Greetings to you, dear partners of the Light of Resurrection Mission!
We appreciate that you remain with us. Thank you for your interest in our ministry, and for supporting us with prayer and financial aid. In fact, we all do one thing, we are co-workers in the work of God.
As a mission, we try to ensure that our ministry is not just about “project monitoring”. One of our values is “to know people”. This includes involvement and being present "in the field". Both are an important part of our lives and minisries. We all visit day centers and various shelters. We visit in the home of people we help from the budget of the Emergency Relief Fund. We communicate a lot with the local ministers.
I would like to tell you about our latest trip to the east in June. It was a bit unusual. First, I had no work related goals. I wanted to immerse myself in the ministry for 10 days. Secondly, I had my son Sasha on a trip with me. We believe that it is important to pass on the spirit of the mission to the younger generation. During these days we went to 10 front-line cities and villages, visited people, delivered food and water, conducted small group studies, and participated in church services. Below are some of our most vivid impressions of this trip.
Opytnoye. The village located near the runway of the Donetsk airport. The epicenter of the shooting war in 2015 - 2016. Now only one road leads to this village - a rough track through minefields.
In the village live 38 people instead of the pre-war population of one thousand residents. Here, almost all the houses are ruined from the shelling. For 5 years, people live without electricity, water, and gas. No store, no hospital. There is nothing here. They cook food on fires or gas burners, volunteers deliver them water. Two times a month, people are taken out to the mainland for different matters. They travel to the nearest city, Avdeevka. That is if the weather permits. When the rough road is eroded by rain or snow, people walk to the city which is 7 kilometers one way.
We brought groceries, water and other supplies with us. We talked to people, listened to their sad stories. They talk about their lives almost calmly, however, their eyes are full of an incredible grief.
One woman, Lyuba, wanted to show us where she lives. This is a partially destroyed apartment building. Lyuba is the only person living there. Her apartment is dark, damp, and gloomy. Windows are covered with plywood or plastic food wrap instead of glass. In winter, Lyuba warms herself near the wood stove which she installed right in the room. This is very dangerous. Near the house entrance there is a place for a fire. There Lyuba cooks food when the gas in a small tank runs out. She smiles and says that she is used to such a life. But we all understand that it is impossible to get used to such life...
In Novgorodskoe, there has been no water for the whole month. Disruptions to water supplies have happened before as well. These disruptions were associated with the shooting war: shells damaged the public water supply. It is said that now there are some other reasons. The Ministry of Emergency Situations brings clean water to the population. Older people struggle to carry a wheelbarrow with containers from a cistern. Together with the local Pastor Dmitriy Chernysh, we delivered drinking water to the neediest people. There was a good opportunity to talk with people about the living water that Christ gives.
In Nevelskoe, near Donetsk, fellowship with the locals was not easy. The Word was received with hostility. Questions were asked like this: “Why did God allow the war? Are we the most sinful? Why did God not punish those who started this war? Why are we suffering for 5 years?”
I remembered the Prophet Jeremiah and his Lamentations. I said, in his time everything was like in our time. Just even worse. And Jeremiah said the same thing to God. He complained, asked questions, lamented. And then insight came: “It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, they are new every morning.” And the man again felt the ground under his feet. Let us also try to recognize that the Lord is merciful to us. My listeners were silent, thinking. With that we ended.
After that the woman who was one of the harshest in the discussion comes up. She asked: “Do you have a Bible? Show me that Lamentations that you were talking about. I want to read it myself.” I gladly gave her my Bible. And put a bookmark on Lamentations, chapter 3. She said: “Thank you for listening to us, we need to pour out our soul to someone”.
Her name is Svetlana. Tears covered the eyes as she spoke to me. Mine too. To the lamentations of Jeremiah our lamentations were added... Behold, oh Lord, from heaven the sufferings of people. Comfort them, tear away tears of those who are crying. Do not punish strictly for mourning.
Verkhnetoretskoe is located practically on the line of demarcation. To get here one has to go through an unusual way. The village was badly damaged by the shooting war. The only way to get here is by pontoon ferry, since the bridge is destroyed. There is a family of believers there, Zhenya and Lyuda. Together with Pastor Dmitriy Chernysh we visited them. Before our arrival, Zhenya and Lyuda had gathered neighbors in their yard. We shared spiritual bread with people: read the Word, and prayed together. We also handed them grocery sets .
Novobakhmutskoe. Together with the village head, we visited the needy, delivered grocery sets to them.
Elena, 61 years old. In 2015, a shell hit her house. Miraculously she survived. The International Red Cross has restored her housing and bought some needed equipment for her. But another trouble came. In 2017, Elena injured her leg, gangrene set in and the leg had to be amputated. She has a minimum pension. We talked a little, urging her to hold on to the Lord.
Anna, 66 years old. All her life she worked as a milkmaid at a local farm. Her health was undermined by hard work. She has a minimum pension. 2 years ago her house burned down. At that time many houses burned down in the village in one day. The grass caught fire from the missals and the fire went to the housing of people. She moved into a half-ruined house. She cooks on a wood fire. Anna's son has recently been released from prison. He returned home with cancer. He cannot work, and there are actually no jobs available in the frontline village. He goes fishing in the local pond to be able to provide at least small addition to their support. Anna accepted the grocery set with great gratitude. Attentively listened to a short word about our Savior.
There are also children in this village. We visited Zhenya, she has 3 children. She takes care of them by herself. Her eldest son, Sasha, finished the 1st grade. And younger boys, twins, Artem and Maxim, are 6 years old.
The boys have developmental problems, both physically and mentally. Zhenya`s house also burned down. She lives in an old house that needs repair.
We see that in the Donbas, the harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few. Therefore, we would like to organize trips of teams from the peaceful regions of Ukraine for a short-term mission. These teams would be a good help to local ministers. It is also important that young people see the real needs of the people, get a taste of the ministry, catch the fire of the missionary spirit. We do not know yet how to do it all in a right way. Furthermore, we do not have special funds for such trips. We are looking for advice and wisdom in these plans.
We also ask you to pray for the restoration of health of our staff member Igor Semenov. He underwent medical surgery. Thank God, the surgery was successful, the terrible diagnosis was not confirmed. We pray that the Lord will fully restore our brother's health.
Blessings to you in everything -
Andrey Malov and all the staff members of the Light of Resurrection mission
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P.O. Box 69
Culloden, GA 31016
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Email Pat McCoy: email@example.com