When Russia shocked the world by initiating a war with Ukraine (click here). British Asian Christian Association’s trustees agreed to find ways to support both people fleeing the war and those choosing to stay in Ukraine.
Our work towards this grows in strength and we gave the finance required to start a food programme for the many Ukrainians staying in Ukraine. Already our partners led by Pastor Vasilev have begun to share over 40 bags of food and Bibles with desperate people.
Many people have lost their jobs when more wealthy Ukrainians left the country and their businesses behind. They have also had to cope with a currency that is suffering under a withering economy. We have been told that the food packages we have provided through your support has become a beacon of hope so much so, that Pastor Vasilev is being called by many new families desperate for some help.
Pastor Vasilev has shared this video detailing how they are working to help the needy in Odessa:
While sharing the food parcels we have sponsored people have also been given Bibles and Pastor Vasilev and his church have shared the Gospel. When a curfew prevented a church service on Sunday Pastor Vasilev held a service on Saturday and people were saved.
Pastor Vasilev also shared some news from the ground, he said;
“When the Russians began bombing the oil factory in Odessa a few days ago (click here), even more Ukrainians began leaving Odessa.
“The city of Nikolaev is being bombed regularly and is only 130km away from us it is worrying.
“Odessan authorities have been sending bottles of water to help Nikolaevan citizens.
“Our life goes on and most things have stayed the same for now, as we have not been attacked.
“Our Children are attending online school and though it is difficult for them having had to go through this during COVID-19, they understand it is for their safety.
“Many shops in our malls are shut and prices for everything has risen dramatically, but we trust God.”
Pastor Vasilev further added:
“3 days ago Russia started the second wave of their attack mostly in areas in the east such as Donbas [Luhansk and Donetsk].
“Kyiv is being bombed incessantly the sight of this is awful.
“When the Moskva flagship destroyer was sunk 3 days ago, we were advised that the risk of attack to Odessa had reduced (click here).
“The Moskva would have provided cover for landing troops for now we seem to be in a good place.
“The small army in prevents Odessa troops being deployed elsewhere.”
The curfews in Odessa continue and people must be in their homes from 9pm – 6am. Though group gatherings are not permitted Pastor Vasilev has been able to continue his church services without interference from security forces, who seem to have an understanding that families need the peace and solace that God can give. In return some have asked for prayer and the church pray regularly for security forces, the nation in general and for an end to the war.
Pastor Vasilev and his church also continue with their regular Saturday street witnessing programme by visiting the popular ‘Park of Victory’. They sing worship songs, share the Gospel and pray with people. Bibles are being distributed with all aid packages and during witnessing programmes. Pastor Vasilev has said that the new testaments they are giving out are being gratefully accepted.
Pastor Vasilev has been concerned that very little aid is arriving in Ukraine. Evidence has Humanitarian aid being sold in stores is emerging and reported in Ukrainian social media
Image taken from this website (click here)
Sadly the Russian media has run a large story on this in their agenda to spread negative propaganda and galvanise support for the war (click here).
About this Pastor Vasilev shared a common phrase in Ukraine, he said:
“To some people its war to others its dear mother (chance for corruption)”.
Pastor Vasilev has requested further support as we believe the current demand for food equates to about £500 a month. Ukraine is becoming increasingly dependent on food aid and cities like Odessa untouched by war, we can help in a small way. The fact that Pastor Vasilev is providing direct support means that our aid is guaranteed to reach people that most need it. As news spreads of this work we are sure that more desperate people will seek help and we will be reviewing levels of assistance accordingly. If you have been moved by this account and would like to help us reach our aid target for Ukraine please donate (here).
We will be providing a full update on work being undertaken in Chisinau, Moldova next week but for now here is a short video compiled by Pastor Vitali.
Pastor Vitali has has noticed that many families are travelling back into Ukraine. This is especially in regards to people who live in Odessa. This may be due to the fact that the city remains unscathed and because of the encouragement in Ukraine after the Moskva destroyer was sunk (click here). After all, it was the emergence of the Moskva in their local waters that had caused a mini exodus from Odessa. Now some Odessans are looking to be reunited with their families.
Our work in both these countries is ensuring that people that are in desperate need for help are receiving it. The Moldovan Church is ensuring that Ukrainian people in transit from Ukraine or to Ukraine have a warm, comfortable place to stay and that they are well fed and are stocked with food and sanitary equipment for the rest of their journey. Pastor Vitali also ensures that any groups or transport used for journeys onwards are safe, concerned about increasing reports of sexual predators and human trafficking syndicates trying to benefit from the current situation.
If you have watched the video and are moved to help with our work in Moldova, then please donate (here)
Pastor Vitali has already helped over 60 women and children as they transit away and back to Ukraine. We share a previous article with videos and images for those of you who missed it in our last newsletter (click here).
Next week Ukraine will celebrate Velykden [The Great Day] (click here) this is the name they give for Easter or Resurrection Day as it is increasingly called in the UK. The delay in their Easter in nothing to do with the war but because the Eastern Orthodox Church follow the Julian Calendar (click here) not the Gregorian Calender (click here).
The Patriarch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church has called for churches under his remit to forgo evening services as he does not trust the Russian army to observe any agreed ceasefire. There has been extensive damage to churches during the current war and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was leading dialogue towards a four-day Easter “humanitarian truce” that could begin on Thursday 21st April 2022. This however has now been rejected by the Russians and we call for prayers of believers attending church on 24th April 2022 and thereon.
Pastor Vasilev will hold a day time Velykden service and communion in the morning on Sunday 24th April 2022. Later in the evening they will go ahead with their regular evening service as planned as requested by regular members.
Please pray for an end to the war and for safety for Ukrainian Christians during their forthcoming Easter Day celebrations.