The war began 21 days ago, and the Lord has stirred the hearts of many saints to respond to the needs in Ukraine. We continue to receive inquiries and donations from various quarters. The response is remarkable.The grace continues to flow. We praise the Lord for His mercy.
The JEEP Executive Committee is meeting weekly in the face of this crisis to address immediate needs, and determine how to distribute JEEP funds strategically, wisely, and responsibly. As many of you know, JEEP remains strictly a volunteer organization with almost no overhead, which means that nearly 100% of donations are delivered to the intended recipients.
We are also supporting CRE Churches in Hungary and Poland hosting refugees from Ukraine. We have sent funds to them to help as needed and will continue to support Ukrainian “strangers” who now dwell among them.
Here are specific updates from the churches:
Many people have left Mykolaiv, which remains under furious attack as the Russian army continues in its quest for Odessa. Mykolaiv has been nearly surrounded for days, and suffers ongoing bombardment. Shops and businesses have closed, and little work is going on. Quite a few members of the Mykolaiv CREC church have evacuated, and the majority of the remaining members are older and retirees.
Pastor Volodya Mykyta, along his wife Viktoria and youngest daughter, have remained and continue to live mostly in an underground shelter due to the constant shelling, exiting only during daylight hours to purchase food, medicines, and supplies. In an email, Volodya reported,
“We sleep very little. Every day and night the sounds of guns, the sounds of bombs and rockets. Explosions right now. My whole house is shaking… We endure, we pray, we serve. We buy groceries, we deliver groceries, we buy medicines, we deliver medicines…. Half an hour ago, one of the district centers in the Nikolaev region, Snigirevka, was bombed. I have a close fellow pastor there. [He] just wrote that a number of houses were completely razed to the ground.”
In this terrible situation, your support of JEEP has been instrumental to Pastor Mykyta and the Mykolaiv church – thank you for your prayers and your gracious gifts on their behalf.
First, Pastor Bogumil Jarmulak reported to us today that Ukraine is now conscripting men into military service, beginning with those who have served previously. Both Pastor Pawel Shevchuk and Elder Sergiy Yakubovsky from Christ the Savior in Rivne have been called up. Please pray for these two men, for their families, and for the men remaining who have not yet been drafted.
With many of their members having fled the country, the two Rivne churches have temporarily merged and are now worshipping together. They are meeting on the 3rd floor of their rented church building, as at present the first-floor sanctuary has no heat. Pastor Sergiy Terentyev’s family is in Czechia, while San Sanych’s wife Alla has remained with him. JEEP is now looking to raise funds for Pastor San Sanych to purchase a van, so that he can travel locally as well as support the transport of supplies and refugees.
Sergiy Terentiev with the teachers from Svitlo school plan to restart classes via Zoom. According to Sergiy, “keeping in touch with their classmates, having a daily routine with lessons, communicating on various topics with their friends – this is exactly what can be useful to children during this war.” Immediate concerns for them include paying rent on their school building, and paying teacher’s salaries even when they’re abroad.
Rivne is close to the Belarusian border, and often Russian planes are heard overhead, flying from Belarus to bomb other cities in Ukraine. Air raid sirens sound regularly in Rivne, and sleep is a precious commodity. There remains a lingering possibility that the Russian army could move troops across the border near or into Rivne.
Dr. Dan Doolittle from Carbondale continues laboring in Rivne with San Sanych, working with a group of local medical educators who have been teaching the TCCC (Tactical Combat Casualty Care) course to groups of individuals here and in the surrounding areas. They’ve worked with a military group who are awaiting assignments to support front-line troops, a police battalion on the outskirts of Rivne, and a group of Territorial Defense volunteers who are from each village throughout Ukraine, and are committed to protecting their individual communities from invasion.
Additionally, Dan has been able to learn about the medical capabilities and needs here, share information, connect with several pastors and members of churches, and strategize on future medical mission impact. Dan’s wife Pam (in IL) has organized the purchase of a large quantity of supplies, and their son Alden has agreed to be the “mule”, flying from Chicago through Poland, and hopefully making it to Rivne this coming weekend. Pastor Jarmulak himself made a request today for medkits and other supplies, to deliver to Rivne on his next trip (likely early April). With these supplies in hand, Dan will be able to work more effectively with local medical providers, to get key equipment to those heading into battle.
Ivano-Frankivsk & Pidhaichyky
Pastor Ihor Lishchinski, Roman Savchuk, and Deacon San Sanych, Jr. carry on in ministering to refugees. Many evacuees from Eastern Ukrainian cities are stopping in Ivano-Frankivsk. In addition to supporting the work of Nazareth House, Pastors Ihor and San Sanych Jr. as well as Deacon Roman Savchuk provide food, clothing and shelter to the evacuees passing through, and assist them in getting to the border. Pastor Volodoymyr Yakubosky and the church at St. Andrew, Pidhaichyky also continue to use their rented sanctuary space in as living quarters for refugee families. Evacuees are worshipping regularly with our Pidhiachyky brethren each Lord’s Day now.
Pastor Sasha Pavliuk and the Dunaivtsi CREC church are coordinating with other churches in the area to assist evacuees. Sasha is head of the local inter-church council, and has been spearheading this effort. Many people have now lost their jobs and need immediate help. The churches work together to purchase medicines or food, thermal underwear, hygiene items, baby food for small children, etc. With supplies being scarce in their area, they often must go to neighboring areas to acquire food and other necessities.
Additionally, the saints there are working to provide both permanent and temporary housing for refugees in apartments and houses, as well as with host families. For refugees who are moving through, the churches have set up hundreds of beds on their premises. More than 200 people come through daily, heading to the borders of Romania, Moldova, Poland and Hungary. Because of martial law and the local curfew, people travel only during the day, and in the evening rest for the night, then continue on their way. Refugees have the opportunity to shower, wash their clothes, eat and sleep. The pastors and churches help coordinate evacuation routes, and assist with those who are remaining in their cities. For those who lack their own transportation, transport is provided and money given, to reach the borders of neighboring countries.
In addition, there are territorial defense battalions in Dunaivtsi and Khmelnytsky, made up of volunteers who are preparing to defend their land. Checkpoints and round-the-clock patrols have been organized at the entrances and exits of various regions. Elder Yuri Lukovoy of Holy Trinity, Dunaivtsi (CREC) is among many men from the various local churches who make up these battalions.
Finally, we are grateful to report that Sasha’s son Mark was miraculously spared this week, along with several other soldiers in his company. While on the road, they had stopped and gotten out of their vehicle to coordinate, when their car was hit and destroyed by a rocket launched by Russian aircraft. Praise be to God for His marvelous deliverance of Mark and his friends – no one was hurt.
How to Pray Right Now:
- Pray that Mykolaiv would not fall to the Russians, and for God to sustain the defense of the city.
- Pray for the people in the city who have lost jobs, livelihood, and are struggling to afford basic necessities.
- Pray for comfort and peace, and strength for the Mykytas as they minister to people in the city.
- Pray for the children, parents, teachers of Svitlo school; their moral and spiritual condition.
- Pray for financial issues of those in Rivne: rent, salaries, food, transport, necessities.
- Pray for strength, and energy for the pastors as they ministers to many people around him.
For Ivano-Frankivsk & Pidaichky
- Pray for strength and energy for Pastor Ihor, Sasha, Roman, Volodiya Yakubovsky, and others ministering to refugees and needy in their neighborhoods at this time.
- Pray for many of the kids of Nazaret House who have left the country and are scattered throughout Europe.
- Praise for Mark’s safety, and praise for the unity of the churches in response to this crisis.
- Pray for comfort and strength for Sasha Pavliuk and others who minister to refugees.
- Pray for strength, energy, and emotional and spiritual comfort for all those who minister to refugees and to the needy in their neighborhoods.
- Pray for comfort and peace for the refugees as they travel to an uncertain future in a foreign country.
- Pray for courage and. comfort for our brothers in the military, those involved in territorial defense, and the families whose fathers and brothers are fighting.
- Pray for our brothers and sisters: for restful sleep and comfort from fear and horror, strength to accomplish the daily tasks that God has laid out for them, and trust in Him to make all things right.