Update 20th January 2024

The team standing in front of the Centre building in the snow

From left to right: Sasha, Valentyn, Lyuba, Svitlana, Bohdan, Farmer Sergey
(missing are Pastor Sergey, Musical Sergey, Victor & Paulo)

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Dear Friends,

The situation this week remains largely the same. Missiles fly overhead at night, and sometimes through the day, but thankfully the area around the Centre remains untouched!

Bohdan said to me on Wednesday that he thought it a miracle. In Samotoivka it is a difficult situation. Andrew does not want to leave, but bombs land daily very close to where Pastor Andrew lives, so he has to think about safety of his family and the work of the church. They do so much to support the local people who are largely unable to flee and live in poverty. We are talking about whether he could base himself in the Centre in Lebedyn, and then he could have the help of the wider team. There is much to think and pray through with this.

Another reason for asking Pastor Andrew to come over is that the church has lost another of their leaders, Nicolai. Before the war Nicolai’s daughter married a Russian man and subsequently went over to live in Russia. The tensions they have been living under have been immense as something like this can destroy families. However, news came through that Nicolai’s granddaughter is seriously ill, and the parents need help in looking after their other children while the granddaughter is in hospital and might need to undergo a very serious operation. She currently is paralysed and needs specialist care. Therefore, Nicolai and his wife have packed their belongings and will journey to where his daughter lives in Russia. It is a very dangerous journey, and many might think he is becoming a traitor or deserter, but they are going to help loved family members. Their journey is complex, and for obvious reasons cannot be shared publicly but they need our prayers for a safe journey.

Last week, I shared for prayer that “Farmer Sergey” had been served his papers and along with Victor, who was undertaking a medical, they were expecting to have to go and fight. The good news is that neither of them, so far, have seen this happen. The rules are that if you are under 27 you are not allowed to go and fight on the frontline. Sergey is 24, and will be 25 in March. However, they can still call you up to train and to do other military work. The oldest age you can go and fight has been raised to 60 years, but again, it is more likely you will be given a driving job or similar rather than fighting on the frontline. Sergey was told to go away and report back in April with no further action and then they will assess his case again. Such good news for now! Victor passed his medical, but has not heard anything about what is happening, so remains working at the Centre. We keep praying for favour. Here they are again below.

Farmer Sergey and Peter with Sergey proudly pointing at the Arsenal crest on his shirt
Team member Victor

This week has been bitterly cold, with the coldest being around -23C to -25C!! And we think it has been cold in the UK! Despite this, the children and youth still come out to the various groups. Here are the youth that were out in these temperatures with it snowing as well. They just love being together. They also meet in homes for their Bible home groups and eagerly come to study. Bohdan has said his house is full on these nights as is Svitlana’s.

On a Saturday morning, the Centre is filled with classes. Although the schools might not be open, the two Sasha's lead different groups, one for English classes, and the other computer classes. Then, in the afternoon there are the children’s clubs.

Children playing in the hall at the Centre
Children sitting at desks with computers on whilst at Sasha's computer class

We have good news in that Paulo will be joining the team as from the spring, war permitting. Paulo has a medical disability with his knees which so far has prevented him having to be called up to fight. He is 27 years old, so now eligible so it depends on whether the rules around disability change or not.

The shortage of aid is something we are still trying to address. We still expect aid from Germany to arrive this month, and Paulo is in contact with them to try and hurry this along. Many people do not like travelling to the Sumy region now as they deem it unsafe, but hopefully more supplies can come through. We sent some more funds out to help buy some aid in the meantime to help those in need.

There have been several families that have arrived from areas badly affected by the war. One lady from the Donetsk region arrived at the Centre with her children on Tuesday asking for help. They have been given somewhere to stay in a village called Budilka on the outskirts of Lebedyn, but they have no beds or bedding, clothes or food. The Centre now has a store of bedding which those that go to the sewing groups make for times such as this. We still need to find mattresses , pillows etc. Others have reasonable accommodation but just no money or food. Bohdan said that they lived in terrible conditions. We can take bread as each week still hundreds of loaves are being baked. And we have managed to source other foods so as to help. Bohdan or one of the team is also going to Kyiv or Poltava to see if we can obtain some food items there in bulk. Nappies for 10kg+ children and adult incontinence pads are now desperately needed.

Bohdan sent me some pictures of some of the team in front of the centre building. You can see one at the top of this page, and one here.

The team standing in a line in front of some trees in the snow outside the Centre

Thank you for your ongoing prayer and support. It is so appreciated.

Every blessing

Peter Martin

Founding Director of Hope Lebedyn

P.S. please remember that we plan to hold a service of prayer on Saturday February 17th at 4.00pm at Victoria Baptist Church, Eastbourne . Bohdan will be speaking to share some of his thoughts through this service. His attendance is of course war permitting. Because the support base for Hope Lebedyn has widened to even be international, we are looking into having this gathering live streamed. If this is possible the stream will be by invitation only. If you would like to be part of the stream then please do let us know so we can register you. It would be great to see as many of you as possible in person if you are local or are prepared to travel to be with us. We also hope that this will start a week of prayer for all that is going on in Ukraine which will take us up to the anniversary date of 24th February. More details will follow.

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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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