christmas with the funeral Friday last week. The car needs some major work done on it to get it back on the road. Previous hidden bomb damage to the road was to blame.
  • On Boxing Day, and for every day this week, special services, events and family times were held at the Centre, and then out at the hospitals and orphanages. Boxing Day had 200 people turn up to the first session, and then another 100 came to a second session in the afternoon. All were given bread. In the evening, all the teenagers gathered for fun, discussion and they wanted to pray for their nation. It was quite powerful, and many wept for their nation. Every child was given a Christmas present.
  • On the Wednesday, they held a special event for children who have a disability and have special needs in some way or form. They loved their present and the puppet theatre, as well as having fun together.
  • On the Thursday hospitals received the team well, and the children loved the puppet theatre. Every day the theatre put on shows for the children telling the Christmas story. Here is the team below…..
  • After a busy last week and weekend with the usual clubs going on, the Christmas Camp week started on January 2nd. This has not been that easy due to the level of military activity as described above. The first day saw less people than expected, but numbers have grown as the week progresses. I will update more on this next week.

Here are some more of the photos from last week.

Yesterday, as the team started the camp week off, Pastor Andrew and his family came over to visit Bohdan so his children could also attend the camp. The stories he told of the war in Samotoivka were, by all accounts, deeply distressing. This included how the local school was bombed just days ago, and it was 5 minutes after his daughter walked out of the building!

Schools, hospitals and churches are being bombed with regularity it would seem. Bohdan was able to get 600kg of humanitarian aid for him to take back and help people in the village. Ruslan, Pastor Andrew’s son is now presumed dead but it still difficult to prove this. Normally DNA tests are used, but because Ruslan was adopted at a young age this method cannot be used. Alla found the news disturbing as families are being torn apart

Bohdan with Pastor Andrew and their families sat around a table during a meal.

When I met with Bohdan yesterday afternoon, Farmer Sergey and Inna (who is back helping the team) shared more stories of how the war is affecting the team and region.

Victor, our site manager, received his call up papers at the age of 56! Pastor Sergey’s son Andrew also got called up, as did our previous site administrator, Sasha, who broke his back in an injury quite a few years ago. Bohdan was surprised that they would call him up, but they are desperate for more soldiers.

I promised Bohdan that those of us that pray will continue to do so, and especially for their safety as there is no doubt things are escalating again quite rapidly.

Aid has effectively run out and we are waiting for a delivery from a German charity this month that have promised to help. We hope that they will be able to get through to the Centre.

Thank you all for your kind wishes, donations and support over this Christmas period. The team are aware of them and thank you deeply for all your love and care. Bohdan said he was humbled by all your care and attention.

Let’s hope and pray that in 2024 peace will return to Ukraine once more.

Every blessing

Peter Martin

Founding Director of Hope Lebedyn

Stay in the loop

    Tick the box to agree to our Privacy Policy


    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.
    Fundraising Regulator
    Hope Lebedyn is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation, registered charity number 1201618.
    Fundraising Regulator
    Click to access the login or register cheese

    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. 

    linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram