Podil UBF News, Ukraine
Podil UBF Report (August 15-October 31, 2015)
“ Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:58
The key verse of this report came from daily bread. It was very fitting because our church is struggling with war in the country and helping students come to Jesus. We realized we must stand firm and let nothing move us. Always give ourselves fully to the work of the Lord because Jesus is with us and died to cover our sins. In our last report we asked for prayer for Natasha and Yulia who would be visiting the East of Ukraine where there is war and conflict. Yulia shared her report of that visit which I am including here.
I. My Visit to the East by Yulia Khmelovskaya.
Since the beginning of the Russian aggression and the occupation of Ukraine in the south (Crimea) and in the East (Lugansk and Donetsk region), I felt a great regret that I have never visited these lands in peace time. I heard a lot about how beautiful the Crimean Peninsula is and how clean and rich is the city of Donetsk. Unfortunately now that they are occupied it is impossible to visit.
Nevertheless through the resolve of the Ukrainian people 50% of Lugansk and Donetsk region are under Ukrainian control. Specially Slavyansk which is considered “the Spiritual capital of Donbass” because of the presence of several large Protestant churches. This city was liberated more than a year ago through much bloodshed. The church Good News in Slavansk launched the project “Mission School,” training Ukrainian volunteers to serve as pastors and church plant in front – line towns and villages.
One of my friend volunteered in a village of Myronivsky 8 miles from active fighting. When our church heard about the needs of the ministry in this village we decided to help not only by giving them a projector, Bibles and other materials but we decided to send our church members as well. My sister Natasha and I volunteered.
Aware of the real dangers of the trip I was tormented with nightmares, great anxiety and the fear of my parents in case if something happened to us. To help me overcome, my Bible teach M. Maria studied John 11:1-44 with me. She asked me to write the key verse John 11:25, one hundred times. “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies.’” Only after Bible study, I was able to calm down and gave to God all that might happen to me. I fasted during the trip as well as our church members. We had some difficulty going to the village because of lack of transportation. While waiting in Slavyansk many people told us not to go because of all the dangers. After talking with them I also didn’t want to leave but my sister insisted we must complete our mission. After praying one pastor came and gave us a ride to another village that also needed help.
On our car ride we saw destroyed houses, bullet holes and shell craters on the road. I was really scared and all the way I was firmly holding my sister’s hand praying unceasingly.
In this one village Natasha shared her life testimony. After the meeting we prayed with people and handed out humanitarian aide. Then we went to Myronivsky. In the evening I heard shelling and I hid behind my sister. However since the shelling was frequent, I got used to them. I also entrusted my life to God and my fears left me. We served Sunday Worship Service and we helped in “Sunday School.” The people were so grateful that we came to visit and care for them. That evening it was time to go back to Kyiv but I realized that I was needed there. I didn’t want to leave and everyone were amazed at my change in two days. I remained one more week to serve with the ministry while my sister went back to Kyiv.
Every day I served in a different ways: helped people receive humanitarian aid, visited homes of the most needy, prayed with them and brought them food, helped fill up the necessary documentations and often I cooked for staff and volunteers. The time passed for God’s glory. This trip has been very helpful and taught me a lot. I thank God for having preserved us throughout this trip, and taught me not to fear and to trust Him in everything. Praise Him forever!
Helping the people in the East of Ukraine is difficult because they are pro-Russian, and a lot of them betrayed Ukraine, therefore we have war now. But we love them and serve them because God's love can cover everything! And God told us to love our enemies. So we believe only this love can change Ukraine. Yulia went again there and served there for one more week in October. She has no fear any more and because of faith she can hear God's calling and can serve where God wants her to be. God blessed her and she was awarded a 10 days trip to Armenia for a Social Work conference which is what her masters is based on. Only two students from Ukraine attended this international conference.
We finished the book of Nehemiah. Then Shep. Mark from Odessa gave a message on Luke. He is praying to go to the Philippines as a missionary. Our sisters also visited Odessa and were mutually encouraged by our brothers and sisters there. They were also able to witness to their atheistic father.
We began our study of Galatians. We also started a new semester of English club. On the last days of September my mother had a heart attack and I went to visit her near Los Angeles. Our sisters in our church helped John continued our ministry in my absence. Please pray for our Galatians study and new students to grow in Christ. Pray for Annya to continually study the Bible. Also pray for our upcoming Kyiv conference on November 20-22, with our brothers and sisters in Kyiv UBF. The title of the conference will be “Jesus gives us life, life abundantly.” Pray that many students may accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior.