Dear friends and partners of “Let’s love” ministry, today is Wednesday, which means you are reading good news from Ukraine!
Oh, how the world has changed since our last winter issue! Who could have expected how much stress we would have to endure having encountered the totally new and unexpected reality! But we have withstood it. “Let’s Love” ministry has promptly introduced changes in its schedule and organized its work for the time of quarantine. We have remained faithful to our main mission – the growth of God’s Kingdom in Ukraine.
Many of you have also endured stress. We want to assure you, that your families and churches were in our prayers. You are dear to us as part of God’s family and our mission in Ukraine. Today our countries gradually exit the quarantine. Society returns to a normal life. The churches return to their houses of prayer. The mission continues! And though a lot of new, and, sometimes, strange things await us ahead – the Good News about Jesus Christ remains unchanged, just as our joint ministry in Ukraine – ours and yours!
With unchanging gratitude and prayers about you, DG
1. Baptism in Kharkiv.
We present you an excerpt from an email by Aleksandr Nikolaenko, who serves in Kharkiv with his family for 5 years.
A week after Dima’s baptism Sasha came up to me and said he wanted to talk to me. So we met, and he shared about his decision to be baptized in spite of the fact that his mom forbade him to. It was the third time we talked about it. The first time we talked about it at the camp in July, after Andrey’s death. He and some other kids wanted to be baptized. But I always tell them to discuss it with their parents first. And, like before with other kids, we encountered misunderstanding. The second time was in January when he wanted to be baptized during our annual fasting with brothers. But he couldn’t go because of his studies. So, after Dima was baptized, Sasha talked to his mom about baptism again, and she forbade him again. But he seemed to be very serious about the decision he made. We discussed his responsibility about this decision, and that he has to be ready to give an answer about his hope with respect. I cannot prevent a person from being baptized when he wants to. Some would say that a person should wait until he turns 18. But the first young man from youth ministry in Kharkiv, who was baptized at the age of 16, was taken by God in a couple months after the baptism. Then I was reassured it was the right decision to baptize Andrey. We did it just in time, we did everything we could. Praise God. We met Sasha in “Romashka” too. He was one of the first kids I met there when we were coming there to teach kids’ classes. He didn’t want to come to our classes because he was spending his days playing computer games =) For the very same reason he missed all the camps in the year of 2015. Andrey, on the other hand participated in all the camps, and he made Sasha finally attend the youth club and then our winter camp. He was 10 when we first met. Sasha is helping me to deliver food for our Church members during the quarantine.
I am happy for Dima and Sasha, for their decisiveness and courage in spite of the obstacles from their parents’s side. Today they help us with the church as our brothers in Christ.
2. Ministry During Quarantine
Our team worked in different cities, helping to distribute alimentary products, medicines and masks to the elderly and the needy. During such trips often a verse from Psalms 91:10-12 came to our minds: “no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. For He will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone”. Also, we recalled 2014 and 2015, specially hard years, when Ukraine had over 1 million refugees and displaced persons, and we helped those people in need, always blessed them and prayed with them, gave them Bibles.
3. New life in Spring
Saving a life in winter! Last month we helped a family from Lugansk to buy chickens. This became a good support for a lonely woman with an elderly mother and underage children, and gave them income, which would feed them in winter.
4. Updates from Our Team
Some of them you will meet the first time, and someone is already your good friend. Often they stay behind the scene. Many times, they have to carry hard, sometimes dangerous tasks, on their shoulders. We are proud of our team! All of them are faithful children of God and ministers in His Kingdom! Rejoice and pray for them!
Myroslava, a volunteer of “Let’s Love” ministry, a student of Ukrainian Bible Institute
I participate in different ministries of the church. During the quarantine, it was hard to reorient and restructure the ministries. However, we have adapted to the online form of ministry rather quickly. Now I am actively engaged in the youth ministry. We publish different interesting information in our social networks. Moreover, I study at Ukrainian Bible Institute. We started using Zoom for studies. It was hard to switch to the online studies, as we had to stay home and isolate ourselves. However, during the quarantine we had a lot of time to think over our ministries and their effectiveness. In addition, we found time to find ways to improve ourselves and the quality of our work in the church. The quarantine was a depressive period, but on the other hand, it was also productive and useful.
Silas and Tamara McNiece, “Let’s Love” volunteers, USA
Hello friends! Want to make quick update on how our life has changed during the
pandemic. My husband Silas switched to work from home (he is a teacher of Bible and math at Cornerstone Christian Academy, also Athletic director but of course it is impossible to work from home with sport program, he definitely misses it). I found a part time job during quarantine. Now I work for A&M Church of Christ as a minister of IHouse (ministry for international students). We still work and do lots of online meetings, also visiting students and bringing them encouragement and prayers. I am 27 weeks pregnant, so we are expecting our baby girl on August 29th. Doctor appointments definitely changed, I have to wear a face mask and my husband is not allowed to go with me. Once they made us do an online video doctor appointment, which was interesting experience. I am still in touch with family and friends, communicating through Instagram and Facebook with some kids from the orphanage. This is a very hard time for them too. They are very bored. Otherwise we are doing great. We see opportunities in everything, just never give up and fix your eyes upon Jesus! Thanks a lot for your prayers of Let’s Love and brothers and sisters in Ukraine. May God bless you!
Sasha and Nastia Nikolaienko, “Let’s Love” ministry volunteers, missionaries in Kharkiv city.
We are the Nikolaienko family. We’ve been friends and volunteers of the “Let’s Love” for
almost 10 years now. Last five and a half years we’be been living and ministering in the city of Kharkiv. Since the start of Ukraine’s lockdown we continued our work adapting to a new normal: we’d deliver groceries to church members in need, to older people from outside. We host our Friday Youth Bible Study online since March, as well as Saturday youth club. Some time ago with youth leaders from other cities we decided to have our weekly youth club meetings for the youth club kids from all the cities. We also have online Bible Study with the Church, on Wednesdays. The sisters started their own thing, a special environment for fellowship – weekly Ladies’ Class via zoom where the ladies take turns teaching. Nastia also taught a couple of lessons for women. The quarantine restrictions are slowly going down, and last Sunday we already started doing sports with the youth in the gym that we rent. The quarantine itself didn’t put us down but in the last couple months there was a number of frustrating situations that we are still going through with God’s help. Also, I had to put much effort and time into working on my diploma project. Praise God I successfully presented it last Wednesday. About a week ago we found out about opportunities to help lonely people who literally live in the hospital. Every one has his own heartbreaking story – sickness, loneliness and loss of a home. As of today, we can visit 1-2 people per week, bring them homemade food and simply spend some time talking to them. Thank you for your prayer support, for the help towards “Let’s Love” ministry for the sake of God’s Kingdom growth in Ukraine.
Yevgeny Chabanov, “Let’s Love” ministry director, missionary in Kyiv
Greetings to you, brothers and sisters! My name is Yevgeny Chabanov, I am from Nikopol city, but now I live and serve in Kyiv. Last year I graduated from Ukrainian Bible Institute (UBI). Right now, I am a missionary in one of the Kyiv districts. Recently, with God’s help, we have created a community in our district. We conduct street outreaches, personal “Coffee House” meetings. We visit a rehabilitation center for children; we socialize with the kids and conduct Bible lessons. Some kids visit our community on Sundays. In addition, I work as a director in “Let’s Love” foundation. I grow in this activity; I complete different trainings to enhance my qualification in order to participate more actively in the projects I am interested in.
Denis and Yulia Zolotariov, “Let’s Love” ministry volunteers, missionaries in Irpin city.
Good day! Well, everything is fine with us, thanks to God! Our famiy actively participates in the “Let’s love” ministries. Our country faced the quarantine, but nothing is impossible to God, so we were able to continue to serve actively in “Let’s Love” ministry. Before the quarantine, my wife and I used to visit a shelter for children, but due to the quarantine, we were unable to visit those kids anymore. Within “Sokoly” youth club ministry for the quarantine time we meet the guys two times a week. We are also missionaries of the “City of Refuge” Church of Christ in Irpin city. So, how did the quarantine influence us? Definitely, it brought more time to spend with each other. We think that it was beneficial for us as a family. During the quarantine, I have finished my studies at the university. Our son has finished primary school and our daughter is ready to start her studies at school. We are grateful to God for all that He does for our family!
Sergey Shupishov, “Let’s Love” ministry volunteer, Irpin city missionary
During the quarantine, our community team helps people to get to a store or a pharmacy; we deliver alimentary products to certain brothers and sisters. If there is a possibility, we visit people individually in their homes to encourage them and show some attention. Moreover, we conduct online Bible classes and speaking conferences for older people. I personally had time to read more and to undergo online ministry trainings.
Viktor and Olena Prokhorov, “Let’s Love” ministry volunteers and missionaries in Rivne city
Our greetings to you, to all who cares about the future of Ukraine, to everyone making efforts to form spiritual, moral and human values in the society. Thank you for supporting “Let’s Love” and the youth from “Sokoly” clubs. My wife Olena and I are the leaders of such club in Rivne city. The purpose of the club is civic education of young people based on national, moral and spiritual values. Without your support, we would not have implemented a single project in this direction. The quarantine isolation teaches us to continue such activity in different hard conditions. These life conditions during the pandemic have not ruined the process of our personal education. We have defended our diploma theses online at the Education Management University in Kyiv. Now my wife and I are masters of “Pedagogics, administration and social work” faculty, the program of “Christian pedagogics”. We hope that this was a good example of self-development for our youths, who will graduate from high school this year and will go on to obtain further degrees. During the quarantine, our club volunteers continued to help the elderly, the multi-child families and other vulnerable people. Our youths also continue to socialize and participate in “Camp – Online” program. We dream to continue implementing our projects on a full scale in order to enhance the life of people in Rivne.
Yuriy Taran, “Let’s Love” volunteer, Zaporizhia city volunteer
These 2 months have been another challenge for us. During the quarantine, “Let’s Love” volunteers made a decision to deliver alimentary products to people of risk groups and to those who lost their jobs. My family helped me throughout this; my wife supported me and helped me deliver the products. Despite the fact that we have children, and we were at risk to be infected and to transmit the infection to them, thank God, this did not happen. My interests are very modest: little by little, I am starting to fall in love with voyages, and I’ve finished Leo Tolstoy’s book “Resurrection”. During the quarantine, my family became acquainted with another very interesting family, that has 9 children. Despite all the difficulties, they do not despair. Now we are trying to help them improve their living conditions.
Dmytro Tymoshenko, “Let’s Love” volunteer, youth minister
Greetings to you, brothers and sisters! With God’s help, we continue to serve even during the quarantine. Our family faced trials, which also partially affected our relatives, church gatherings and effectiveness of our ministry. However, we have passed and continue to pass all these stages with God’s help. My wife and I have adhered to all the safety rules. We are grateful to God for the jobs He has given us, and if there had been financial losses, they would not have been critical for us. During these hard times, we helped people with products, means of protection and medicines. We have faced many challenges. Maybe the biggest blessing is our Zoom meetings between our clubs, during which we discuss pertinent spiritual topics. We have 38 guys writing a program for the upcoming children camp. Without the quarantine we would not have reached this. With God’s help, we will continue to serve and to rejoice our common victories.