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Retreat, Revive, Rejoice - By Caroline Grube

When the War Came to the House....A Woman in Difficult times

Dear Friends -

In the midst of war, Ukrainian ladies retreated to the mountains where they were revived by the beauty of the world around them, as well as fellowship with the Lord and each other. They praised Him and encouraged each other… and rejoiced in the midst of their tribulation.

“WHEN THE WAR CAME TO THE HOUSE... A WOMAN IN DIFFICULT TIMES” …This was the theme of the Ukrainian women’s conference in the Carpathian Mountains, 13-16 August. 55 ladies traveled from 17 communities across Ukraine to share ideas, encourage each other, and relax away from the sounds of war. There were women serving in military… the mother and daughter of a missing soldier…the mother of a deceased hero pilot…2 refugees from the war zone…2 widows of chaplains…wives, mothers, and other family members of military. Six American virtual presenters, including three spouses of active-duty military, as well as three veterans and military family members, joined their

Ukrainian sisters on two-hour Zoom calls on three consecutive days with the most precious and gifted interpreter, Julia. Prior to this conference on the first Monday of the previous 16 months, many of these Ukrainian and American sisters in Christ had shared God’s Word, their fears and concerns, and their prayer requests via a Zoom call. ALL had a heart for the military, a love of their country, and a desire to serve the Lord. They focused on the qualities of 3 women in the Old Testament…Esther, Deborah, and Abigail…. determination, courage, faith, wisdom, obedience, faithfulness, strength, and humility.

These women work as volunteers on the frontlines, help care for refugees, visit soldiers in the hospital, visit prisoners, celebrate holidays with military families, teach Bible studies, distribute prayer books and calendars, raise funds to purchase drones, provide medical supplies for military, teach crafts to women and children, PRAY, share the Gospel and God’s love with those around them.

Many women gave testimonies during our Zoom sessions and expressed their appreciation for the support given to them by Olive Branch International. Here are the remarks in their own words:

· This is my first conference. I am from a military family. We moved 18 times. I also served on active duty with rocket forces. Now I am leading a club with 111 women. We have met every week for 52 weeks.

· This is a ”little piece of heaven”…no sirens…no rockets… time for rest in a beautiful place.

· I have seen that women of any age can be used by God. I turned 40 before the conference. You have inspired me. Women are changing history.

· Two sisters who have a hospital ministry said that the conference was a ”ray of God’s love in our lives.”

· God gives more victories when we unite. This conference is giving us ideas.

· (On the verge of tears) “This is the 10th conference I have attended. This year is BEST!! Great testimonies and teachings! Amazed by the women with losses and difficulties. They will rise again! So modest! They will have strength to continue. Thanks for donations! We are praising God and praying for healing of body and soul, renewal and gaining strength.”

· I wanted to be in the military since childhood, but it did not happen. I grew up in a small village where military trained. We shared food with the military. Soldiers gave me souvenirs. Since 2014, my life has changed. I have my own uniform now as a volunteer.

· The mother of a deceased hero pilot, “Ghost of Kyiv,” has a rehab center in Kolomyia. She was grateful for our encouragement for her to trust God to use her pain and suffering. God does not waste our pain.

· This is my 1st time at the conference. I have heard about OBI for the last 3 years, but I didn’t think I needed another ministry. My vision has been changed. Frontlines are in south and east. Dnipro, where I live, is the back of the front. It is an industrial city with many factories which have been attacked. We have many refugees.

· I have many relatives in the States…so surprised when she compared her family’s response to our response…we are not related by blood BUT we are her Christian sisters.

· A refugee from Bakhmut thanked Zhanna for teaching her Ukrainian (Russian is spoken predominantly in the east.) …and Zhanna told her about Jesus. She is learning how to love and trust God.

· The leader of one of the 17 active clubs has 10 children. She was at the first conference. Her club has 45 ladies who work with prisoners and refugees. She praised the Lord for seeds that were planted and are now bearing fruit. She was grateful for the chaplains who serve at home and on the front lines.

One of the ladies noted that “behind me there are a lot of Abigails, Deborahs and Esthers.”

They indeed are displaying the qualities of Esther, Deborah, and Abigail, and they are “trusting a God who will complete the good work He has begun in them.” (Philippians 1:6) These ladies spent 3 days “encouraging each other and building each other up.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11) Let us pray that they “do not become weary in doing good.” (Galatians 6:9)

As these women return home, they are planning activities in their local clubs for the months ahead, to include activities that will celebrate the birth of Jesus by sharing the story of Jesus’ birth and giving small gifts and treats to kids from military families. Please pray for them as they face the challenges of this war and the incredible losses of lives and homes. Pray that the Lord uses them as instruments of His peace. Many of you have participated in English camps and/or women’s conferences. This is a way you can support them until we are able to return in person. These ladies are so grateful for the help we have provided and the support that you have shown as you participate in our monthly Zoom calls, as you pray for them, and as you donate toward their service.

If you would like to support them with a donation, either one-time or monthly, you may designate Women’s Clubs to support Zhanna’s club ministry which benefits all clubs across Ukraine, or you may designate Global Family Support, which funds special events, such as the Christmas project and the women’s conference.

In His service,

Caroline Grube

Director of Family Support

Board Member

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