Tatyana, who lived in Gorlovka, Ukraine with her husband, Vitaly, and their two daughters, never dreamed that war would ever come to her homeland. After the fighting broke out in Ukraine, Vitaly felt called to defend his country, so he joined the army and left to serve in the war zone. Two weeks later, Tatyana learned that her husband had been killed in the fighting. She was shocked and couldn’t bear to break the news to her children, Nadya and Alina.
After receiving the news about Vitaly’s death, Tatyana and her daughters fled to the village of Granitnoye in the Donetsk region, where Tatyana’s mother lived. For the first four months after the move, Tatyana couldn’t find work, so she helped her mother with the household chores. Her family only survived because of the help they received from School Without Walls (SWW) students, who brought them humanitarian aid and warm clothing for the winter.
“Realizing that my life was falling into an abyss of hopelessness, I decided to read the New Testament that the SWW students gave me,” shared Tatyana. “I got so caught up in what I was reading, that I couldn’t stop! I also started praying for peace for my country, and prosperity, not only for my family, but throughout the world. And then God started communicating with me through the positive changes He brought about in my life. I believe that He will take care of us.”
After a while, Tatyana’s family started adjusting to their new home, and Tatyana got a job at a local shop. As of right now, they aren’t planning to return to Gorlovka until the war is over. “I am not the kind of person who is content with the bare minimum,” Tatyana shared. “I value freedom, and I want to be able to talk with anyone that I want whenever I want. I feel good where I am free, where my family is safe, and where there is no war. Many people from Gorlovka weren’t able to leave, and it makes me sad to remember that they are trapped there. But, I still want to say thank you for not forgetting about the people who are suffering and struggling to survive because of the war. In times like this, it is so necessary to preach the gospel to those in need, and it is especially important that young people like you keep doing this.”
- Praise God for the thousands of children in Eurasia who received Gifts of Hope during the Christmas season! Please pray that God would be at work in their hearts so that they may come to know Christ.
- Pray for an upcoming Next Generation Professional Leaders Initiative (NGPLI) conference that will take place in Belarus this month.
- Pray for young people in Tolyatti, Russia who are going to church, but don’t yet know God, and that our ministry efforts would bear fruit in their lives.
- Pray for our School Without Walls (SWW) leaders in Israel, as they are planning to start a new SWW group in the Czech Republic.
- Please pray for the regional coordinator of God’s Family Church in Minsk, Belarus as she leads ministry efforts, while also helping her daughters prepare for college.
- Praise God for providing resources and ministry opportunities in Russia, even in the midst of escalating religious persecution!
- Pray for our ministry team in Ukraine as they continue using our “I Care” Refugee Assistance Program to distribute humanitarian aid to internally displaced people and those who remain trapped in the war zone.
- Pray for our SWW students in Pinsk, Belarus as they partner with Christian student groups to prepare special evangelistic events at a local university in honor of the 500th anniversary of an edition of Psalms that was published by Francysk Skaryna in the Belarusian language.
- Please pray for our ministry workers and missionary partners who are dedicated to sharing the gospel with the unreached throughout Russia’s North Caucasus.
- Pray for our team in Ukraine as they meet with the leaders of professional networks in Kazakhstan, Moldova, and Russia.
- Pray for safety for some of our SWW students in Uzbekistan, as they are experiencing challenges with local authorities.
- Praise God for an English study group in Pinsk, Belarus, through which Church Without Walls (CWW) is teaching English lessons using Bible passages! Please pray that God would be at work in the students’ hearts so they may come to know Christ.
- Pray that God would grant wisdom to Vyacheslav, our SWW coordinator in Yekaterinburg, Russia, as he develops new ministry initiatives.
- Please pray that SWW students in Armenia would continue growing spiritually and sharing the gospel with their neighbors.
- Pray that young Christians in Saratov, Russia would actively participate in ministry efforts in their community.
- Pray for our plans to publish several ministry resources for young Christian professionals throughout Eurasia.
- Please pray for CWW in Pinsk, Belarus, as the church leaders are still trying to register with local authorities, construct their own building, and expand their small group ministry.
- Pray for our SWW students in Moldova as they organize and host a youth conference this month to encourage about 300 young people to share the gospel with their families, friends, and neighbors.
- Praise God for our ministry center in Vladikavkaz, Russia, through which we are expanding our ministry efforts, including church planting, in this volatile region!
- Pray that God would provide resources for CWW in Pinsk, Belarus, and that He would embolden working professionals who attend the church to share the gospel in their workplaces.
- Please pray for SWW students in Yekaterinburg, Russia as they begin their internships at local churches.
- Pray for Denis, our NGPLI director, as he develops and expands this strategic ministry throughout Eurasia.
- Pray for our SWW coordinators in Russia as they expand our ministry efforts in the North Caucasus and the Transcaucasia region.
- Praise God for our ministry leaders who are faithfully serving in Central Asia, despite the challenges they face!
- Please pray for our ministry team in Ukraine as they lead an NGPLI conference in Minsk, Belarus today.
- Pray for Georgiy, one of our SWW leaders in Vladikavkaz, Russia, as he is trying to obtain Russian citizenship.
- Pray that God would provide a new leader for the youth ministry at God’s Family Church in Minsk, Belarus.
- Please pray that God would grow the children’s ministry at Spiritual Renewal Church in Vladikavkaz, Russia.
The Inessa that School Without Walls students visit today is unrecognizable as the same child that they first met two years ago. Today she is full of smiles and loves to have fun, whereas two years ago at a refugee camp in Verovka, Ukraine, she looked completely different. She was scared of everything, her hair was messy, and she would mumble under her breath about bombings and the toys she had to leave behind.
Inessa and her family are originally from Yelenovka, a village located in the war zone in eastern Ukraine. Her parents were very involved in their local church, but sadly, after the conflict erupted and bombing attacks became more frequent, they were forced to flee the village, along with the rest of the congregation. They didn’t make it far, however, as the bombing attacks intensified, so Inessa’s family, and 26 other adults and children, were forced to hide in an underground bunker for three days. When they ran out of food and water, their pastor, Vadim, risked his life to retrieve his car so he could drive everyone to the village of Verovka. He had to make several trips, but he was able to get everybody there safely. After arriving in Verovka, Inessa’s parents, along with the rest of the congregation, turned an abandoned school into a refugee center.
Last year, our young Next Generation Christian leaders partnered with the Mennonite Center of Ukraine through our ‘I Care’ Refugee Assistance program to repair the center’s water supply and improve the rooms in which people were living. Along with providing these repairs, we also brought clothing, Scripture, and MannaPack meals provided by Feed My Starving Children to those living in the center, including Inessa and her family. Sadly, the center recently had to close, because the government demanded that those living there start paying for utilities, which they couldn’t afford.
After the center closed, Inessa and her family moved to the city of Belozersk, where her father found a job at a construction site, her mother works as a seamstress, and she and her older sister, Natasha, are going to a local school. Inessa’s parents make very little money, but thanks to the MannaPack meals that our School Without Walls students are bringing them, they are finding hope, even in the midst of the challenges they are facing.
In fact, because she doesn’t have to worry about having enough food, Inessa has already made many new friends at school, and she isn’t afraid of loud noises anymore. She still has bad dreams sometimes, but she says, “I don’t remember them, because I have even more good dreams, especially the one where I am swimming in the pond at my grandma’s house…One day, peace will come back to Ukraine and kids won’t have to hide in dark cellars anymore.”
If you would like to partcipate in bringing hope and practical assistance to families like Inessa’s, you can give online here:
There are over one million internally displaced people and refugees in eastern Ukraine today, each with their own story. There is so much pain and tragedy there, but stories like Lena’s show that God is still working out His redemptive eternal plan of hope and healing, even in the midst of circumstances that seem hopeless by human standards.
Lena lives with her husband and son in a village near the front lines of the conflict in eastern Ukraine. When the war broke out, the family found themselves right in the middle of the violence. They were unable to sleep for many horrible nights due to the shelling, and Lena’s husband, Valeriy, witnessed several people die and had many missiles explode right above his head. When Valeriy began having psychological problems because of trauma and loss of sleep, the family knew it was time to leave their village. Recently, Valeriy also lost one of his kidneys and now needs to have dialysis three times each week. He is unable to work, so Lena cares for him and fetches water from the neighbor’s well since the family does not have their own water supply.
Between caring for her husband and 9 year-old son, Nikita, Lena still has time to love and care for many people outside her family. She volunteers at a local center for refugees, and she makes beautiful cross-stitchings, embroidery, and beaded artwork to bless others. The love of Jesus and the community of her local church sustain her during this difficult and challenging time. “Without God, I wouldn’t be able to do anything,” Lena shared with us. “I love Him with all my heart.”
Lena’s son Nikita is still struggling to recover from the traumatic violence he has witnessed and adjust to life in a new town and new school. The Christmas season is especially hard for him, which is why he was surprised and thrilled to receive a Gift of Hope box—filled with toys, treats, and a children’s storybook Bible—from Mission Eurasia last week for Christmas. Nikita shared with us, “This Gift of Hope was a reminder from God that although I don’t have many friends, the Lord Himself is my friend. He knows me by name and He enjoys blessing me through my other friends, like you.”
Lena and her family also received soup and nourishing rice meal packs from Mission Eurasia to help get them through the winter. “Thank you for blessing my family,” she shared.
We are humbled and blessed by the powerful testimony of Lena, whose faith in God remains strong despite much sorrow in her life. The way she so selflessly cares for her family and others is an example to everyone who meets her.
To provide critical relief aid, Scripture, and food packs for a family like Lena’s, please support our “I Care” Refugee Assistance Program, which is caring for thousands of refugees and families displaced from the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine:
- Please pray for our School Without Walls (SWW) students as they continue distributing Gifts of Hope to children in several different countries in Eurasia this month.
- Pray for our SWW coordinator in Uzbekistan, as he was recently fined for doing ministry work and is experiencing some personal health issues.
- Praise God for SWW training events and social outreach projects that are taking place in Vladivostok, Russia on January 3-6!
- Pray for a new Christian school that will be launching in Haifa, Israel this month.
- Please pray for several families that attend Reconciliation Church in Bobruisk, Belarus who are experiencing health problems and financial difficulty.
- Pray for our SWW students and teachers in Perm, Russia, particularly a group that recently launched in the city of Chaykovsky.
- Pray that God would strengthen Edgar, Robert, and Vaye, three Christian policemen in Armenia, who may lose their jobs for attending church.
- Praise God that SWW is growing in Russia’s North Caucasus, and that our ministry partners in the region remain committed to expanding this program so that even more young people may come to know Christ through home Bible study groups, training seminars, and more!
- Please continue praying for Church Without Walls (CWW) in Pinsk, Belarus, as they are still trying to register with local authorities.
- Pray that God would bring about an end to the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine so that this hurting nation can start to heal and Ukraine and Russia can be reconciled.
- Pray for our SWW and church-planting efforts in Russia’s North Caucasus as we expand our ministry to share the gospel with even more unreached people in this volatile region.
- Please pray for Eduard, our SWW coordinator in Moldova, as he and his wife are looking for a new place to live.
- Pray for two new ministry projects in Omsk, Russia: the translation of the gospel into the Siberian Tatar language and the restoration of a Christian center in Tara.
- Praise God for an evangelistic youth outreach event that is taking place in Armenia today!
- Pray for ongoing discipleship at CWW in Pinsk, Belarus, especially as several people recently accepted Christ and are now looking for ways to grow in their faith.
- Please pray for our SWW leaders in Vladivostok, Russia as they continue expanding SWW and youth outreach projects, while also looking for a new ministry building.
- Pray for the children’s ministry center that Eduard, our SWW coordinator in Moldova, and his wife started, as many of the children’s parents are Orthodox and don’t want their children attending the center.
- Pray for Valeriy, our SWW coordinator in Krasnodar, Russia, and his family, as he is dealing with health issues and looking for another job, all while continuing to develop training events for SWW students and other young leaders.
- Praise God that many of our containers of humanitarian aid for Ukraine have cleared customs! Please also pray that the remaining containers would clear quickly so we can continue bringing humanitarian aid to those who are suffering.
- Pray for Yevgeniy, our SWW coordinator in Vladivostok, Russia, and his son, who is applying to seminary in Moscow.
- Please pray for an upcoming regional church conference in Brest, Belarus that CWW is helping to organize.
- Continue praying for Georgiy, one of our SWW teachers in Vladikavkaz, Russia, as he is still dealing with issues related to a car accident he was in last year.
- Pray for our SWW leaders and ministry partners as they seek to develop and lead new ministry initiatives, while also making enough time for their families.
- Praise God that School #31 and Agrarian University in Vladikavkaz, Russia are now allowing SWW students to host preventative lectures for students! Please pray that more schools would follow their example.
- Please pray for Reconciliation Church in Bobruisk, Belarus, as they are still trying to register their building with local authorities.
- Continue praying for our brothers and sisters in Russia as they continue sharing the gospel, even in the midst of growing religious persecution.
- Pray for new SWW students in Armenia, particularly an evangelical music group that is holding concerts in Armenia and Georgia.
- Praise God for a group of SWW students in Krasnodar, Russia that wants to plant a new church in their city!
- Please pray that God would keep Vyacheslav, our SWW coordinator in Yekaterinburg, Russia, and his family healthy.
- Pray for a Next Generation Professional Leaders Initiative conference that will take place in Belarus next month.
- Pray that SWW students in Omsk, Russia would continue to grow spiritually and fearlessly share their faith during a weeklong mission trip to the Tatar people group in February.
- Praise God for our first ever Next Generation Professional Leaders Initiative (NGPLI) forum in Central Asia, which took place in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan on November 12!
- Please pray for our Gift of Hope distribution efforts and other evangelistic events taking place throughout Eurasia during the Christmas season.
- Pray for a School Without Walls (SWW) youth conference that is taking place in Ukraine on December 2-3.
- Pray that God would bless our ministry leaders in Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia’s North Caucasus as they expand our SWW efforts in these volatile regions.
- Pray for Church Without Walls (CWW) in Pinsk, Belarus, as the church leaders are applying for registration with the local authorities, while also expanding their various ministry initiatives.
- Please pray for SWW students in the city of Vanadzor, Armenia to be zealous for God and motivated to share the gospel with even more unreached people.
- Praise God for a group of 30 new SWW students in Russia’s North Caucasus who are committed to sharing the gospel!
- Pray for Vasiliy, one of the leaders of Reconciliation Church in Bobruisk, Belarus, as he ministers to broken families in his community.
- Pray for CWW in Moldova, as our ministry partners are planning many different social outreach efforts and other evangelistic events during the Christmas season.
- Please pray that God would grant wisdom and courage to believers in Armenia as they share the gospel with the unreached.
- Praise God for our ministry center in Vladikavkaz, Russia and our partners at Spiritual Renewal Church, who are dedicated to sharing the gospel throughout the North Caucasus!
- Pray that God would continue to bless our NGPLI efforts in Belarus so that even more young Christian professionals can learn how to share the gospel in their workplaces.
- Pray for wisdom for a group of SWW students in Georgia who want to start a ministry to the homeless.
- Please pray that God would provide new opportunities for SWW students to share the gospel with young people in local schools and universities in Vladikavkaz, Russia.
- Pray for Yuriy, our SWW coordinator in Pinsk, Belarus, as his mother-in-law is undergoing surgery, and he is also developing his own business.
- Pray that our containers of humanitarian aid goods for Ukraine would clear customs as quickly as possible so that we can continue bringing these goods to those in need.
- Pray that God would use SWW to raise up new church leaders in Russia’s North Caucasus and expand our ministry efforts in the region.
- Please pray for the leaders of Reconciliation Church in Bobruisk, Belarus as they encourage their congregation to continue growing in faith and sharing the gospel with their neighbors.
- Pray for Denis, our SWW coordinator in Svetliy, Moldova, as he seeks to faithfully serve the Lord and make enough time for his family.
- Praise God for a group of new SWW students in Russia who are participating in our Preparation for Success training seminars and inviting their friends to participate!
- Continue praying for Reconciliation Church in Bobruisk, Belarus as the church leaders apply for registration with the local authorities.
- Pray that our 12 SWW centers in Ukraine would help to prepare the Next Generation of Christian leaders for effective ministry.
- Please pray that God would grant courage to our brothers and sisters in Russia who are continuing to share the gospel, even in the midst of escalating religious persecution.
- Pray for Aram, our SWW coordinator in Armenia, and a group of SWW students as they minister to Lianna, a single mother who suffers from epilepsy and is struggling to care for her family. Praise God that she recently started going to church!
- Pray for Roman, one of our ministry partners at Reconciliation Church in Bobruisk, Belarus, as he recovers from a recent tumor removal surgery.
- Praise God that Ray and Cindy Le Clair, our missionaries in Ukraine, received permission to translate a teaching website into the Russian language! They are hoping to have it ready for a Christian Education Resource Network workshop for Christian teachers that will be taking place in January 2017.
- Please pray that our new SWW students in Gagauzia, Moldova would use their gifts and talents to reach their neighbors for Christ.
- Pray that God would be at work in the families that CWW in Pinsk, Belarus is serving so that they might come to accept Christ as their Savior.
- Continue praying for Georgiy, one of our SWW teachers in Vladikavkaz, Russia, as he is still trying to resolve a difficult financial situation related to a car accident he was in last year.
- Pray that God would lead nonbelievers to Reconciliation Church in Bobruisk, Belarus so that they may come to know Christ.
- Please pray for our SWW students in Haifa, Israel as they take their final exams and prepare for graduation.
Sadly, even though he is still very young, 12-year-old Ivan and his five siblings have endured a lot. Their parents are always drunk, and there is never enough food on the table. After the war broke out where they live in eastern Ukraine, things only got worse, and Ivan and his siblings struggled to survive.
Thankfully, about a year ago, Ivan’s neighbors noticed how poorly he and his siblings were being treated, so they invited them to their church, which happened to be one of our many local partners. Ivan loved the church, where he made many new friends and accepted Christ as his Savior! Ivan’s siblings still go to church with him, but he is the only one that never misses a service, and now he wants to get baptized!
After learning about Ivan’s difficult home life, the church leaders gave him MannaPack rice meals, which we provided in partnership with Feed My Starving Children. Now, Ivan and his siblings receive MannaPack meals on a regular basis, and local believers can see how these meals have lifted their spirits. A woman from Ivan’s church taught him how to cook the meals, and now he enjoys coming up with new recipes. We are continuing to pray for Ivan’s family, and we trust that God will be at work in his parents’ hearts as He continues using the MannaPack meals to bring them hope, even in the midst of darkness.
If you would like to help bring hope in the midst of darkness to others in need in war-torn eastern Ukraine, you can give online to our “I Care” project, which covers the cost of shipping of containers of MannaPack rice meals, wheelchairs, clothes and more, as well as providing local churches with Scriptures to give to members of their community.
The village of Maryinka, Ukraine is situated right on the front line of the fighting taking place in the eastern part of the country. Shelling and bombing are still a daily reality, and many are surviving in homes that have been damaged by bombs, with unstable electricity and water supply, forced to hide in their cold and dark basements many nights. The town has no jobs, no future, limited medical care, and children and adults are have been traumatized by the war. Day-to-day life is about survival, with a small but desperate hope that one day things will get better.
It was in this context that the Bread of Life Bakery opened in Maryinka this past spring. Since then it has produced well over 300,000 loaves of bread, over 50,000 of which have been distributed for free. The rest are sold at affordable prices, helping ensure that local residents have the bare minimum they need to survive. The bakery has also provided 25 people with jobs.
However not only has the bakery provided local residents with physical food, but over the last seven months over 2,000 people have heard the gospel and around 400 people received Jesus as a result of this ministry. The local church, which started with two people before the war, has grown to 70 regular church goers. This church celebrated this summer when 20 people got baptized.
Preparations are also underway to open bakeries in the towns of Selidovo, Dobropolye, Mirnograd, and Avdeevka, which have a combined population of over 125,000. The model in each town will be the same as that in Maryinka – baking 2,000 loaves of bread daily and selling them at affordable prices, and giving away 300 loaves daily to those in the greatest need. In addition to helping meet basic physical needs, these bakeries would meet spiritual needs by introducing people to God and His Word, as well as providing much-needed jobs in a region with high unemployment. A few of these towns already have small churches, and our hope is that through this project these churches will grow and have the opportunity to reach a much larger segment of the local population with the gospel.
Please pray for our young Next Generation Christian leaders in the region who are working tirelessly to make this vision a reality in more towns. And if you would like to give towards the cost of equipment and supplies for additional bakeries, you can give online here: