3/8/2023 – POWs returned

Today’s picture – 130 defenders of Ukraine returned home from Russian captivity

From Ira Kapitonova in Kyiv (Day 377):

Your way, O God, is holy.
What god is great like our God?
You are the God who works wonders;
you have made known your might among the peoples.
Psalm 77:13-14

130 Ukrainian POWs returned home today in a prisoner swap. Most of them are wounded and need medical care.

We rejoice for every man and woman returning home from the Russian captivity, and once again, I am thinking about their families and what it was (and will be) like for them.

Reading the news about the POW swap, I was especially captivated by the story shared by Gennadiy Mokhnenko, a military chaplain and pastor from Mariupol. He is world-known for bringing homeless drug-addicted kids off the streets of Mariupol, rehabilitating them, and accepting them into his family (you can look up the “Almost Holy” documentary about him and his ministry).

This is what Gennadiy Mokhnenko writes,

I’m sitting sobbing… I’m choking on tears of gratitude to God… The exchange of prisoners… The [man in the picture] is one of the pastors of our Church, my friend Anatolii Voloshyn! For 30 years, we served God and people together. In recent months, he was considered dead.

In the blocked Mariupol, Anatoly took up arms to defend the city. He was seriously wounded… Then Azovstal… Very long captivity… After the explosion in the Olenivka colony [on 29 July 2022, Russians blew up a building with Ukrainian POWs to cover up their war crimes], Anatolii’s children were told their father died. His sons published an obituary. I sobbed all night but said nothing, holding on to hope… My hope was not in vain! Anatolii is home in Ukraine!!!

I can only imagine what this family went through – knowing your father is blocked in Mariupol, wounded, taken captive, considered dead, but then he suddenly returns home! One could say that God raised Anatolii from the dead, and I praise God for working miracles in the most desperate circumstances.

While the news from the front line is obscure (we know that Bakhmut keeps standing, we know that we lose some of the best soldiers there, and the enemy keeps pressing), we keep looking for reasons to be thankful. We haven’t had a power outage in 4 weeks! It is so precious to see reports that one city after another can afford to have streetlights on. Ukraine is becoming a brighter place, this time literally.

As we pray for Ukraine, let us remember to pray for other nations as well. Our world is in turmoil, and no place is safe from the lies and evil schemes of the wicked one. Oppressive governments, corrupt leaders, deceptive news, immoral propaganda, violence, broken families – you name it. Let us pray for God’s will to be done in all the earth.

Please, pray for the country of Georgia. Its government wants to pass a “foreign agent” law. Russia passed a similar law in 2012. According to this law, anyone who receives “support” from outside Russia is considered a “foreign agent” and becomes subject to numerous restrictions (the list of rules keeps expanding). Quite a few Christian organizations have already suffered the consequences of this law. Now, when the Georgian parliament initiated a similar law, it led to public protests. Please, pray for the protection of the protesters from police brutality and further persecution. Pray for the truth to prevail in Georgia so that it wouldn’t be turned into another Russian puppet (as is the case with Belarus). Pray for wisdom and justice, as Georgia has been suffering from Russian invasions and occupation for many years.

Lord, shine your light.

4 responses to “3/8/2023 – POWs returned”

  1. Our Father in heaven,
    Deliver us from evil.
    Give us today our daily bread.
    Lead us not into temptation.
    Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
    Hallowed be Thy name.
    Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven
    For Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory.


  2. “Roads go ever ever on
    Under cloud and under star,
    Yet feet that wandering have gone
    Turn at last to home afar.
    Eyes that fire and sword have seen
    And horror in the halls of stone
    Look at last on meadows green
    And trees and hills they long have known.”
    (J.R.R.Tolkien, veteran of WW I and WWII, “The Hobbit”)


  3. Heavenly Father, Sovereign One, bare Your mighty arm and let Your light shine so that people can be delivered from darkness, especially the darkness of falsehood!


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