Update 28th January 2024

Bohdan taking a selfie with the youth group seated in the background

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Dear Friends,

The intensity of the war continues within the region, and sadly the children have not been able to attend school this week. Sirens still sound daily. Over in Samotoivka where Pastor Andrew is, you can hear and see the bombs land, but in Lebedyn they are normally flying over to another destination hopefully for them to be shot down before damage gets done. Bohdan said to me it is only a matter of time before one lands in Lebedyn. Let’s pray not!

The team had an SOS from the soldiers based in Lebedyn. They had been helping in another city and when they came back they reported finding six families who were desperate for help – all had very small children. Nappies, baby milk and other supplies were given to the soldiers (along with some Bibles!) to take to the families concerned. They were so grateful, and now come and speak most days about how good it is to be able to help others. Once again these moments give favour to the team in Lebedyn with the military as the soldiers love what is being done through the work at the Centre.

There is still no news of Lena’s son’s body being repatriated for burial after all this time. She is hanging in there, but it is tough. We have also found out that Sasha’s cousin was fighting on the front line and went missing in action. Today, we heard that he had been taken captive by the Russian army and is being held prisoner. Please pray for his safe release.

News of the bakery, team and friends...

The bakery is becoming something of positive local gossip! Bohdan said that “their bread has fame now!” People have said it is the best tasting bread and cannot wait to sample it. The soldiers too are hearing about it, and have asked Bohdan what it is all about. As a result they are going to bake extra loaves, and invite the families of the soldiers in and bless them with some bread. He is even going to try and ask the area commander to come in! We wait and see what happens.

Lyuda oversees the work in the kitchen as she is head chef! She is also musical Sergey’s wife. Bohdan has said that she is suffering with ill health of quite a serious nature which means it now looks like that Lyuda will have to step down from the amazing work she does. Like here in the UK, to cook publicly there are health standards and certificates that need to be held to do this work. Those that help Lyuda do not, or cannot, do this so Bohdan is now looking at someone new to take on this voluntary role. Alla is a possibility as she is a qualified caterer, but with 4 young children and homeschooling we think it might be one step too many for her! We would value prayers for the replacement to be found as people are now relying on the bakery.

Last week, I reported that Nicolai, one of the church leaders had left to try and help his family in Russia. The route he took was very circuitous driving the whole breadth of Ukraine into Poland, then up to Belarus and into Russia. Thankfully, he has arrived safely. They do have a problem though, in that getting access to their finances is nearly impossible and any inter country banking permissions have ceased. He cannot use his card or even do internet banking within Russia. This means he will have to come back in the spring so please pray for them as a family, and that the operation his granddaughter hopes to have will be a success.

I also write with good news and thank you for your prayers as it looks like Victor will not have to go and fight. They have told him that for now, due to a past medical condition, he will not be called up. Bohdan said that he has also been informed that, for now, he will not be called up either, as he has four small children with one being an infant. He said it proves that Zoryana is a true blessing!

Groups of young people sitting on chairs in three groups at the Friday night youth group
Four teenage girls standing at the front of the youth group meeting whilst one drinks from a paper cup

Every Friday, the amount of youth turning up is growing. The photos on this page show a recent evening. This is even though many families are still leaving the area. This Friday they think that nearly 50 young people will arrive if there is no sirens. They also have had to grow the bible study homegroups as many come out on the Tuesday evening to these as well. This weekend will still see all the activities happening as usual.

I mentioned before that the winter/Christmas camp was a huge success. Bohdan’s has written a spiritual report, which should encourage those of you that have supported at this time.

You can view the report here.

The presents that were given at the orphanages, hospitals and throughout the season at all the special events were so well received. The team are now planning for an Easter camp week!

Thank you once again for your ongoing support and prayers.

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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    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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