Greetings from a war-torn Ukraine. This afternoon (Monday) is really just about the first time when I forced myself to get away from everything and sit down behind the computer to write a universal report that I am intending to e-mail out to our friends and supporters’ list. It is time-efficient to do it this way rather than responding to literally hundreds of individual questions. I would really like to send you daily updates if the situation here would permit it - therefore you may send in other people’s e-mail addresses to me to be put on the send-out list (those can be removed after the war if they so desire). Also, short videos are being made every so often and posted on Facebook (search ‘Eugene Kozachenko’ or ‘Greg Powell’).
In fact, a second video has just come out and you may watch it now at: https://www.facebook.com/1170390209/posts/10227197569542980/?d=n
You will not be receiving a paper copy of our February prayer letter since 'snail mail' these days is outdated by the time it gets there and truly lives up to its name. Instead, I will write a bi-monthly summary Feb-March letter after the war is over, hopefully.
First of all, my family and I want to THANK YOU for a GREAT outpour of love and concern we received in the past three-four days - you are tremendous! Your prayer support is astounding! We are grateful more than the words can express! Our American Family is such an encouragement to us and daily serves as a source of blessing to all of us here, and not just my Family, but to our church family and friends as we pass along your regards and assurances of prayers. THANK YOU!
Secondly, it so happened in the course of this war that, while other regions of Ukraine are being heavily attacked, for five days now it is SAFE in our city of Dnipro. Yes, we hear the sirens, the rockets are flying over our heads (as you know terroRussians are using ballistic missiles), we spend time in a bomb shelter, there are groups of saboteurs terrorizing the city, spy groups, and a marauder threat, but it is nothing in comparison to our UA cities of Kyiv, Kharkiv, Sumy, Mariupol and others that go through heavy fighting. Our Family is in comparative safety while still being in harm’s way. All the kids and my mom are with us. Everyone is healthy and upbeat.
Thirdly, our ministry is being shaped according to the reality: the Marshall Law and Curfew are in effect, limited street presence is allowed, checkpoints, block posts are everywhere, ever-present military and police patrols (all of this is good and for ensuring of the civilian safety) - we are very limited in what we can do. With the purpose of not just helping our Army, our country, and our city, but to have a wider opportunity of a gospel witness we involve ourselves with the volunteer movement, hospital aid, chaplain duty.
We are not suspending church services, in fact, we are increasing the number of services. We are already seeing a doubling of our attendance. (Our services may be found online at the above-mentioned Facebook Page (‘Eugene Kozachenko’) as well as Instagram (@menorah_baptist). Just this past Sunday two souls came to Christ in tears. One lady got saved two days ago. And there are countless witnessing encounters as we progress through our daily life.
Fourthly, terroRussian aggression extends not only to Ukrainian military facilities but also to civilian locations. Orphanages, schools, neighborhoods were and are under fire from the terroRussian military. People in big cities like Kharkiv, Sumy, Odessa, and Kyiv (the capital) spend their nights in bomb shelters, subways and basements because of the explosions and gunshots that go on all night. The city of Kharkiv suffers the most. As for our capital, Kyiv, terroRussians are not breaking through.
The whole world is coming together helping to weaken Russia. Thus, Russia fell under strong sanctions. Economic (disconnection of Russia from SWIFT, also the end of cooperation with many companies, the financial loss of Russian oligarchs for 2 days is estimated at $30 billion) as well as air sanctions, Russia is prohibited flights over all European countries, also Russians are not given visas and even those that have already been issued are canceled, the whole world has seen the true colors of Russians and this time they will not get away with it. As the peace talks with Russia are underway right now, Ukraine is also strongly negotiating with Europe to be accepted as a member in the expedited procedure, as well as NATO. (Looks like what Putin fights against is going to become his reality).
Despite the difficult times for the Ukrainian people, we do not lose morale and are in unity like never before, Ukrainians work as one well-coordinated organism, and have reached the peak of patriotism. Everyone who considers himself Ukrainian has made some contribution. People make Molotov cocktails, help wounded soldiers in hospitals, donate financially (millions of hryvnias) to support wounded soldiers, prepare food for soldiers in hospitals, become blood donors. Even Dnipro homeless collect bottles for Molotov cocktails and bring them to volunteer centers (also a group of gypsies hijacked a tank and handed over the terroRussians to the police). This fully explains the unheard unity of the Ukrainian people.
Putin is now hinting at using tactical nuclear warheads. Considering the fact that terroRussians have taken the Chernobyl nuclear reactor, pursue chemical and poisonous damage to our country, threaten to blow up river dams (resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths) - nuclear threat is very real. Especially, when we look at all that is happening in light of the imminent coming of our Lord Jesus. The time is short, the time is now - we always believed it, we always preached it, and now we are living it.
I appologize for a long read - that covered the past five days, hehe. Future communications will be shorter (said a Baptist preacher))) Please, continue to pray for all mentioned above, spread the word, share the truthful info, support Ukraine with your state and national senators, pray for our Family and ministry (as well as all ministries and other missionaries in Ukraine). Again, thank you for being there for us and we will see you here, there, … or in the air!
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
EK in UA