|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.
The night is coming. Please, pray for us!
Nights even after 26 days of war still signify danger and bring fears – most bombings happen at night. This is a special time of the day for us to keep reminding ourselves of God’s goodness, His protection, and provision.
Days before the war I saw it in my nightmares how we would be evacuating from Kyiv, under bombings, possibly on foot through snowy fields with our pregnant Sasha, trying to get to a village 60 km from Kyiv. Of course, it turned out that with Russian invaders coming close to Kyiv and occupying suburbs and villages those places turned into battlefields. We are grateful that when the war started God gave us the wisdom to stay in the city.
During the first days of the war, we heard a lot of reports of women giving birth to babies in bomb shelters and women not having milk to nurse because of stress. Those stories fueled my next portion of nightmares. We had never thought of buying any baby formula ahead of time! Our granddaughter was going to nurse. Just as I was getting worked up about finding where we could get formula I got a call from a volunteer with who we had worked in Eastern Ukraine when we took humanitarian aid there in 2014-18. She said she was focused on helping our military but she had some baby diapers and formula that needed to be distributed and she asked if our church could help with distribution. God didn’t only assure me that He will take care of our grandbaby but He also tasked us with helping others!
My big fear was that Sasha would have to go to the hospital at night, during curfew and air raid. Then the baby action came. And it was night, a curfew and air raid. While Sasha waited for contractions to become more frequent we started hearing loud explosions. Before it got worse Nikita called the ambulance, it arrived very quickly and we watched how it took Sasha and Nikita on an absolutely empty road to the hospital towards the sounds of explosions.
Later that morning hospital insisted that Nikita leaves till a more active phase of labor. Meanwhile situation around Kyiv was getting worse and it was announced that a curfew would start that evening for 48 hours. If Nikita didn’t get in the hospital before curfew Sasha would be alone through the birth and after. The explosions were much more audible near the hospital. I can’t imagine how scary it was for Sasha to be alone. Around lunch time I asked Nikita how Sasha was doing, he said she was crying, I could see Nikita was on verge of tears too. I went to the bedroom and cried.
Some days a while ago we had started sharing our lunches and dinners with our concierge – she is still serving as our “security guard” 24/7. So I took lunch to her that day and on the way back I was coming in the elevator with a neighbor who asked how we were doing. I started telling about Sasha and Nikita and broke into tears. He didn’t go to his floor, came out of the elevator on ours. He started making phone calls and didn’t give up for 2 or 3 hours until he found the head doctor who allowed Nikita to get into the hospital and be with Sasha before, during, and after Briana’s birth.
You know, how in my nightmares I was imagining that Sasha would give birth in a snowy field under bombings, or in a bomb shelter, or even at home. But God took care of everything! She was in a good hospital, had an excellent doctor, and Sasha, Nikita, and Bria were given the best room. They also had very good food – now because relatives are not allowed to bring food, restaurants are donating a variety of wonderful meals to hospitals. The nights Sasha and Nikita spent at the hospital were more comfortable than at home – they got to sleep in the bed, rather than on the floor in our bomb shelter.
Yesterday they also found a very good private pediatric clinic close by. The doctors in this clinic didn’t leave Kyiv! They are currently not charging anything – people can pay what they are able to or have services for free.
God has been so good and so faithful every step of our way through this valley of shadow!
Oh, how abundant is your goodness,
which you have stored up for those who fear you
and worked for those who take refuge in you,
in the sight of the children of mankind!
20 In the cover of your presence you hide them
from the plots of men;
you store them in your shelter
from the strife of tongues.
21 Blessed be the LORD,
for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me
when I was in a besieged city.
22 I had said in my alarm,[b]
“I am cut off from your sight.”
But you heard the voice of my pleas for mercy
when I cried to you for help.
23 Love the LORD, all you his saints!
The LORD preserves the faithful
but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride.
24 Be strong, and let your heart take courage,
all you who wait for the LORD!
This photo is one of my favorites from Sasha’s childhood. It not only shows Nick’s love for our daughter, but it reminds me of Heavenly’s Father love for me.
Kyiv Church: This is just the first portion of baby stuff we will need to distribute to those in need
Avdeevka: Update from Alex Zaytsev
Please continue to pray! It got MUCH worse today! But praise God, many buildings around our church were hit, but our church building (where many people seek sanctuary both day and night) is unscathed! But please pray for those who were affected by shelling.
Kharkiv: Sergei is delivering food to elderly and mothers with babies.
“I do not know what is happening. The reason of my waking mind tells me that great evil has befallen and we stand at the end of days. But my heart says nay; and all my limbs are light, and a hope and joy are come to me that no reason can deny. […] I do not believe that darkness will endure!”
(Tolkien, The Return of The King)
The photos in this post are all about Briana’s firsts. Her first time in grandpa’s arms, her first meeting with her cousin Grisha, her first walk outdoors. We continue to marvel at this amazing gift of God! Looking at Bria and all other kids who are playing outdoors on this beautiful spring day I know Ukraine will win this war because our men are defending their own children, their own home – they have all the motivation in the world. The darkness will not endure!
This billboard says, “Be with us, God, protect us, have mercy on us!”
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!