|Dear Friends and Partners,
The following is copied and shared with permission and reflects a deeply personal perspective forged amid the daily suffering and sacrifice caused by the war in Ukraine. This update is offered to inform and encourage your prayerful support for all who are affected by this tragedy.
If you would like to help us with humanitarian aid efforts you can donate through our website https://ipministry.org/donate/. The needs are growing as we keep helping thousands of people to move west within Ukraine and also helping those who want to leave the country temporarily. We need funds most of all for gas, but also for food and various supplies (medical, bed linens, mattresses, etc). Thank you.
Update from Vova Plotskih in Cherkasy:
Thank God that He makes it possible to be maximum effective where we are. We continue to collect and distribute products, medicines, hygiene products for people in need. We pray and take action.
Update from Maia:
Day 42 of russian invasion. 6 weeks of war…
Dear Friends, we appreciate your continued messages of concern and support, we value your prayers and your offers of places for us to evacuate to. Our decision to stay in Kyiv was made consciously, thoughtfully, prayerfully and long before the war started. As you hear about Kyiv being bombed or about massacres russians did in our suburbs you might wonder about our insistence on staying in Kyiv. I can try to explain.
First of all, this decision was not a result of our inaccurate assessment of the potential danger. Weeks before the war we knew it was inevitable and we had many conversations and prayers about what to do. We had a realistic view of what was coming. Even before the war, we read articles warning that russians were preparing prison camps for Ukrainian journalists, activists, pastors, opinion makers in society. We read that lists of people who would be in those camps had been already prepared. We knew that 190,000 russian troops were on our borders and the invasion would be massive.
It’s not like we had nowhere to go. As leaders of Christian organization, we have friends all over the world. In fact, as Christians, we have Christian family everywhere around the world concerned about us and eager to welcome us in safety. We had many invitations from different countries and I would love to come and visit all those places, but as a tourist someday, not as a refugee now.
A few days ago I read an article in The Atlantic where a Ukrainian journalist was explaining her reasons for staying and we resonated with her thoughts a lot. If we all left Kyiv, if war uprooted us all, if fear made us abandon our beloved city of freedom, Putin would win. Many experts predicted that Kyiv would fall in 72 hours but instead, Kyiv stood! Not only army but civilians were protecting it. On almost every street we have barricades and checkpoints. If russians entered the city they would have to fight for every street. https://www.theatlantic.com/…/russia…/627603/
We had more reasons for staying than were mentioned in the article. As church leaders, as Christian leaders, we felt that our place was here, in our communities – to help people as much as we can emotionally, physically and spiritually. As Christians, we believe that our ultimate citizenship is in Heaven, but we are each placed in specific countries to be good citizens, to care for God’s creation, to be God’s light in this world, to stand against sin and evil, to help people find their way to God. One can’t be a leader in good times and then when a crisis hits abandon people who trusted you to lead. Influence comes with responsibility. Please, don’t read any pathos in that. That decision was not coming from courage or bravery, just deep conviction from God that our place was here. And every day of this war we have to rely on God to give us the courage when fear hits and for His protection when Russian missiles fly towards Kyiv.
Of course, we wished for Sasha and Nikita to leave for safety as Sasha was in her last months of pregnancy when war became imminent. But it was also their decision to stay. The time around approaching the delivery of Briana was extra scary for all of us. But I know Sasha and Nikita’s presence in the church, and now Briana’s gives other people much-needed strength. Briana’s name means strong and she is sharing her strength with others!
None of us have a death wish, we want to live. We want to see Briana start walking, we want to hear her talk and sing, we want to see her going to school and University, getting married, and having her own kids. We want to live, but we don’t want to run for life.
There are, of course, circumstances when it may become necessary – though we pray and hope it won’t come to that. We are evacuating our church from Avdeevka now – not just a pastor but all the people. The point is, I guess when you are a leader (of a family, a church, a community, an organization) you can’t afford to think only about yourself, you have a responsibility to those you lead. This is the main reason we are still in Kyiv and pray and hope we will be here celebrating Ukraine’s victory over russian horde sometime very soon.
Please share these updates with others. I have added direct links to our email, our website, and to the IP Ministry Journal on YouTube to the bottom of this page. Your prayers are precious to us. Thank you!