This update is from Sasha Pavliuk, pastor of the Dunaivtsy church, pictured above with a local volunteer holding a box of medicine:
These days go by very quickly. I forget the dates and the day of the week. The war has completely changed our lives. I no longer remember when I went to bed in the evening and woke up in the morning. On the other hand, it seems to me that an eternity has passed since the beginning of the war.
My wife and girls are still in Khmelnitsky. Sometimes I take them to Dunaivtsy to my wife’s parents for a couple of days when I have a business trip to the more dangerous places. She flatly refuses to leave me. On the one hand, I am very worried about all my girls, on the other hand, I am very proud of them.
I sent my parents to Poland, and yesterday I realized how right it was to do it. Their village was bombed by Russian planes. I know that there are practically no houses left intact, most of them are damaged. People died. When I received this news, I just cried. All my childhood and youth passed there.
The war continues, our army heroically resists. In the Kiev, Chernihiv, Kharkiv, Krivoy Rog and Mykolaiv directions, our military pushed the enemy back and even went on a counteroffensive in places. The situation in Mariupol is very difficult. Our president gave the go-ahead to the military to leave the city, but they said that their decision was to stay there until the end. My son is now on the front. Today I received a message from him and this is the most valuable thing for me now.
Now let me tell you a little about our ministry:
Service to refugees:
With varying intensity, refugees from the most difficult cities and villages pass through Khmelnitsky and Dunaivtsy. This is due to the location of our cities. Through us you can get to the borders of Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania. Most of the refugees are sent through us to Romania and Poland. I roughly calculated that 600 to 1000 people pass through all our centers per week. Now there are probably about 600.
We already have a whole network of centers where we have a common coordination of our actions. Usually people stay in churches or big houses. People come in the afternoon, settle down. They can wash, eat, get the necessary clothes, and hygiene items. For small children we have baby food, diapers. We also have a frequent exchange of resources. Someone has more clothes, they share with those who have little. Someone has more food, we transport it to where there is a shortage of it. It’s like an anthill, where everyone does their own thing and together they get a good result. Sometimes people, in order to morally move away from what they have experienced, stay for a few days. By the way, there are quite a few who, having come to us, to a quieter part of Ukraine, want to stay and not go further. Then we, in cooperation with the local authorities, help them find temporary housing. But for a while they also need help. My responsibility in Khmelnitsky is about 50 families.
Service to the military:
Almost every one of our families has those who are in our armed forces. And there are great needs. Before the war, there were a number of military men, but now their number has increased, and there are problems. Now the army is not some distant unknown people – but these are our fathers, brothers, sons, daughters and sisters. Therefore, we try to help them as much as we can. We send them food, hygiene items, bulletproof vests, uniforms. In Dunaivtsy and Khmelnytsky there are two businessmen I know who have small clothing factories. When the war began, with the support of volunteers, they began to sew military uniforms. We do not pay for the work, we are looking for opportunities to simply purchase material for them. I also had a business meeting with two of our politicians, they helped in the purchase of bulletproof vests. I found them in Germany and the Czech Republic, they helped to resolve issues with customs. By the way, they are included in the contact negotiating group with US senators. Special, of course, is the opportunity to hold prayers with the military, as well as have personal meetings. Unfortunately, we have many of those whose loved ones died at the front. So tomorrow I will visit one such family…
Everything about the church is pretty good. First of all, I mean spiritually. People come to worship, more have become more united. In addition, there is prayer every day. Our presbyter Yura Lukovoi is in the territorial defense battalion. On Sunday I visited all our 5 roadblocks, brought them a lot of instant coffee and had a short conversation with them. The truth is, it is now getting harder to live. The economy of Ukraine is half destroyed. Older people started having problems with purchasing medicines. Therefore, in the coming days, I will look for opportunities to help our senior members of the church in this. Some of them have refugees from Kyiv and Chernihiv.
Please continue to pray for us, for the world. True, we do not want to have peace at any cost. We want to have a just world! We only kneel before God and we will never kneel before Putin’s regime.
In Him – Sasha
P.S. Now, since I wrote this letter, my city was fired upon by ballistic missiles from the territory of Belarus, and one of the districts is now on fire. We only had the opportunity to pray, which we did….