Every Monday evening, Ukrainian women from across Ukraine and the world gather on Zoom to stay connected and support each other as they persevere through these difficult days. They continue to be led by Zhanna Segeda through her creativity and steadfastness. This is a great way for them to stay in touch with their current situations, take requests for assistance and for prayers. Over twenty years ago when the Ukrainian Military Women’s Ministry was officially formed, the Lord knew these ladies would need the connections made through Club Ruth and other clubs. Pictured here they are gathered in a home which is now destroyed. They have grown in maturity of love, country and faith and are beacons of light in the current darkness of war. God continues to use “ordinary” people for extraordinary things.
In August a “round the clock” prayer chain was established which included several Americans as well. Prayer topics included:
· Ukrainian defenders in Donbas area, Luhansk, Donetsk
· Ukrainians fighting to reclaim Kherson from Russians, which is vital to protect Mykolaiv (missiles being fired from Kherson) and Odessa.
· Political and military leaders as they make decisions for the country, that they are wise.
· Hearts to be open to the Lord.
· Chaplains to minister to the military.
· Protection for military and civilians.
· Farmers as they are harvesting and planting in fields that are mined and being bombed.
Some of these ladies have lost their homes. They have fled to other countries across Europe and as far away as Brazil. Some have returned to their homes, but utilities are not dependable. Supplies are provided for those who remain homeless. One lady who was captured and then released continues to “fight” by sharing the Ukrainian perspective on social media. Another bakes special cheesecakes in order to raise money for Ukraine. One American woman has made two trips to serve refugees in Poland, Ukraine and Romania and is now preparing to receive one Ukrainian family into her home.
In the first week of each month, the American Olive Branch team has been invited to participate in these Zoom sessions. Zhanna selects the topics each month, creating a "mini-conference" each month. Similar to our involvement with these ladies, various topics have been addressed by the Americans. In July the topic was “Moving from Fear to Faith.” In August they discussed “Having Joy” and in September we spoke on Compassion and Loving our Enemies.”
It was my privilege to share a few thoughts on compassion. Compassion involves offering comfort out of deep concern and love symbolized by a teddy bear. But compassion is also an act of obedience as well as selfless service putting your own needs aside like a seed losing its identity. Compassion also involves offering mercy and forgiveness for our enemies.
It is not an easy topic especially when faced with the dangers that the Ukrainian people have experienced. I was brought to tears as the ladies shared what they have and are experiencing and how they pray that the Russian soldiers would simply leave their country. They realize that it is hard to understand—it is hard to accept and love people but hate their actions.
Olive Branch staff continues to support the Olive Branch Ukraine staff through regular communication and tangible support. They are our “boots on the ground” and continue to update us about ongoing needs. We have been able to provide funds from “Ukraine Care” donations and develop the Civilian Safety Program for training chaplains and others to address physical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs of the people.
Please consider how you can help.
OBI Board Member