Update 25th November 2022

Children standing outside coach
Larissa and the children starting their journey

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Dear Friends,

The situation in the Sumy region is much the same. The end of the week and over the weekend witnessed much military activity with sirens going off more than usual, and then on Monday and Tuesday it was calm. However, on Wednesday afternoon things escalated once again. Last week even the centre struggled for power but normal service has been resumed these past few days. Sadly, the home situation has got worse and they have no power for up to 7 hours at a time which for Bohdan, having to heat a house and feed a family of 4 young children, is a mission in itself. Multiply this around the town and the nation, and it makes for very difficult conditions to have to live in.

Update on Larissa

I am delighted to say that Larisa and the children reached safety outside of Ukraine over the weekend. The picture above shows them setting off at a very early hour on Friday. The rest of the photos below are of some of their journey. There were 26 children at the orphanage. Every one of them had lost their parents due to the war. However, through some great detective work by Larisa and her team, 20 children were repatriated with other members of their families, whether aunts or uncles, or older siblings. This meant that the 6 that were left had no traceable family, and as such Larisa has taken them off to be with the other children in Austria. It breaks your heart to see children have to suffer like this and we all know it will have a huge impact on their life in the future. Thanks to money previously donated by you we were able to fund the trip and buy their bags for what belongings they had. She was so grateful.

Service attended by 180!

On Friday a service was held and aid distributed afterwards. Many of the 180 people that attended were there for the first time and a church service was all very new to them. They were pleased to be able to meet others and to receive aid and support.  The plan isto do this again next week with more people.

Witnessing to the police

The team have also started to support the local police. The police are now supporting local troops who are now forced to patrol around the clock outside the city in the fields and forests. Not only is food given but they have also received some of the Christian booklets and gospels of John we have.

Car with open boot distributing aid

Sasha returns to the team

There is more good news in that Sasha (the Sports coach) who left to start his business at the start of the war has returned and very much wants to be part of the work in the future. He had to make some tough decisions over his lifestyle, but realised that although he had more money he had lost his happiness and needed to get back to what he loved doing, with the people he also loved. With a humble heart and with a warm welcome home, Sasha will be helping with sports programmes going forward and will be part of the winter camp team.

The Bakery

The bakery is making slow progress as we have not been able to access electricians because they have been busy trying to get the town supply back up and running. The doors have been widened and equipment is now in and reparations being made. As soon as we can locate an electrician then this can now be finished and used to great effect.

For your prayers

Next week the team have organised a special meeting at the centre to help those with severe learning difficulties along with those who also suffer mental health issues. The local government have asked for their help and so they will hold services, have fun and games, feed them and show them their usual love, care and attention. We are also going to do something special with this group of people over Christmas. Watch this space!

Winter camps

We now have dates for the winter camps over Christmas. I will share more information nearer the time for your prayers as things could change. The first week will be for teenagers and the second week for younger children where presents will be given. Thank you to those that have donated towards the presents as we are already over 50% of the amount needed. If you're able to contribute, please click on one of the buttons at the top of this page.

Warm spaces

Throughout Ukraine new meeting points are being formed. I am not sure whether this is part of a government initiative but nevertheless it is proving to be a huge success. It is very similar to the warm spaces starting here in the UK. Out there they are called “Points of Invincibility”. These are spaces where you can drink coffee or tea and where there is light. The centre in Lebedyn has been appointed such a place so we will be able to meet with many people coming in off the street to help them with whatever needs they have.

And finally...

When I had my video meeting this week with Bohdan there was a reality check that they were all in a war situation. We were drawing our time to a close and the sirens went off. An alert came up on Bohdans phone saying he had to collect one of his children quickly from school (yes, they have just gone back to school this week). The school has no bomb shelter. At that point I saw a change of expression in his face, there was an urgency and attention to the detail only a concerned father could give. Before he ran off he said calmly, please could you pray with us before we go which I did. As we said our “amen’s” his son phoned him from the school to say he was ok but to come and get him ASAP! I have to say it was an emotional finish to see and witness it all. Through donations made early on in the war we were able to purchase a vehicle for Bohdan to use. He got to the school quickly and before many other parents who had no vehicular access and Bohdan being Bohdan filled his car with others as well to hurry them to safety.

This war is lived out day by day with no power, heat or light, shortage of food and the threat of bombs at any time. Across the nation this fear is held by many, so we must continue to pray for peace and an end to this unnecessary suffering.

Thank you for your continued support and help to this amazing team in Lebedyn. It is such an encouragement to them to know of your practical support and prayers.

Every blessing,

Peter Martin

Founding Director of Hope Lebedyn

Some of the team standing in the first snow of the year
Some of the team in the first snow of winter

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,

Greetings are sent from a very snowy and cold Lebedyn as you can see from the picture above!

This week has been very difficult due to the number of missiles coming over from Russia. Sumy itself has been battered and much of the light and power utilities have been greatly hit once again. Despite the local authorities wanting to help the work at the centre, there has still been power outages for long periods. However, the team have been able to do much work within the community.

The Military came and spoke at a meeting for older people about the dangers of war, what to look out for, and specialist advice on explosive devices. Whilst they were there, they were all given bread and had access to the clothes and other aid available.

Pictures below….

Today, there is a meeting with 150 people who have disability or special needs. It is these people that tend to suffer the most at time of war and feel very much alone, so the work being done is very important. As usual, all the youth and children’s clubs and activities will continue, and they will go ahead with or without power now that generators and batteries with floodlights can be used. The English classes are still being held as well.

More help for Larissa

You may have seen an update recently about Larisa needing help to get more children from the Sumy orphanage through where she is currently located in Austria. These funds have been provided and sent. We will be buying travel bags and helping with the costs of getting them to safety. Sumy, where this orphanage is, has been very badly hit in recent days and communication is hard to make happen, but, all being well, they start their journey today as far as we know!

Kitchen update

Unfortunately, the kitchen mentioned in previous updates has still not been completed yet as they have problems getting the equipment into the building. Next week they must make a new wider doorway to make this happen and put in a new phased electric system in. Hopefully, by the end of next week it will be up and running.

Christmas Plans

We are now starting plan our Christmas activities. As well as Christmas camps, the team want to do other activities for as many children as possible. They would also like to make up Christmas presents for the 350 children that are left in the area. We used to do this for around 5,000 with all the orphanages, but as these are closed and many families have fled, Bohdan estimates there will only be around 350 in the town. If the war situation allows, they also want to go into the villages at Christmas to see what they can do to help. The presents this year will cost more due to inflation but we think will cost around $10 per child meaning we need to fund $3,500 (£3,075) to cover all of this.

And finally...

Bohdan sends his greetings on behalf of all the team, and thanks you all for your kindness, prayers and support.

Thanks again for all your continued support and prayers!

Every blessing,

Peter Martin

Founding Director of Hope Lebedyn

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