Greetings! The people of Ukraine are exhausted from the ongoing conflict. A young pastor expressed his heartfelt reflections: “In my country at this time, we live from tragedy to tragedy, but we hope one day we’ll live from tragedy to victory. We’re begging God every day for this war to be over.”
Where there is tragedy, there is also an opportunity for God to show His love and bring comfort and healing to those who are hurting. Another pastor excitedly declared, “The evangelical Church in Ukraine is in a very, very unique position right now. Everyone thinks highly of us. People are open to us. They are in our churches. They are in our worship services. They are eager to listen to the Gospel because their lives have no hope, purpose, or future. And when they come to us, that’s what we, as His followers, can give them.”
Through the collective prayers and financial support of HART’s community, our partner churches throughout Ukraine are working tirelessly to address their beleaguered country’s physical and spiritual needs. They provide shelter, meals, generators, medicines, hygiene products, and firewood, and financial, spiritual, and emotional assistance to refugees fleeing to the West and those who remain.
These churches and their dedicated, selfless pastors and volunteers are shining beacons of hope throughout Ukraine. The message they convey to us is, “Do not tire of praying for Ukraine – it is the most powerful weapon at your disposal. Through the spiritual weapon of prayer, we will prevail against and overcome the evil one.”
HART SUPPORT FOR PASTORS
Despite many pastors choosing to leave Ukraine, most opted to remain in their war-torn country to continue serving their communities. After a year of warfare, what is the current state of their emotional and physical well-being and that of their spouses?
Undoubtedly, the situation has taken a toll on them. Regular communication with our partner churches and pastors has taught us that many feel overwhelmingly exhausted. We know this to be true because we can see it in their eyes. They are burdened with the added responsibility of helping people cope with the war and yet cannot or do not take time off to rest themselves.
One way that HART has responded to this need is by arranging retreats lasting two-three days for pastors and their wives, allowing them to take a break and recharge their physical and spiritual batteries. Our new objective will be to coordinate retreats for larger groups of 15-20 pastors and their wives. Although it may not appear to be an essential ministry, these retreats hold immense value to them. With refreshed spirits, they can return to their churches with renewed energy and vision.
Thanks to your support, we will make these retreats a reality for many dedicated, heroic, deserving pastors and their wives.
Heartfelt thanks to YOU!
Chaplains serving at the front lines
By Andriy Kornichuk, Grace Baptist, Rivne, Ukraine
A couple of weeks ago, a group of pastors from Rivne and I spent a week on the front lines near the town of Bakhmut, where some of the deadliest and fiercest fighting of this war is raging right now.
Broken lives and destruction
The first thing that strikes you when you approach the combat zone are the fortifications, lots of military equipment, and heavily armed soldiers. We were allowed to pass through the checkpoints without any obstacles, as we had special passes.
As we got closer to our destination, our eyes were opened to the sheer amount of brokenness and destruction all around us. The Russian troops have brought so much misery to our land. We found ourselves in a town 5-7 km from the front lines. It hasn’t a single surviving house. Absolutely everything is destroyed. The Russian strategy is to raze everything to the ground. Broken infrastructure, shot civilian vehicles, burned military equipment, and broken lives.
It was on the outskirts of this town where we helped medics save the lives of wounded soldiers.
The high price of freedom
We helped out at an emergency medical station in what was left of a hospital. The windows on the ground floor are covered with plywood in several layers, as there are no surviving windows due to the shelling and explosions.
The wounded are brought here from the front line in armored vehicles. On one day, there were more than 60 of them; on other days, there were more than this. Many of them are shell-shocked, and all have shrapnel, mine, or bullet wounds. Here they are treated, the bleeding is stopped, and they are quickly sent to hospitals where they can receive long-term qualified care!
I spent most of my time with the doctors in the operating room, bringing the wounded there, cutting off their clothes, helping to treat their wounds, and turning them over.
One warrior was brought in, and as we were carrying him on a stretcher from the car, he kept saying, “Breathe…I can’t breathe.” He had severe wounds to his arm and chest. We immediately started giving him medical care to save his life. After trying to bring him back to life for more than twenty minutes, performing heart massage, the doctor stopped us and said, “I declare him dead.”
Everyone went out, but I stayed with him for a while. I closed his eyes, thanked him for giving his life for us, and prayed for his family, who would not see their father and husband again. He had a medallion around his neck given to him by his wife, with the words of a prayer engraved on it, “God, I pray that You will take away bad luck from him and keep him safe. He means so much to me. I love him more than my life. Your Olha.” Sadly, she will not see her husband alive. These warriors sacrifice themselves to stop the enemy! They follow the example of Jesus Christ who gave His life to save us from death.
Everybody does their job and works for a common cause.
The work of the doctors and all the medical staff was simply amazing. They work in extraordinarily difficult conditions, and often they simply do not have time to wash the floor of blood and mud, as the fighters are brought directly from the battlefield. There were moments when there was no room on the tables, and the doctors had to kneel on the floor to help the wounded.
Each of them has their own clearly defined function. One moment particularly touched me. There was a military man who was in charge of keeping the place in order. I saw him taking out the garbage, and fetching water, but suddenly when there was a large influx of wounded soldiers, I saw him putting a catheter into a vein – it turned out that he was a medic as well. Once again, I was convinced how much this war has united the nation and the whole world in the fight against evil!
Humor helps you not to go crazy
This is something that surprised me. Although working under extreme stress, these heroic doctors were constantly joking throughout the day. Even when they perform complex operations, they are still joking. I asked the commander, “How can you find humor in such conditions?” and he replied, “If you work too hard and worry too much, you will go crazy in two weeks, or your heart will fail.” So, they’re using humor to assist them to do their job incredibly professionally.
There were a few days when, almost every 30-40 seconds, there were shells exploding only 100 meters away! The explosions were so strong that everything inside the building was shaking, as well as doors being blown open. Despite this, the medical staff were cool, calm, and collected and continued doing their jobs regardless of the hell outside
To love Ukraine is to love a Ukrainian, your neighbor!
Love for your country is not about posting a picture with a flag – it is a manifestation of practical love for the one next to you! Love in action is especially evident at the frontline. No wonder people become close brothers and sisters here.
Trouble brings us closer together. Today, our country is like a wounded body that bleeds; therefore, we are called to serve those in need as one organism. There are different needs. And how many more will come…
I want to thank everyone who is helping us during this period! I thank HART and the Canadian/USA people who have so clearly shown their brotherly hearts to our people in this time of need! Thank you for your financial support, which makes our ministry possible. We thank God for you, your open hearts, and your willingness to continue to bear our
With prayers, Pastor Andriy Korniychuk, Rivne, Ukraine
Ministers in Ukraine Are ‘Ready to Meet God at Any Moment’
Pastors and church leaders who stayed behind serve as if every day might be their last.
Christianity Today I Sophia Lee
Pastor James offers so many prayers in a day that they puff from his mouth like vapor in Ukraine’s bitter winter.
For the senior pastor of a large church in Kherson (south Ukraine liberated last November), prayer is not only an occupation. It is a lifeline. He prays aloud when Russian missiles shake the walls of his church and his four-year-old son cries. He prays aloud before driving to nearby villages to deliver bread. He prays aloud when he’s scared to death, which is often…. (continue reading the story below)