January 25 Update

I am finally back in Ukraine after a 3 1/2 day trip.  The first part was good as I flew on our nice airplanes from Orlando to Amsterdam and from Amsterdam to Warsaw where I spent the night in a hotel by the airport.  The next day Lillya arrived in Warsaw and we took the train to Kiev.  I’m thinking that a train from Poland which is part of the European Union will be so nice and modern – and most of all comfortable.  We had booked a sleeping compartment for us.  Imagine our surprise when we saw a train that is probably older than I am – no exaggeration!  Our little compartment was so small with 3 beds stacked on top of each other.  After we put our luggage in, there was only about 5 inches left for our feet.  And with the bunk beds, there was no place to sit – only hunched over which gets tiring very quick!  Poor Lillya had to climb up to the second bunk.  I won’t even try to describe the bathroom which everyone used.  One American missionary wrote years ago that using the bathroom on the train was like trying to ride a bucking bronco!  And what a good description that is.  

MY EXPECTATION:

MY REALITY:

I’m adapting to the times with no electricity pretty well as I was expecting it.  But when there is no water, it is the hardest.  I now have a generator I can use for the electricity, but that doesn’t bring the water from the community’s water tank.  I hope I get to take a shower tonight!

Valentina and I are planning our trip down to the Kherson Region to get the first 5 clinics set up.  Most of the medical equipment has already been delivered there and we will see if Vadim is willing to drive there because it is so dangerous.  The doctor we are working with there told Valentina this morning that we should not take the train to Kherson as it is being bombed regularly.  She told us to take it to Nickolaiv and drive to the villages from there.  As soon as I know the exact dates we will be going I will be sending out an urgent request for fervent prayer as we know the danger involved.  The doctors in these clinics didn’t believe we would actually do this until they started receiving the supplies and equipment!  Needless to say they are so very excited.

I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to see everyone here.  I am so very grateful to be here and anxious to get out and start seeing people.  The last couple of days we had our assembly line set up to pack the food packages we give.  You wouldn’t believe the amount of food that goes into one of them – I think they weigh about 30 pounds each!  But it’s actually a fun time for us – lots of laughter and joking and the time passes very quickly.  We are preparing for the distribution of 800 food packages to the village of Rakitno for the very poor refugees there.  We are also preparing for the Chaplain’s vans that are going out to the East and South.

The Chaplains are now delivering some of the generators we bought for the small villages so at least one building will have light and heat!  Everyone is working so hard to help as much as is humanly possible.  We all know how dire the situation is in those small villages that have been occupied and bombed.

Loading one of the generators into the Chaplain’s van:

And starting to load food packages:

Vadim and Tonya returned safely from their last trip to the East.  They went to a couple of the villages where they were last time and then ventured further into some other ones.  Tonya had several stories, but one of them that really touched me was that most people asked for a Bible before they asked for food!  In the midst of all this horror, it is awesome to see God bringing something good out of it and that is a renewed hunger for Him!

Following are a couple more stories from Tonya:

“During this trip we re-visited four villages in the de-occupied areas.  When we went the first time, the people mostly just picked up their food and left.  But this time they wanted to talk to us.  One woman went home and came back with several warm fried potato patties.  She told us, “It’s for you because it’s cold now.  When I took one, I started crying because I knew that she brought us all that she had.”

“Another woman I recognized was waving from the crowd.  She is the wife of the man who had cancer and last time we came to their home and talked with them.  We also gave them some warm clothes, diapers, and food.  Before we left, I asked him if he wanted to invite Jesus into his heart, and he prayed to receive Jesus right then.  This time we found out that he died 3 days after our visit.  Praise the Lord that we know he is now with Jesus.”

“Another man shared that he no longer wanted to live – with all the bombing and people dying everywhere, he couldn’t see any sense in this life anymore.  He asked his daughter to donate his body so his organs could be used to save lives.  As he cried, I knew the best thing I could do was just hug him and let love pour out of my heart to him.”

More pictures from their trip:

And a few pictures from 2 of our Chaplains as they give out help in the  areas being hardest hit right now:

How blessed we are to be able to bring God’s light into this evil darkness!  Pray for all of us to remain healthy and strong – both physically and spiritually.  The darkness tries to overcome, but it never can put out the light of God!

January 10 Update from Nita

It’s beginning to feel like we re buying everything in Ukraine! But what a blessing to be able to reach the people in these little villages and continue to help the military stay warm and healthy!

Since I wrote last, we were able to buy a large generator for an orphanage in Krivoy Rog District. Although the orphans were evacuated when the war started, more have come since then, along with some refugees looking for a place to stay. As the Director told my staff, “We have no electricity and no heat and we are worried how we will keep the children warm.” Who can say no to a request for help like that!

My staff has been busy buying, storing and packaging up food for delivery to the East and South of Ukraine. We loaded 3 vans going to villages in the Regions of Kherson, Mickolaiv, and Mariupol. Each van is carrying 100 food packages, hygiene products, candles, generators, coffee, tea and more – and Bibles. They are also taking aid to the military in the form of warm long john’s, hats, socks, heated shoe insoles, etc.

On the 17th Vadim and Tonya, and hopefully another van, will head back the the area they were at last time in order to reach more villages, loaded with much of the same things as the others above. They will also be carrying water purification pills for each person in strips of 10 each.

But the main thing for all of them is that they are taking the love and provision of Jesus to a hungry and needy people. The spiritual feeding is as necessary as the provisions for the body!

The stories they hear are always heart breaking – all of them are going to very dangerous places where bombs are still raining down and land mines are everywhere! Please pray God’s protection over them! Following are a few stories from Vadim and Tonya’s last trip to some small villages in the East:

“In one village we went to each house, and asked people to come to the Central Square. In one hour there were 80 people and approximately 20 kids. We made tea, coffee, and gave Christmas candy boxes for the children and sandwiches. We sang Christmas songs, and shared about the meaning of Christmas. It was incredible. The people gave thanks that we brought a drop of joy into their lives. At the end we gave food packages, hygiene products and warm clothes.

“The next village we went to only had 5 people left. The other buildings are empty. No one ever comes there to help. There are no grocery stores or pharmacy. We met three people there. We had tea standing near our van and sang Christmas songs. One man gave me a hug and cried. He asked for Bible. It was sincere and wonderful.”

“It was not an easy trip. We could only drive in the middle of the road because the sides were mined. The roads are very narrow. We also visited three more small villages but we we couldn’t drive close to them because the dirt road had been mined. We had to carry the food up the hill (keep I’m mind that each package weighs over 20 pounds). We gathered people as we did at each village. Some of their homes had been destroyed, and they lived at the friends’ houses.”

Needless to say both Tonya and Vadim came back physically and spiritually exhausted as do the Chaplains. But all of them are ready to go again to more of the villages where no help is being given.

Valentina is busy working with the doctor in charge of the first 5 village clinics we will help in the Kherson Region. I will be returning to Ukraine soon, and once I get rested up from my trip, we will go there to personally see the clinics and distribute the supplies so they can reopen. It’s a good thing we have lots of storage space at our offices for all the things we are buying!!

In addition to all the above, we gave out baby boxes and baby beds to some of the pregnant refugees.

Our hearts are touched by your continued generosity which enables us to do all that we are doing. And your prayers are the fuel that keeps us going and safe! Please pray for my trip back. I leave on the 19th and should arrive in Kiev on the 22nd. Lillya will meet me in Warsaw and we will travel back to Ukraine together on the train. Thank you again and again!

Podcast with Nita

Check out this podcast with Nita. May God’s peace be with you!

Part 1 Nita Hanson’s Story Serving In Ukraine

https://www.buzzsprout.com/2078493/11940431?fbclid=IwAR3H_mAp8tvAp91KY6M-cDpUZSN9ggkGbxpbjFkTJ-9sJTFUdnmV9_YZpLk

Part 2 Nita Hanson’s Story Serving in Ukriane

https://www.buzzsprout.com/2078493/11993607-episode-3-peace-through-surrender-part-2-nita-hanson-s-story?fbclid=IwAR0oABNq-BxYKEJZSVSGoynDcCScjLX7DXr61pZow7z1EmXN19-5MSaulC8

The religion of Christianity can feel empty. 

God intended it to be abundant. 

Life can feel empty. Simply going from one job to another or one relationship to another may have moments of fulfillment but many long for a greater sense of purpose and meaningful adventure.

God’s desire is for your life to have meaning and to be a positive influence in the world. 

Nita Hanson has served for over 26 years in Ukraine.   Some have called her the “Mother Teresa” of Ukraine.   From a simple beginning of holding babies to helping to care for people in this war-torn country, she has brought peace and hope to the poorest of the poor.  

In this podcast you’ll discover how to experience peace through surrender following Jesus’ example of surrender.   Her life strategy is simple – God says to do something and she does it.    

Nita’s story brings hope to the hopeless.   A heart that listens to God will be led to those in deepest need to offer and discover peace in all circumstances.  

How do we find peace when your loved ones are facing death through war? 

In this second interview with Nita Hanson, who has served the people of Ukraine for the past 36 years, you’ll hear how she sought God to find peace so that she would be freed to serve those facing wars. 

She found peace by being brutally real with God.  God can handle whatever we give him. 

 You, too, can find peace in unimaginable situations.   This very personal testimony is profoundly simple and simply profound. 

 You’ll also hear how her ministry, God’s Hidden Treasures, has been able to be the hands and feet of God’s love in Ukraine.  

 After listing to this podcast, pass it along to others you know who face unimaginable things.   

December 24 Update

As I write this in the comfort of my nice, warm home, bright with lights, I think of all those living in Ukraine with no heat, light or water in the middle of a very cold winter; and I pray for God’s almighty hand to cover them and protect them.

This last week my Vadim and Tonya went into harm’s way in the East of Ukraine to bring much needed food, warm clothes, sandwiches, bread, hygiene products and New Testament Bibles to people who are just trying to survive.  Tonya took her guitar and gave several impromptu Christian concerts – she also gave her special hugs and love to everyone she saw.  She and Vadim spoke words of encouragement and support, along with the practical help.  They also took special boxes of Christmas candies for each child there.  On Friday they returned safely home thanks to many of your prayers.

Loading them up:

And distributing in the East:

And some of the buildings they passed on the way:

The Chaplains also went, taking much of the same things as they journeyed into harm’s way in the South of Ukraine.  And of course all of them heard many heart piercing stories along the way.  We are thanking God for the safe return of all of them.

Thanks to the generosity of so many of you, we are allocating another $50,000 to the clinic project.  This means that as of now we will be helping 21 clinics in the recently liberated areas get up and running.  We are still trying to make contact with the head doctors in the East, but due to the constant bombing and lack of electricity, we haven’t been successful yet.  But we have a list of 20 clinics in the Kherson and Mickolayiv Regions already.  We are now working with them regarding what we will be buying.  Then my office can begin buying the supplies and, hopefully, sometime in January begin distributing them to the clinics.

Beginning the first part of January we will be ramping up everything.  Valentina’s priest from the Orthodox Church in Bill Tserkva is making trips into the areas being shelled.  We will be filling 2 vans for him each month.  This means that we will be sending 6 vans to areas in the East and South each month.  Each van will be filled with food, sandwiches, bread, hygiene products AND A GENERATOR.  We will be buying generators large enough to power one building in each Village they travel to so that there will a place where people can come to get warm and charge their phones.

My office has literally been packaging hundreds of food bags, buying hundreds of sandwiches, bread, food stuffs, and all the other things we send.  The logistics are staggering when you consider the size of my staff.  In addition they are still making home visits and taking food to those we regularly serve.  Now we will be sending twice as many vans as before, along with a generator for each one.  And, while doing all of this, we have to make sure we make contact with those who can legally sign all the documents.  It boggles my mind that the red tape continues, even in the midst of impossible situations.

Please pray that this new year will bring peace and an end to this horrible war.  It is hard to imagine it has been 10 months already, but still Ukraine stands.

Thankful you for your faithful prayers and your generosity which enable us to keep expanding our outreach to those in need.  May God bless you and keep you and may His face shine upon you and give you His peace that passes all understanding.

December 9 Update

I want to start off with the good news.  Thanks to the efforts of the Bakersfield Rotary Club and Claudine Schooley, GHT is receiving a grant for $50,000 to help fund 10 medical clinics in some of the villages which have recently been liberated.  We are adding an additional $10,000 so that each clinic will have $6,000 to help them rebuild.

The Russians are like locusts – they are destroying and taking everything in sight.  So we know that all the clinics in the liberated areas have been completely stripped.  The head doctor for the whole Kherson Region has given us a list of 10 villages that still have a doctor and a building and what they need to restart their clinics.  The United Nations is providing many of the simple things like bandages etc., but we will provide the rest.  We are hoping to get a similar list from the East of Ukraine, but already the head doctor for the Nickolaiv Region is sending us a list.  It’s going to be hard to choose which clinics to help, but thank God we can help 10 of them!  I am praying that God will continue to provide the funds to help even more!

Our chaplains loaded up this week and headed out to the areas still under fire – even those recently liberated are still being bombed on a regular basis.  My heart is broken each time I see the devastation and the faces of these poor, ordinary people who are just trying to survive – what possible military value the Russians think they have is beyond my ability to understand.  The majority of those left in the villages in the East and South are still there because they have no money and no way to get to safer areas.  The pictures of the desperation on the faces of the people is more than heartbreaking.  I wish I could pick them all up and keep them warm, fed and safe.

  Picture of a Ukrainian soldier on watch

We sent them with food packages, and hygiene products (toothpaste and brushes, soap, toilet paper and detergents) for the people; and for the military sweets, coffee, tea, thermal underwear and socks, hats, scarfs, warm fleece shirts, warming insoles, disposable showers, etc.  Following are some of the stories they heard in their own words:

“A young man from Siversk, Bakhmut district has lived in the basement for 9 months. Before they had electricity, but no gas since April.  He cooks on the hand made iron stove. He says that not all people have such a stove. That’s why they have to make a fire in the yard and cook food. He says that there is not enough cereals and meat. You have to walk 3 kilometers to get some water. It’s very dangerous. Some of the people he knew never came back after such a trip for water. They lack bread. It is delivered to the grocery store once a week and sometimes it is moldy.  They get help once every two weeks or even once a month. There is no food in grocery stores.”

“A family from the Kherson Region had their own farm. After the Russian’s came they had to leave everything and flee to save their lives. When Kherson was set free, their parents decided to come back home. They found their farm and all the equipment they worked with was burnt down completely.  It was necessary to find the courage and strength to keep living. But their industriousness and willpower will help them.”

“A woman from Bakhmut shared how she had to leave the city. Now there are tough battles for Bakhmut and the city is razed to the ground.  There is a huge hole because of a missile in the wall of this lady’s home. The woman used to make fires and cook in the street, but she couldn’t make her hands clean after this for a while. Her son found a car and almost forcibly evacuated his parents. It was so hard to leave home. After she left she couldn’t sleep for a while and had to get used to silence again.”

“A man told about his aunt who lived in Mariupol. One day she went to get some water. After she came back home her house was destroyed completely. All her relatives who were in the house perished.”

The Chaplains told us about a pastor and his son they know who were from Nova Kakhovka. The Russians came to their home and took them somewhere.  Later both the pastor and his son were found dead. They were tortured so badly that it was hard to recognize their bodies.

This is a few stories of the daily horror and terror that people in Ukraine are living through.  And now even the electricity and water is cut off in most areas.  Winter has arrived and temperatures are dipping into the 20’s.  Can you imagine having no place to get warm, no food to eat (or cook if you do get food) and living in the dark around 14 hours each day?

This week my staff visited refugees in some of the villages and gave out food packets.  In the same villages they also made home visits and handed out food to the people we help regularly.  Following is a story from one of the refugees:

“The lady said that she used to live all life with her husband.  He has amputated legs. They were in such a hurry to leave that he didn’t take his prosthetics. When they came to Pyshcyky they met the Village headman who promised to help them.  The Man received a wheelchair.  Sometimes such critical conditions unite people and make them closer.”

And on it goes . . . . .  With the Russian’s constant bombing of the infrastructure, life all over Ukraine has become uncertain.  It is cold – it is dark, but the Ukrainian spirit remains strong.  Again and again I hear:  “It is going to be hard, but we will cope.”  The desire to remain free is overcoming the daily pain and horror.  I am reminded of a passage in John 1:5. “And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend (overcome) it.”  Jesus is the light shining in the darkness and nothing and no one can or will extinguish it!

NOVEMBER 26 UPDATE

Thursday I had the privilege of having Thanksgiving dinner with my family for the first time in over 20 years.  My granddaughter, Mandy, and her 3 kids couldn’t come, but everyone else was there.  We had a wonderful time together with lots of food, games and laughter!

Following is a story from the East of Ukraine:

“A 71-year-old man had to move to a basement after his apartment was destroyed in a fire caused by shelling. He is too afraid to leave the shelter now.  “To go to a shop or to take garbage out is an act of bravery,” he says. “You never know whether you will come back or not.  Pensioners cannot withdraw money and people lost their jobs, so they rely heavily on food supplies volunteers deliver.”

Local authorities are calling on people to be evacuated as soon as possible. They warn that many residents will not survive the coming winter.   “We tell people – do you understand that even if you don’t starve to death, then you may simply freeze to death?”   But many of them refuse to leave saying that this is their home and where would they go and how would they live with no money.

This week our driver, Vadim, joined a trip organized by Pastor Myckola to the East of Ukraine to give food, water, and other life giving supplies to people who have, and are, literally living through what feels like hell on earth.

Following is one of the stories they were told:

This city was occupied for 8 month. The people had to stay in the shelters for months and had no chance to go out. They used to eat once a week. They didn’t have any water at all because the water providing system was damaged. 

But notwithstanding all this there is no grumbling or bitterness among people. People give thanks for water. They really need our water purification pills. People are hungry. Three kilograms (approx. 6.9 pounds) of cereal had to be enough for one month. They are physically and spiritually exhausted and they really need help.  They are so depressed now because there is no electricity in their area.

Pastor Myckola cooperates with and helps the inhabitants of Balaklia and nearby villages. At the beginning of the war he didn’t leave because his people were frightened and the church gave them hope. Twice he was taken to the torture chamber and tortured. The last time he fainted and he was on the edge of life and death.

His church gives help to people several times a month. It’s important for them to have regular help.  It opens their hearts and they visit church.

Also they met a woman from the church who is called “key holder”.  She rode by bicycle through the enemy’s checkpoints, bringing food and water to needy people. She asked God to close the eyes of the enemy.  Last spring, when she was planting cabbage in the garden, the shelling began. She laid on the ground and after it was over she stood up and kept working.

The people have had to adjust to the dreadful realities of life there now.  It’s important for them to know that someone cares and that they are not alone.“

So many heart-breaking stories and scenes of total destruction.

Good news:  we finally received the container of mobility aids we bought several months ago –  over 200 wheelchairs, over 200 walkers and crutches and canes!  Thank you Lord!

As you know, we have been trying to locate the refugees in the villages in our area so we can help.  One village we have worked with for many years said they have over 5,000.  They have identified 800 of them who are really suffering and are asking us to provide food packages for all 800.  This alone will cost $10,930.  Please be praying for the logistics of all this as it’s a huge undertaking to do  in a short time.

I could write several more pages of the day to day work GHT is doing, but then this update would probably be over 10 pages long.  Suffice it to say that in addition to all our help with the war effort, we continue our normal work of delivering mobility aids, feeding those in need, and home visits.  And they are doing this even with the daily electricity blackouts and lack of heat.  May Gods bless and strengthen our staff as they continue to bring hope and meet the vast needs of a country at war.  

Below is a picture of Ukraine where you can see a whole country without light:

November 12 Update

I’ve been “on the road” pretty much since November 4th – first to Ohio (where I had a wonderful time and met some very special new friends) – thank you New Berlin Church!  On November 9th I left for California.  Since a hurricane was quickly coming, the Orlando Int’l airport closed at 4 pm – my plane pulled back from the gate at 4 – a few minutes later and we couldn’t have gone.

There is so much to tell you, but my thoughts are so concentrated on the joy of the city of Kherson being liberated that I’m having a hard time getting past it!

Following is a quote from one man in Kherson when they finally realized that that were free for the first time in months:

“It’s been overwhelming since this morning,” Alexsei said, describing how people waving Ukrainian flags had emerged, singing and dancing, onto the streets of the city where he was born and bred.

“No-one is going to sleep tonight.”  Only a handful of Ukrainian soldiers, he said, had so far shown up in downtown Kherson.  Everybody wanted to embrace them. They didn’t know what to do.

Alexei said he expected a blackout for a couple of days, as Ukrainian forces assert their authority and, presumably, hunt for booby traps and Russian stragglers.

But, for now, clearly intoxicated by the speed with which events have unfolded, Alexei is struggling to take it all in.  It’s free now. It’s so different. Everyone is crying since the morning.”

Kherson is vitally important to Ukraine – right now it stands between Russia and Odessa and is a port city famous for shipbuilding.  It is the only big city Russia has managed to take.  All over the city there were bill boards where the Russians had posted how Kherson now belonged to Russia forever.  Those were being quickly taken down by the now free Ukrainians still left in the city.

Now we are all holding our breathe waiting to see what kind of revenge Russia will take on Ukraine because they have been humiliated by the Ukrainian army once again.

In the meantime, GHT continues to hand out food, medicine, clothing and love.  Our Chaplains filled up their vehicles with packages of food, dried soups, medicines for the people, along with hygiene items.  For the military we loaded them up with thermal underwear, socks, food and medicines.  They are still going into harms way in the South and East of Ukraine.

Here’s two of the reports I received from the office:

First report:

“300 food packets were done.  Volunteers received humanitarian, thermo layers, socks for army.  Area defense from our region received thermal layers, food packets, sleeping bags.  Also five militaries who are on the first line of defense  received sleeping bags and thermal layers.

On Monday chaplains picked up everything for the trip to Kherson region.  It includes food packets for civilians whose area was just set free -50 packages, along with hygiene products (personal care) – soap, detergents, toothpaste, toothbrushes, toilet paper.

For the military – 43 kilograms of fast cooking food.  We gave from the humanitarian aid we received from Norway:  50 portions of dried soups, pickled vegetables, coffee, tea, cookies. Thermo layer 10 sets, 10 pairs of socks. Hygiene products including 50 disposable showers.”

Second Report:

“The next list of items were given to the chaplain from church “Word of faith“ from Nova Kakhovka Kherson region:

– Thermo layer  -20

– Socks -40 pairs

– Underwear -20 

– Cookies, waffles, gingerbreads for militaries -5 boxes

– Tea,coffee

– Disposable shower -100

– Hygiene items (toothpaste, toothbrush, soap, detergent) – for  

        military and civilians

– Food  (fast to cook) 40 kilograms

– Pickled vegetables

A pregnant woman refugee was given a baby box.”  And on it goes!

We also had a distribution to 63 refugee families this week, along with another distribution of school supplies for the refugee kids.  Below are some of the stories we heard:

“A girl from Kupiansk told how they lived without light, water and gas for one month. In their city there are so many torture chambers. People just disappeared. It was a miracle that her friend survived. He was severely injured and they threw him out the town to die. She also was lucky to escape from the occupiers who wanted to kidnap her. She said that the people lived in fear all the time.”

“A woman from Bakhmut left. Their city was under permanent shelling. But nevertheless the mayor of the city tried to make life better for the people who stayed so the people could have electricity. In our city she found an apartment for free. And she believes that they will be able to go back to their native city. She says: “It’s OK. We’ll come back and rebuild everything.”

“A mother and her two kids left from Zaporizhzhia. Her kids were afraid to go to bed because they can die at night.  They asked their Mom: “Will they not kill us?”  In March they lost their jobs. Their meals consisted of cereals and vegetables which were gathered from their own.  The father had to stay to take care of their home and give help to the parents who were not able to leave.”

Signing off for now from California.  Please pray especially for the cities to be able to repair the power plants that have been bombed so light, heat and water can be restored!

October 30 Update

The attacks on Ukraine’s utility facilities continued throughout this week.  Russia is trying everything they can to break the people’s spirits or even freeze them to death during winter.  The government’s schedule of 4 hours on and 4 hours off, was quickly changed to:  “We need to prepare for emergency power outages for an indefinite period”.  That very day the electricity in our area was off the whole day.

On Monday the Solar Company told us it will cost approximately $10,000 for a system to power the entire office (6,500 square feet).  Years ago I made the decision to switch from gas heating to wood burning heaters and we purchased 2 of them.  Since then we have saved between $12,000 to $15,000 every year as gas prices have soared.  With the purchase of a solar system we will not only save money but have total independence from outside sources to power our office.  We are now in a long waiting line to get this project done.  Please pray that they will be able to get to us before ice and snow make it impossible for them to install it before Spring.

In spite of everything, GHT continues to function – mobility aids, medical help and food continue to be delivered personally to people in need, along with our prayers.  I think our motto should be: “neither war, nor lack of light, water and heating will deter us from God’s work!”

Through contacts Valentina has made we gave some of the the thermal underwear and socks we bought, along with some sleeping bags and food to the military.

We had another day of assembling another 100 school bags for refugee students and were able to deliver them to the Social Office in our city.

On Wednesday we went to one of the villages close to us where part of the staff distributed food and toys to refugees there.  Another part of the staff was out distributing food to needy families who  are permanent residents of the village.

On Thursday, all of the staff were at the Social Office in BT giving out food, toys and Bibles to close to 70 families.  Because there was no electricity, they had to make a lot of changes, but that never stops GHT.  Everyone received what they needed!  Below are some stories Marina heard that day.  Through some of them you hear the pain of families that are divided between Russia and Ukraine.  Unbelievably, in spite of everything there are still those who support Russia.  Here are the pictures and stories:

One family from Zaporizhzhia left because the Russian occupiers told them they would take their kids away from them if they didn’t let them attend Russian schools.  Unfortunately there are traitors in the city who made lists of those loyal to Ukraine and their names were put on the list.   Their grown son stayed behind because he supports Russia and now he won’t communicate with them.

Another family left their village to go to where they thought it was safer.  But when they got there it was also attacked and they had to hide in a basement for one month.  The occupiers took people’s cars and homes and people had to live in the streets.  They said people were robbed and tortured.  When they fled, they had to pass through 17 block posts of Russians.

There was another family who had fled to Sloviansk when the war started in 2014.  Then this year Russia occupiers came there and they had to escape again.  They owned their own business, but the occupiers took everything they had – home and business and they were declared “enemies of the state”.

Many others were mourning because some members of their family stayed behind and won’t communicate with them now.  So much pain and sorrow!

I read an article the other day about some of the medical people who have stayed in the war zones to provide care for those wounded by missiles and bombs.  What courage they have to daily go into harms way to give medical help to those in need.  Below are a few statements from this interview:

If we, the doctors, leave, who will work(help)?  There was never a time when we didn’t get there (where we were needed) because of shelling or because of something scary.  If a person is lying there without an arm or a leg, aren’t they scared? The main thing for us is to work with a cool head.”  “

“We always try to get to the right address, despite the shelling.”  Being “on the spot, sometimes we have to lie under a fence, in a ditch, in a forest, or in some kind of building, while cluster shells are exploding around us.”

“The only thing you can’t get used to is the deaths of children. It is very scary when missiles hit playgrounds and kindergartens.”

Thank you God for men and women with that kind of courage and dedication.

Thank you again for your prayers and support.  We must continue to lift up Ukraine before God and plead for his mercy and intervention.

October 22 Update

Most of you have probably seen that Russia is now targeting Ukraine’s infrastructure.  Over 40% of it has now been destroyed, plus Russia controls the Nuclear power plants.  Russia can’t beat the Ukrainian army so they are going to try to freeze and starve the Ukrainian people to death.  They are predicting that the average temperature in Ukraine this winter will be 20 degrees.

Russia is losing the battle down in the Kherson so they are evacuating their army and people.  It looks like Russia has planted explosive charges around the huge dam in that area so they can flood it and destroy everything and everyone left there.  There is no end to the evil they are raining down on Ukraine.

This last week most everything was closed again because of the massive attacks over the whole country.  Our office was not able to do the refugee distributions, but it still managed to carry on with our other work.  Today a schedule was announced of electrical blackouts which will be in effect everyday for the foreseeable future.  Basically, it is 4 hours on and 4 hours off everyday.  No electricity means no water or gas either.

 Our office has been looking for alternatives and on Monday a consultant is coming to give us an estimate on how much it would cost to install a solar system to power the office.  We are buying as much gasoline as we can store to power our generators and also propane gas for cooking and, of course, candles.  Thankfully we have our own well.  We will also be buying as much food as we can so we can continue to feed people.  I also told them to buy power packs for the office so we can keep calling people and have internet usage.  Monday we will be talking about all other means possible so we can keep working.

I’m telling all of them to stock up on warm blankets, socks, thermal underwear, candles, water and food for their families.

Our Chaplains and another volunteer we work with were in the war zones in the South and East of Ukraine, taking much needed supplies to people who are already living without food, water and heat.  We also sent many things for the army, along with what some other people contributed.  The pictures are heartbreaking as people come from everywhere when they hear that help has arrived.  They are also hesitant to trust that Ukraine will be able to hold onto the territory and not be overrun by Russians again.

Our friend, Taras giving aid to soldiers in the war zone:

Some of the sandwiches we sent for the soldiers:

And giving to the people in the war zones:

And homemade candles:

I wish I could include the video’s they sent but they are too memory intensive for email.  One of the videos was taken as they were driving – everything in sight was blown up.  You ask yourself – what is the purpose of blowing up whole villages where people already live in poverty?

Some pictures of the countryside where they were:

Russia is trying everything they can think of to break the will of the Ukrainian people, but it is not working.  My Tanya wrote today about all that is happening and here is what she said,

      “This winter is going to be hard, but we’ll cope.”

Her statement embodies the Ukrainian spirit!

Your prayers have never been more needed than now.  Please ask everyone you know to be praying during this critical time.  Pray for the US and Europe to supply the equipment needed to block our skies against this horrible onslaught.

October 15 Update

This week was a particularly up and down time for Ukraine.  It started out on the weekend with the good news about the bridge going to Crimea being bombed.  To Russia the bridge symbolized their power and accomplishments, and it seemingly sealed the Crimea as a Russian state.  It was also being used to bring in military supplies for the Russian soldiers in the South of Ukraine so seeing it in flames was a real boost in morale for the whole Ukraine.  It was seen as a crack in the “mighty Russian power”.

Then came Monday and Putin’s “revenge” on all of Ukraine – mass bombings across the whole Ukraine aimed at gas and electric facilities and even more at civilians – death rained down pretty much the whole week.  Most of Ukraine literally shut down – government offices, businesses, transportation, etc.

Even so, on Monday we received a shipment from Norway and many of the staff stayed to help unload it in spite of the bombings.  The following day everyone came to work irregardless of the air raid warnings going off.  God’s work was going on through them in spite of what Russia was doing.  God’s warriors quietly at work!

We weren’t able to do the distribution for the refugees this week since the social office was closed but the office used this time to rebuild our supply of food bags.  When I was there I got to participate in one of them and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  The whole office is organized into a line, each person responsible for 2 or 3 items and the guys carry the bags to be filled.  It’s truly a fun, team bonding time!  On those days, they pack anywhere from 100 to 300 bags!

We’ve been trying to find a good source where we could buy some good quality thermal long john’s and warm socks for our soldiers before the cold winter set in without much success.  This week Valentina found a factory right in Ukraine who are manufacturing good high quality ones, but the retail price was prohibitive.  I don’t know what Valentina did, but she got them for the wholesale price so we were able to order 100 pairs of thermal underwear and socks which will be distributed by the Chaplains and military contacts we have.  Another blessing from the Lord!  

Everyone in Ukraine is doing their part to help win what appeared in the beginning to be an impossible victory!  Russia didn’t take into account the indomitable spirit of the Ukrainians!! or the power of God when He comes alongside a David being attacked by a Goliath!

We gave another pregnant refugee a baby box, baby bed, and food package.  Now we are waiting to see some of the babies after they are born!

On Friday two of the Chaplains came – one of them is going to the South and the other to the East – both areas are undergoing intense fighting and bombing.  We loaded them up with sleeping bags, medicines, fresh sandwiches, canned foods, and even tea and cookies for the soldiers.  Each one was also sent with 50 bags of food and water for the people living there.  Most of the people living in those areas are without heat and electricity, and many are going hungry.  Again, God’s warriors going into harms way because that is where God called them to go.

You, too, are God’s warriors, providing the means to do what we are doing as God has put on your hearts; and fighting the battle in prayer against the powers and principalities who have brought this evil into Ukraine.  They will never defeat God’s army when it joins in prayer against them. 

Please accept our grateful thanks on behalf of the hundreds of Ukrainians who are touched by your love and support.