Update 20th May 2024

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Dear Friends,

Last week was exceptionally difficult as some of you will have seen on the news. The borders of Sumy have been breached and many missiles, drones and bombs launched, but thankfully most shot down. Villages are being evacuated near the border as well as Sumy City itself, which Farmer Sergey told me is like a ghost town.

On Wednesday, I had a text to say that there was a massive explosion in Lebedyn, which rocked Bohdan’s house while Lubomir was playing outside. He left his bike and ran indoors very frightened and traumatised. Thankfully, he calmed down and slept well. The explosion was a drone meant for Lebedyn, but it was shot down which created the blast. Mezhirych, a small town where Musical Sergey still teaches one day a week and where the team have visited recently, was hit hard last week too.

After Bohdan told me these things he then added… despite all this all our activities still continue. They seem upbeat and not downhearted.

Power is an ongoing issue as power stations are targeted. Many hours of the day are spent without power, and this means banks, shops and schools cannot open. We are addressing this by trying to get hold of a small solar-powered generator which will power all the offices, and work for 2 days when fully charged.

The aid arrived as I explained last week, but sadly the quality of the clothes was not good which was disappointing. However, there were plenty of blankets, shoes and other items to be distributed. Bohdan has also been to visit the hospital to take the aid and furniture that was donated specifically for them (no pictures were allowed this time!). They were extremely grateful.

On Tuesday, a service was held and many came not knowing about the aid. You can see in the pictures above and below that people were desperate for help, and were indeed thankful for the aid they received.

Over the previous weekend, all the youth, teen and children’s clubs continued, except for the English classes due to Sasha and Alyona leaving Lebedyn. We wish them well on their journey and are grateful for the time they were with the Centre. Numbers are erratic due to the war situation, but still over the weekend collectively hundreds met together. The youth are an incredible bunch of people who just love to be at the Centre. Olegskiy, whose father died last week, is doing very well and remaining strong in his faith, and now his mother and brother attend the church with him.

Pastor Andrew is keeping well in Samotoivka, where things are quieter since the big bombs of a few weeks back. Most of the industrial infrastructure has been demolished, so there is not much else to be bombed except houses. Sadly, the 4 children Andrew and his wife took into their home, have been moved by the Authorities to the Carpathian Mountains region for a month to a camp, due to the situation being so bad within the region of Samotoivka generally speaking. They do not know what will happen after a month, but they are missing the children and hope to be reunited with them soon. Please pray for them.

All the laws around the war changed on May 18th which will affect conscription ages, exemptions and the ability to leave the country. We are not sure how this will impact the team in Lebedyn exactly but everyone who is fighting age must re-register their papers with authorities within 6 weeks. We don’t think this will influence Bohdan’s position, but it could some of the other workers. Lyuba is very concerned for her husband Costa. It has also meant that Paulo will not be joining the team as he stays further west hoping to avoid call up as his medial condition no longer gives exemption.

Another issue we are facing is that registered charities in Ukraine now face a government tax of $500 per month on each employed worker. Working for a charity gave exemption, so many people tried to work within this sector, however the government has become wise to this and by taxing employees is trying to stop people from evading fighting. This will be a huge burden on Ukrainian charities. The association we work through in Lebedyn is set up differently, so we are hopeful this won’t apply to them. Bohdan has requested that we pray for this especially, that they won’t come under this tax and for all the Ukrainian charities that will.

Despite the war, football is still a sport that seems to transcend cultures and difficulties, and children love to play whenever there is an opportunity. Ratmir, Bohdan’s eldest son, plays for a team in Lebedyn and seems to excel. He has been selected to play for Lebedyn youth in a tournament which was held in the Poltava region over the weekend.

If the situation deteriorates significantly, please assured that I will keep you informed.

We are continually encouraged by your ongoing support, financially and otherwise, and for your prayers. Over recent weeks we have had several anonymous gifts generously donated. Our grateful thanks for these, and sorry we can’t thank you in a more personal way. You can always email us at info@hopelebedyn.org and if you are a UK taxpayer, you can gift aid your donation.

Our thanks again.

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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