My dear praying friends,
As I am writing this, the snow is falling and making everything white around, making it look pretty again after the long past winter. Although the snow and cold temperatures sure complicate matters for our warriors at the many frontlines, for those in bomb shelters, the fleeing refugees and many volunteers striving to provide relief and support to our fighting nation. But we all agree here that we are glad it’s not the nuclear winter that befell us. As you may know on War_Day_9 (yesterday, Friday, at dawn) terroRussian tanks with heat-visors fired at Zaporizhe Nuclear Station causing it damage (this city is 60 miles south of our city of Dnipro). Previously, on War_Day_4 they did the same thing in the northern part of our country, near our capital (Kyiv), occupying Chernobyl Nuclear Station (yep, that one). All of their actions line up with the nuclear war threats being made by a madman Putin. So, at this point, the nuclear threat remains the worst and most pressing of them all.
And the treats are many. TerroRussian army is literally levelling dozens of Ukrainian cities with rocket strikes, air bombardments and shelling (the worst damage is done to the cities of Kharkiv, Sumy, Mariupol, and many smaller towns surrounding our capital as the enemy is doing their best to encircle Kyiv). Thus the civilian death toll is climbing every day. Just today the arrangement has been made to have a ‘green corridor’ to evacuate people from Mariupol, but it was not honoured and the fire continued thus halting any attempts to rescue the civilians. The second round of UA-RU peace talks so far resulted in nothing. The third one is scheduled but all agree that only force and military actions can free Ukraine from the Northern Bear. And so Ukrainians buckle in for a long fight: they evacuate their elderly, women and children and by tens of thousands sign up to take up arms and stand at the defence of our country. Heroism is displayed at every level of our society. And I’d like to believe and say that we are winning - it may not look like it but instead of losing to the so-called ‘second greatest army of the world’ on the first or second day, we are into War_Day_11 successfully fighting them off. Their human and equipment losses climb geometrically (over 10,000 dead), surrendering literally thousands of their soldiers is unprecedented and that gives a ray of hope to all Ukrainians at war. We believe the terroRussian army is not strong as it is long - there are just too many of them, so I am guessing it means just one thing - it will take Ukrainians longer to get rid of them, that’s all, but we will - that’s a firm determination of our patriotic people who are paying with their dear lives the price of our freedom and independence from a Red Communistic State. We say: ‘it’s better to be dead than red’ and prove that truth every day.
If only we could have our skies sheltered by NATO countries from the identified flying objects (IFO) i.e. Russian fighter jets, ballistic missiles, bombers, helicopters, drones, etc. that inflict the most damage. But the West would not do it fearing a nuclear response from 'the Gremlin in the Kremlin’ and so the war goes on((( You may view the current war statistics in the picture attached (English is in small print).
In the midst of the dark storm of the war, God and His people shine the brightest - and we want to carry that light of the Gospel to the dying world along with the humanitarian and physical relief. I want to thank many of you for your overwhelming generous response to my previous update as many thousands of dollars are pouring into a ‘War Relief Fund’ - my task now somehow makes it available for use here in Ukraine NOW as the banks restrict withdrawing money from the accounts and limit money transfers, foreign currency is limited and the national currency is portioned. We may be losing some in unfavourable exchange rates and bank conversion fees but the goal is to have the US money available for either UA bank transfers or cash payments here on the ground for the outlined needs that are many. I don’t want this to discourage you from giving - eventually, all will be used as designated - I just strive to get it to be used ASAP while the needs are pressing here and now. Thank you so very much for meeting many of those needs already financially and let’s pray we here can translate that into actual physical help soon!
Update on my Family: Olga with our three kids (and my mom) left our city on Thursday morning driving two cars and covered 320 miles in 18 hours barely making it halfway to where they wanted to get originally on that day due to a standstill traffic, military block posts, lack of gas and a curfew hour. On Friday they continued and after yet another 18 hours they covered just 170 miles and time at the border crossing and crossed over to Moldova where they spent another night. Today (Saturday) they spent yet another 15 hours on the road and border-crossing into Romania (European Union) and will be spending the night near the Hungarian border to wake up tomorrow and drive another 23 hours in two days through Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, Germany into Holland (where my sister lives with her family and has everything ready for them, that’s why Holland). They are already overly exhausted but safe, praise the Lord! We are praying they will make it to their destination safely despite the fatigue and settle in fine. (One thing for sure, Olga and Dasha will be much better drivers than even I am after this long motoring experience and they have already told me that, hehe. My response was: you will be, but only if I get killed in this war))) They did not think it was funny. I thought it was. A little bit)))
Nikita and I are ‘holding the fort’ literally. We are ok but still in harm’s way. Participating in various events, coordinating many things, counselling and witnessing. For instance, going to our city train station where literally thousands of people are storming the evacuation trains and are left behind to spend the night to try again tomorrow - we have chocolates and gospel tracts for them, and witness to those who are open. Also, for instance, stuffing bags with sand with many other men fortifying the bridges and other city infrastructure and witnessing as we work (we have an agreement with my strong son Nikita - he does the heavy lifting and I do the talking, hehe))) We are praying with people as we go and seeing spiritual fruit. For instance, a young couple, who got saved last Sunday (I attached their picture in the previous update) after previously dating for a couple of years and both getting saved, announced this week that they got married and starting their Christian life right, what a testimony - getting married during the war under sounding air strikes sirens just because God thinks it’s a right thing to do. (I will have all these pictures sent separately).
Tomorrow, Sunday, we will be having our usual church service and expecting God to visit us in a special way with a doubled attendance.
If you are receiving this update but you have not formally asked me to add your e-mail address to the send-out list it is because you wrote me first with the words of encouragement and I just took the liberty of adding your e-mail to the list. I intend to continue with these updates and pictures. In Ukraine, we say: ’together we are strong, together we will win’ - and that’s a fact! THANK YOU so much for your prayers and participation. Let the Lord bless you for your generosity and assistance you are providing to Ukraine these days - the victory in this war will be ours, the victory for the Lord already is.
We love and appreciate you more than you will know.
Hopefully, we will see you here, there… or for sure in the air!
Eugene (and Family)
1 Peter 4:12-13