It goes without saying that the stress of war is real. Our friends in Ukraine know this firsthand and we are doing a lot to help them. Many are dealing with PSTD, trauma, stress, and the effects of war. In the words of Valentyn, President of Olive Branch Ukraine: “Any creative work or brain effort today in Ukraine is given with great difficulty, such as reading books, writing letters, teaching, planning, training, drawing, preparing for preaching and preaching, and so on. Very difficult.”
To our knowledge, none of our contacts have lost their lives, but most have temporarily relocated. There is much property damage. Homes are damaged and looted but will be habitable once hostilities cease. Some have returned to their homes, but there is no electricity, water or other services. Valentyn’s own mother lost her apartment. She has returned to the town, and he goes regularly to bring her supplies. She does not want to leave.
Over the last few months, we have been following up with those connected to Olive Branch in some way to see what their needs are. These include our chaplains, women’s ministry partners, English camp attenders and their families as well as others. Thanks to the generosity of donors like you we have some funds which can help with needs like temporary lodging, vehicle repairs, medical supplies, fuel, as well as meeting requests to find or replace damaged things, such as tactical gloves, ballistic goggles, chest protection, straps for ammunition, form elements, medicine etc. Many English Camp attendees, now adults, are having influential roles in Ukraine now and are offering encouragement to those dealing with stress and trauma in Ukraine.
Our Olive Branch team has been involved in regular sessions to offer support, help evaluate needs, pray regularly, conduct training and other resources. Not only is there a need for material goods, but also for spiritual support. Ukrainians are doing a wonderful job of supporting each other, and we are coming along side.
· OBI is working with Valentyn Koreneyvich, to implement a Civilian Safety Program through the Chaplaincy program at Kiev Theological Seminary.
· Valentyn is having daily prayer meetings (100+ days) with his church and chaplains throughout the country. This is the most effective defense, and they feel the power of prayer. Thankfully, they are now able to meet in their church location.
· Zhanna, head of the women’s program, is having a monthly Zoom meeting with the women throughout the country as well as those who are in other countries. Recently Caroline Grube and Linda Sheimo were able to join virtually and plan to continue in the future.
· One woman will continue her work with a suicide prevention line and will get more training for this effort.
· One of our American team has traveled to Romania and again to Poland to support the refugee effort and meet and encourage our OBI friends. She is pursuing sponsoring one family to come to the states temporarily until they can return home.
· One American retired veteran who has attended English Camp several times, visited with chaplains and has now joined the Ukrainian military unit and is fighting alongside troops.
What can you do?
· You can pray with us for our friends who are in the line of danger and who are trying to recover from what they have experienced. Valentyn asks that we pray at least once in the day or evening.
· Please continue to donate to our Ukraine Care fund. The need continues to be great!
In His service,
OBI Board Member