Two houses of prayer were damaged in the Luhansk region this fall
The Russian invaders burned down the house of prayer of the Baptist church in Vovchoyarivka village of Luhansk region.
The “Nativity of Christ” church had a house of prayer that was serving as housing for IDPs, a meeting place for Bible study groups, and many other types of ministry; there were organized the ministry for teenagers, children's camps, and English learning classes. The children enjoyed going there.
Then the Russians brought there the destruction and decay. First, they occupied the church building for the accommodation of their militants. Then, after looting, they burned the building down. Today, thanks to the Russian aggressors, the house of prayer is left in ashes after burning.
The house of prayer of the Baptist church at the occupied Hirske town (Luhansk region) was also destroyed. The church was well-known in the region for its activity. For the house of prayer, the community purchased a historic and spacious building. The church was paying special attention to the ministry of serving children and teenagers. Church life before the war was full of children's laughter and various social activities.
When Girske was captured by the russian troops and the house of prayer was taken away from the church, all of that stopped. It is known that the building was occupied. In November the house of prayer was destroyed as result of shelling.
Since then, the church was left without an important resource. But we believe the russian occupants will be driven out of our land, and through joint efforts the church will restore so needed ministry...
Villages on the border of the Sumy region
The russians continue to shell villages on the border of the Sumy region. Residents of those villages live under constant tension and expectation.
It reminds us that there are Ukrainians today who continue to live very close to the border with russia (literally 500 meters away).
We thank God for allowing us to minister to those people even in such an uncertain time.
Oleksiy Myroshnychenko, the pastor of the Krasnopillia village church, is one of the volunteers ministering there regularly. He shares the difficulties local people have: electricity is often absent for several weeks in a row, logistics and delivery of goods are poor, and quality communication is almost impossible. Our ministers are monitoring those needs and are trying to respond to them. So the local church of Krasnopillya village is bringing those people with urgent needs generators, fuel, bread, and other food products.
The recent events and a large-scale war make people more open to God. They are happy to receive Bibles and share faith with their friends.
Houses of prayer are getting full; the repentance and conversion prayers to God are sound in churches today.
Vasylivka town, Zaporizhzhia region
Most of our stories are not finished or do not have a logical conclusion. So it is worth returning to some of them.
On June 12, 2022 (during the Holy Trinity day celebration) armed Russian invaders came to the Baptist church in Vasylivka village of Zaporizhzhia region. They drove everyone out of the house of prayer, searched the building through, took away the keys, sealed the building, and said that “totalitarian sects have no place in «liberated Vasylivka»”.
The church pastor (Mykola Zholovan) was placed under house arrest, and all of the information carriers he had were confiscated. Later, at the end of June, he was arrested and held for almost two days in the so-called "military commandant's office". He was eventually released. But the house of prayer is not yet returned. Numerous attempts to return the building (which is a historical monument) had no success.
Pastor Mykola Zholovan shares: “For the last sixth month our building is used by the russian military, and we have no idea when we will be able to return our house of prayer while the city remains under Russian occupation.
When I was released from the “commandant's office”, I realized that my entire family (besides me) was under the occupiers’ close surveillance. This convinced us of the need to leave the occupied territories. Most of the church members were also forced to leave the town. With the approval of the Baptists regional association’s leadership, I left Ukraine for a while. Today I am in Europe, and working with refugees. We pray for the faster liberation of our country from the aggressor and doe the opportunity for me to continue ministry in long-suffering Ukraine."
Water baptisms continue in November
Belgorod-Dnistrovsky church had a large celebration in November 6. There were 20 brothers and sisters baptized and joined the Church of Jesus Christ.
Most of those people recently came to the Lord during the full-scale war. These are fruits of happiness for a community tirelessly ministering to people for the last eight months.
“Our church ministers to our town by helping to feed more than 2,000 families. Whole families are turning to God. A girl who came to God through teenage ministry is a good example is. She brought her mother and later her grandmother. All of them got baptized today. This is a real awakening we were praying for!” – says Pastor Valentyn Lupashko.
That is the second water baptism this year, and the church has already started preparation classes for the third baptism, which, if God willing, is planned to be held this winter.
The “Transfiguration” church in Kharkiv have also baptized 15 people on the same day.
The Baptist church of Nedrigailov village (Sumy region) has only 30 members but a strong missionary spirit. They are constantly looking for opportunities to spread the Kingdom of God in Ukraine 24/7. Besides preaching the Gospel, brothers of this church have already delivered about 15 tons of potatoes to Donbas!
Where do the brothers get those potatoes? They proposed the villagers share the harvested crops. Some people offered a bag of potatoes (approximately 20-30 kg), others gave two, and some were giving even more. This harvest this year was good! Then brothers sorted the potatoes and packed them in nets.
Dozens of settlements in Donbas tasted potatoes from Nedrygaylov village. Recently, Balaklia joined their list too. 15 tons of potatoes with the price of potatoes at 10 uah per kilogram is equivalent to 150,000 uah. That’s a lot of money for a small rural church community. That’s a good story of initiative, cooperation, and sacrifice.
May this “potato story” help others to look for the opportunities they have, and to use them wisely.
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