Update 7th June 2024

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Dear Friends,

This past week has been tough as illness has been going around. Bohdan has had a throat infection and when we spoke, he could be in any bass line in a choir! He said he was improving and felt a little better today, which is good news.

Power outages and air raid sirens are still a daily occurrence, with residential properties losing more power than commercial buildings. Bohdan’s home has two hours with power, then four hours without. The town has been divided up into regions, and power supply given on rota for each area. The Centre still has power far more regularly which helps with the work they are doing. The good news is the solar generator has arrived and as previously mentioned, although it is small, it will power the office and work of the Centre for two days before another charge.

There is a definite military build up in the Lebedyn City, forming large defence lines. It is significant, but limited information can be shared, as we must remember that Lebedyn is only 70km to nearest point on the Russian border, and they are operating near to strong military activity.

Despite suffering with sore throats and viruses the team have been as active as ever. The new food and hygiene aid arrived (unloaded by the youth!) and has been so appreciated by locals and refugees. Additional meetings have taken place with huge success to distribute what has been received.

Many individuals have come to the Centre, all with their own stories to tell. Below left is Sergey who fled from Kharkiv this week. He worked at the factory that many will have seen on the BBC news was bombed. He was trapped under the rubble, and rescuers managed to miraculously pull him out with hardly any injuries. Others sadly did not have the same outcome. Originally, Sergey had lived in Lebedyn at the start of the war and had started to attend the meetings at the Centre. Previously, he had grown up in Kharviv and still had some family there, so he decided to go and help work in the factories to aid the war effort. After his recent experience, he returned to Lebedyn and came back to the service held on Tuesday. He came to give thanks to God because he understood that it was God who saved him from death and serious injury. The man in the next photo could not walk due to injuries, but the team were able to bless him with a wheelchair given in the recent batch of aid. There are some photos of a few others the team have helped. The white buckets are hygiene kits and contain everything needed including toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, deodorant and many other items.

Summer camps are being prepared, and on Monday registration started. Within the first two hours one camp was fully booked, and within four hours, as word spread, the other week was full. It was the quickest it has ever been. Each week will have 80 children registered, but they have left 20 places for new refugee children as they arrive in the town and for orphaned children. They did this last year and ended up with 120 children in one week!

The Centre could take more but there are two issues that prevent the team extending numbers. Firstly, they can only take the amount that can fit into the bomb shelter, and last year they did get 120 plus team in there! Also, they are having big problems finding helpers. Normally others from churches around the town, as well as people from the Centre help, but many have fled the area due to the danger of the war. All team need to be fully trained to work at the camp with safety protocols, safeguarding and other regulations. The youth camp week for the 12-15 years will have its registration open in two weeks’ time.

It costs around £35 to fund a child in a camp week, and we are so grateful to those who have donated so far to support this. We thank God for this opportunity to work with the children so that they can have fun, be cared for, and understand more of God’s love for them at this time.

All homegroups, youth groups and children’s clubs continue to run, although with the children’s clubs, numbers can be low if sirens are sounding. The youth however, would almost live at the Centre! They love gathering together. At the top of the page you can see a photo of Valentyn with his small group, who are also preparing for baptism. The girl on the right is Dasha, who is next to her cousin. Dasha is fragile after finding out last week her grandfather had been killed in the war, but doing very well considering. Her cousin has come to stay with her for four weeks to support and befriend. She normally lives in another town quite far away, but it is really helping Dasha.

Please continue to pray for Pastor Andrew in Samotoivka. Bohdan is concerned that his heath is deteriorating with blood sugar spikes, high blood pressure, and other symptoms of extreme stress. No wonder when your town keeps being bombed and you have a burned out tank at the end of your garden as a reminder!

Please also pray for Victor who is awaiting the verdict from the military commission on whether he will be call up to fight, and give thanks that “Farmer” Sergey has been accepted back into university to develop his farming skills. Growing food is important to the economy and for feeding the Ukrainian people, so this means that if he passes one more exam he will be enrolled and then able to study, and still help in the Centre and not be called up.

Once again we are thankful for all your help, support and prayers.

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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