MB pastor Oleksii in Dnipro reports that summer camps, although dramatically restricted, are still going forward this year, ministering to children and families in crisis and sharing the hope of the Gospel. Camps will not take place in high-risk regions where churches are already doing extensive relief work with evacuation, humanitarian assistance, psychological and spiritual support. However, small teams from MB churches in the cities of Molochansk, Dnipro, Zaporizhzhya and elsewhere are being sent to western Ukraine to partner with churches that have a large number of refugees, children of those serving in the military, and local families. Right now, the first of three anticipated camps is taking place in the city of Novoyavorivsk (Lviv region). Another is shortly to take place in the Carpathian mountains and in the village of Lybohora (Lviv region).
Kateryna Oliferovska (daughter to Maxym and Anya of the New Hope Center in Zaporizhzhya) will be volunteering at a summer camp in the Khmelnistkiy region (unoccupied as yet). She writes, “It’s time to share about God’s mercy. I came to Germany in the middle of January, not knowing that I would stay here for six months instead of my planned month-and-a-half. One of the reasons I went to Germany was to take a break from my New Hope Center work with kids, and to find out what God wants from me. But children have been following me everywhere! I ended up doing almost the same work at the German elementary school as I did in Ukraine. During this time I have realized how much I want to help Ukrainian kids to have a life full of peace, hope and joy. I want to use my knowledge to restore the broken. When I heard about an opportunity to serve at summer camps, I didn’t have any doubts. Incredibly, God made a way for me!” Donations towards these summer camps can be made at www.multiply.net/project/ukrainian-mb-summer-camp-ministry.
In Lithuania, MB churches have continued to coordinate humanitarian aid trips to Ukraine. On the fifth trip, cash and food supplies were taken in three vans from Vilnius to the city of Lublin in Poland, to be used for Ukraine relief work. From there, the teams crossed into Ukraine and unloaded more supplies at a warehouse in the western Ukrainian province of Zakarpattia. While the flow of refugees being transported out of Ukraine and into Lithuania has slowed, a 17-year-old girl from Mariupol was brought across the Slovakian border. Lithuanian MB pastor Arturas Rulinskas and others express their thanks to all who are contributing to this cause, both financially and in prayer.
Ukrainian journalist Oleg Sheykevych writes of the recent attacks in Odessa: “Most people have the illusion that the tragedy of war is somewhere out there – and that it will not touch us. Until the awareness of the calamity comes with the calamity itself, and the missiles hit closer to home. The Illusion of safety is dangerous.” Pray for those who lost loved ones in this attack, and for those facing intensified battle in the Donbas as Russian troops push into the eastern city of Slovyansk.