Tuesday, 22 March 2022 02:07

March 21, 2022 News Update

21 March 2022

Dear Friends,

The war continues. It may seem far from America, but how it grieves me to see videos of the destruction of places I know very well, places where I have stood. Just this morning I was talking with Oleg when he said suddenly, “I have to go, the air raid sirens have started.” Earlier in the conversation he said that there were no places that can be considered safe because the Russians may target any building, be it a hospital, a church, a residence.

There seems to be s little bit of a lull in the Russian offensive around Kyiv right now. We don’t know why: supply problems? tactical problems? But we are sure that the heavy offense will begin again soon.

One of the couples from our church are part of the territorial guard or militia for their village. The Ukrainians are taking advantage of the lull to train these volunteers. She wrote that she and her husband were involved in training yesterday with amachine gun and grenade launcher. He he did great with both weapons. Her hands were too weak to handle the grenade launcher, but she did fine with the machine gun.

Learning to use a weapon when there is no live person in front of you is one thing, but having to use it in the life and death horror of combat is another. Can you imagine your wife training to mow down the enemy with a machine gun? The stark reality is that the enemy may soon be in their own front yard. When I think of who she was and what her life was like a little over a month ago, there has been such an incredible transition. War rapidly and radically changes everything. But it is do or die; fight or become a slave. I am so proud of the courage they are demonstrating — courage that stems from their relationship with God and His Word.

This woman has a sister who had been living in Mariupol, a city in southern Ukraine which has endured horrible bombing over the past few weeks. Almost 90% of it buildings have been destroyed. Her sister has been “relocated” to Russia by Russian soldiers, her passport confiscated, and she was told that she had to stay there for the next three years. She also reported that more than 2,000 children have been taken from Mariupol by the Russians, snatched from their parents. What will become of them?

I just heard from an American friend, a missionary who has been working in Russia for the past 25 years. He and I worked together in Belarus for 3 years when I first went to the mission field. Please pray for Steve and his wife, Natalie. Because of sanctions against Russia, he cannot use credit or debit cards, he cannot receive money from any bank, and the ruble has no value. He can’t leave, either, because he must care for her aged parents who cannot travel.

I am blessed that so many of you have written of your unflagging prayers for Ukraine and our people there. Please, labor intensely in intercession.

Because of the multitude of tender mercies,