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Ukraine at War – Update 08, 2024

A Small Story in a Big War

No story is truly small in the grand scheme of this horrific war. Each one represents the human spirit’s refusal to be extinguished, the determination to survive, and the willingness to support one another in the face of unimaginable hardship. These small stories, woven together, form a tapestry of hope, courage, and the indomitable will of the Ukrainian people to prevail. Here is one example of a ‘small story’ …

As a teenager, Oleksandr was a member of HART’s Child Sponsor Program summer camp teams. He spent his summer months as a volunteer camp coordinator and counselor in the Rivne region of northwest Ukraine.

At 35 years old, Oleksandr is now happily married with two sons and is a volunteer for the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

From his early years, Oleksandr understood the importance of using his God-given talents, so he actively participated in various church ministries and took on roles as a youth leader.

Following the reform of the Ukrainian police after the 2014 Revolution of Dignity, he enlisted. He joined the military for the same reasons: “This is my country, my responsibility, my burden to bear…”

Upon completing his military training, Oleksandr enlisted in the intelligence service. Everyone who knew this remarkable man of faith prayed for God’s protection to be upon him.

Four months later, stationed at the front lines in the Luhansk region, Oleksandr and four fellow soldiers received orders to cross the contact line and gather intelligence behind enemy lines.

Toward the end of the first day of the mission, they took cover in a small building, and as darkness fell, Oleksandr ventured out alone to survey the surroundings. Tragically, moments after he left the shelter, an enemy shell struck it, instantly killing his fellow soldiers.

Oleksandr sustained shrapnel injuries near his heart and in a leg. Despite these wounds, he managed to crawl three kilometers to reach the Ukrainian side of the contact line where his unit was stationed. Miraculously, he did not bleed out and managed to survive. Subsequently, Oleksandr underwent surgery in Kharkiv, followed by rehabilitation in Kyiv.

The surgeons who treated him remarked that he was incredibly fortunate, as surviving such an injury was typically impossible, but Oleksandr attributed his survival to the grace of God, believing that it was God who gave him a second chance at life.

From his hospital bed, Oleksandr penned these words to his family and friends: “This is what war and a miracle of God looks like! One shrapnel passed through my sternum and lungs, and the other one stopped right in front of my heart. Thank you all for your prayers and help. We need to go back and finish what we started. The price is high, but a free Ukraine is worth it! God’s miracles do work in war! Just keep praying…”

[Epilogue: After his recuperation, Oleksandr returned to the front lines to serve in the intelligence division of the Ukrainian armed forces. Please keep this brave, young Christian soldier in prayer.]


Ukrainian missionaries near the front lines

We were privileged to host Ihor and Yevhenia at our Ukraine office recently. They are Ukrainian missionaries to towns and villages near the front lines of the war, close to Donetsk.


Children of Ukraine – Abducted by Russia

This documentary examines how thousands of Ukrainian children have been taken and held in Russian-controlled territory since Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine. This narrative follows Ukrainian families searching for their missing children, organizations investigating the alleged abductions, and Ukrainian teenagers who escaped and say they were subjected to Russian propaganda.

Child Sponsor Program

What would you say to people in North America trying to decide if they should sponsor a child in Ukraine or not?

Your choice can turn a child’s life around. There are so many children in difficult circumstances, and with the war, the number of orphans and emotionally crippled children is growing every day.

Sometimes, we will come to a family where 11 children have been sleeping on the floor for several years, and half of these children are sick because of this. Another family is without food – hunger forced them to eat a goat that gave their children milk.

As a church, we are ready to visit, love, accept, educate them, and be mentors for a new generation that will be useful to society and bring glory to Christ.

Helping one child will impact the lives of many because even one child, when they become an adult, can change their community for the better. Olha Sikorskaya – Rivne Region

We CAN change the world – on heart at a time!

Critical Importance of Summer Camps

by Olenka Chorna, Project Coordinator, HART Ukraine

Testimony of one young girl, “I’m glad I visited such a wonderful camp. Everyone wished me a happy birthday and gave me gifts. It was so nice. I could forget my sadness and grief for a little while. My dad and my uncle died two months ago.” Ivanka, 11

The reality is that no child in Ukraine is truly safe. Air raid sirens disrupt their sleep almost every night, and school lessons are constantly interrupted as they are ushered into bomb shelters. A recent international study revealed that a staggering 75% of Ukrainian children are now showing symptoms of mental trauma…

Watch kids enjoying summer camps in 2023

Support camp programs for children in Ukraine

Faith & Persecution in Russian Occupied Areas

Recently, the Russian Orthodox Church approved a document that deems President Vladimir Putin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine a “Holy War.”

Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, is an ally of Putin. He and the Church have been vital in promoting and legitimizing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s rule at home and power projection abroad.

While Kirill has praised Putin’s rule as a “gift from God,” he is also providing a religious justification for the war and failed to unequivocally condemn the killing of people in Ukraine.

Following Russia’s 2022 fall mobilization campaign, Patriarch Kirill said, “If a person remains faithful to his calling, and if he fulfills his duty and dies, then as a duty, he performs a feat that is equivalent to a sacrifice. This sacrifice washes away all sins.” In other words, Russian soldiers who die fighting in Ukraine will have “all of their sins forgiven,” as he compared their sacrifice to that of Jesus on the cross.

However, this stance obviously contradicts the core evangelical belief that salvation and forgiveness of sins comes only through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, not by political victories or a transactional arrangement.

Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine is exterminating religious freedom, signaling a return by Moscow to Soviet-era levels of persecution of faiths, the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church has said.

“Around 50 religious ministers, Protestant pastors, Orthodox priests, and Catholic priests have been imprisoned or killed,” Shevchuk said. He added that Russia is returning “to the time of the Soviet Union where all of those religions were prohibited or overcontrolled, or simply destroyed.

Watch the video below about religious persecution in Russianoccupied areas. From the oppressive restrictions imposed on congregations to the chilling accounts of torture, learn about the struggle for religious freedom.


The challenges faced by Viktor and the Evangelical community in Luhansk amidst religious persecution by Russia.

Pray for Ukraine, Pray for Peace

Here are specific prayer points that can help guide our prayers for the situation in Ukraine. Please share these with your friends and family.