12/31/2022 – Belgorod Dnestrovsky: A New Year coming

From Lyuda (Day 311): Dear brothers and sisters, It’s the last day of the year. The New Year is coming but everything is not the way we used to celebrate it. During the Soviet Union time New Year was a big holiday, we didn’t have Christmas and celebration of the New Year was a substitution of it. We decorated New Year tree, gave and received gifts, organized parties. All my childhood memories are connected with a New Year. But some people secretly celebrated Christmas even then.

Everything changed when Ukraine became independent, people started celebrating Christmas reviving the traditions of their grandparents. People still celebrate new year but the main holiday of the season is Christmas now.

The youth group

Of course, there will be no celebrations this year, no fireworks, no parties. People will stay at home and go to bed early hoping that air alarms will not wake them up. But not the youth of our church. They want to celebrate and asked to let them stay in the church all night. We are glad that they want to be together and have fun. Our elder Valeriy will be with them all night and our youth leader Ivan will be with them too if he is free from his army service this night. Sergey and I plan to go to the church in the evening, but we won’t stay the whole night there, we will go home before the curfew starts at 11 p.m.

George when he served in the army as a chaplain a few years ago

We had our weekly Zoom meeting with the counselors of our center and everybody was glad to meet our new counselor George. He gave his testimony and answered our questions. His story is one of many stories of God’s love and mercy. In the beginning of the 90s George’s life was connected with drugs and crime. He was a part of a criminal group that controlled the northern part of Odessa. But eventually he came to the point when he felt being in a deadlock with no purpose in his life and no future. Once when he came to visit his mother he found a New Testament in her room. In the end of the book there were instructions how one can invite Jesus in his life and a prayer of repentance. George kneeled and read that prayer. The instructions in the book said that the life was supposed to be changed after the prayer but nothing happened. He read the prayer again and was waiting to see something supernatural but there were no visible changes, so he threw the book away.

Next day as he was walking in his neighborhood the old lady who was his neighbor stopped and talked to him. She saw his miserable state and invited him to come to the Baptist church. He told her he won’t come but at that moment something very unusual happened. He heard his inner voice telling him: “You are not afraid of anything, you are not afraid of police, you have no fear of the worst criminals and you are afraid to go to the church.” He went to the church that evening and very soon he received Jesus as his Savior.

We wish you Happy New Year!
In Christ,

4 responses to “12/31/2022 – Belgorod Dnestrovsky: A New Year coming”

  1. Happy New Year! Prayers continue for an end to this war and for your protection. So thankful as we read how God is using you and Sergey.


  2. Dear Lyuda,
    Happy New Year!!! Praying in this new year that the war will end and there will not just be peace, but many people following hard after Jesus Christ!
    Thank you for sharing George’s testimony, God is so good!
    I pray the youth will have a great celebration today!
    Love in Christ,


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