This past week was relatively quiet in Kyiv, particularly compared to Kharkiv and Mariupol. The city is being surrounded, and we’ve had shelling every day. A residential building was hit today and a large shopping center earlier in the week. Praise God that the number of casualties is not high.
Two days ago a 35-hour curfew started. We don’t know why. Maybe they’re hunting down saboteurs who were in the city.
Kyiv now is a city of contrasts. Yesterday it was really surreal. When day dawned there was not a person about in the streets. It felt apocalyptic.
Today, the curfew ended, and I saw parents with children, and people walking their dogs. I even heard someone laugh. I haven’t heard laughter in days.
People cannot live in a continuous state of anxiety. They need their everyday life routines. It’s amazing. People learn to live even under everyday threats. God made us unbelievably adaptable, and that will help us persevere and survive. You never know what you’re capable of until you are in the trial.
About a third of our church members stayed, and two-thirds left. Nevertheless our church is still involved in ministry, those who are left in Kyiv. We have young men and women who buy medicine and deliver it to people in the community, as well as about 10 elderly church members.
We need to stay closely connected with those who are home-bound as they are very vulnerable and unprotected at this point. I spoke to an elderly man today who had a stroke and is bed-ridden in the 15th floor, so we try to care for him as we can. We try to address those needs of mercy in the city, on both the left bank and right bank of the river.
Food is still available. We have good access to the food we need clean water. Certain kinds of medicine are hard to find, so I’ve requested certain types from our brothers in Lviv. Some of our elderly people are running out of the medicines they need regularly.
We do what we can. We stay in touch with our brothers who have taken up arms. All of them are alive so far and safe. We pray for them daily.
I lose count of how many times the air raid sirens go off. Earlier today, I was dismayed to hear an automatic rifle firing, very loud, in the neighborhood. The shelling is a threat, and we sort of get used to it, but this kind of shooting is new, and it’s hard to get used to.
We are seeing some tension between those who’ve stayed in cities who are now encircled and those who fled. It’s natural. But we need to respect those choices, both those who stayed and those who left. We pray God will remove those tensions in our churches. Our country needs unity at this point. We don’t need to look for traitors or those with weak spirits. We need to each of us to do the work that God has called us to where we are. Pray we will be able to stay connected with each other as a church.
We have Bible study and prayer in the evening and exchange with each other on a Bible text in the mornings.
Pray for our brothers who took up arms and are on the front lines. Pray for our volunteers who are exhausted and working very long hours. There is a lot of anxiety. Pray we’ll be able to get rest in the midst of air raid sirens. We don’t know how much longer this will last, so we need to learn to pace ourselves.
It’s critically important to spend time in the Word and prayer. I encourage them to spend time in the Word and prayer in the morning before you go about your business, and in the evenings.
It’s unhealthy to spend too much time watching the news. Of course we want to know what’s happening all over the country, but the anxiety will mount incredibly and it will be hard to focus on what’s in front of you.
Pray the Lord will unite the international community in supporting Ukraine through financial help, military aid, and humanitarian help. The economy hasn’t been operational for a month, and it is in ruins.
Please keep praying. It is vital that our sovereign God intervene. If Ukraine wins, it will be a tremendous demonstration of God’s power. Ukraine is so much smaller and such a victory would give God glory. We are seeing people come to faith, and people are very encouraged by our military’s progress.
But even if the Lord doesn’t allow Ukraine to win, and we suffer even more casualties and tragedies, pray for the church not to become hardened. Pray that the church will survive and remain faithful to the Lord, regardless of the outcome of war.
Thank you for this opportunity to be connected to a larger Christian community. We feel the isolation keenly as the noose tightens around Kyiv. Pray we will maintain our connection with the larger international community like we have here, so we can carry on our ministry.