As we approach the one-year anniversary of the war in Ukraine, we want to share about how the Lord works through women who love and serve him. We all admire the bravery of the Ukrainian military and the resilience of the civilian population in the midst of great odds and great destruction. The focus of this message is the women in clubs which have been established in military communities during the past 20 years “for such a time as this” just like Esther. When the war began, the leader of the Ukrainian Women’s Ministry, Zhanna Segeda began weekly zoom calls with leaders of clubs to pray for their country, their military, and each other. In May, a few American women were invited to join a call on the first Monday of each month. She also asked us to briefly share on a topic that she chose. The first topic was Post Traumatic Stress since so many of the women were dealing with wartime stress daily. Some shared that their fear was causing them to question their faith. Others shared that when they focused on the needs of others, their stress was lessened. Each month we shared words of encouragement and scripture on these topics…Moving from Fear to Faith, Joy, Compassion, Gratitude. Each month we saw how God was moving in the lives of these women, equipping and emboldening them to endure and do more than they ever imagined.
In November, after a message on “Faithfulness,” the ladies shared the current situation in their area and prayer requests. The leader of the club in Ivano-Frankyvsk spoke of her desire to have a Christmas party for the children of military families in that area. She asked us to pray against any obstacles. She wanted to remind them of the joy of Christmas. Other leaders also indicated that they were planning to have Christmas events for military families in their area, but all expressed concern about provision of treats in the midst of scarcity of funds and supplies. The hearts of the American OBI women were touched by the passion of the Ukrainians to bring Christmas joy and the message of hope to these families.
An appeal was made to the OBI board for funds to enable these women to carry out their mission. Funds were approved and sent to Zhanna to distribute. The amount sent would not cover anywhere near what was needed, but we knew that these women would be good stewards. The December topic was the Hope, Joy, and Peace of Christmas. Zhanna and ladies shared some of their plans.
Within a week, a special request was made from a field commander who asked for varenyki (dumplings) for 6000 soldiers to give them a taste of “home” before they were on the frontlines of an upcoming major counteroffensive. At first the response was doubt that this could be done. But the request was prayerfully considered and shared with others. The Lord heard and provided!
This is a story of women who were once FEARFUL but are now FEARLESS because they are trusting the Lord for what seemed to be impossible. Churches of different denominations worked together. Organizations worked together.
· Christmas events for hundreds of military children and their parents from cities and villages in all areas of Ukraine were held.
· The story of Christmas and the Good News of Jesus Christ was proclaimed.
· Gifts and treats were given to the children.
· Soldiers on the frontlines received varenyki with childlike joy! In addition to the varenyki, volunteers provided camouflage nets, trench candles, blankets, and cards from children!!
All of this and more was reported on the January call after a message about God’s plan for us when we face Overwhelming times in our lives!! These ladies trusted God’s plan…let other help them….and then praised the Lord for what He had done!
Please pray for these Mighty Women of God who continue to face overwhelming times ahead. These women are serving in the military, wives and mother of those serving, and women who love their country, their military, and the Lord!!! What a privilege to partner with these Ukrainian sisters as they meet physical and spiritual needs of others in the name of the Lord!!!
Director of Family Support