Rev. Roger Neumann serves as the WELS liaison to Ukraine. He has been able to maintain regular contact with the leadership from the Ukrainian Lutheran Church (ULC) and is providing regular updates about how our brothers and sisters in the ULC are doing. WELS has decided to share Neumann’s updates. Please keep the people of Ukraine in your prayers.
There has been a vacancy at St. John Lutheran in Lazarivka. Lazarivka is located southwest of Ternopil. Though in a safer area of Ukraine the economy has hit the people hard there as well. Refugees from Kyiv, Kharkiv and Avdiyivka currently live in Lazarivka. Pastor Serhiy Somin was able to visit this congregation, he held a worship service, and delivered food aid to them. Plans are being made to have services there once or twice a month. Thank you, Pastor Somin for your love for these fellow believers, and your efforts to serve them with the Word and sacrament.
Izium was recently liberated from Russian control. We have heard from some of the members of the church, who thankfully are alive, but have not heard from everyone. We pray for these believers and trust that they are in Jesus’ loving care. Izium is served by Pastor Victor Khaustov. May God continue to bless his ministry to the people there.
While there are reports of Ukrainian forces reclaiming territory, which is true, yet there is now increased rocket and missile strikes against key infrastructure targets. There are now reports of water shortages, and even a complete cut off of water in a few locations. In preparation for the cold of winter, and possible heating fuel shortages, many small stoves are being made and sold so that people can burn wood, coal, or peat for the heating of their homes and churches. It suspected that Russia will continue to try to cut off utilities from the people with winter coming soon.
From gifts that our church gave to the ULC to buy more Bibles, over a year ago, they have now come and some were delivered to Kharkiv.
More Bibles and Catechisms will be needed in the future. Many of these are being given out to refugees, who receive them with great joy. Amazing how the Word of God can spread in times of adversity and war. God’s ways are certainly not our ways. We simply cast out the seed, God will give the growth.
An example of another door that our Lord has opened to his Pastors in the ULC happened recently. Pastor Yuri Tytski, who serves Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Bereznehuvate, but has moved his family to Kremenets until it’s safe to go back, encountered some people who came to the church in Kremenets for food and aid. He found out that they were from Snihurivka, not far from Bereznehuvate. He, along with Pastor Roman Anduntsiv, welcomed them to worship and they have now begun Catechism classes with them.
Earlier this week, Pastor Khaustov who serves in Kharkiv was able to travel to some of his members who have moved to Poltava. Poltava is located about 85 miles southwest of Kharkiv. He held a worship service with them and delivered some People’s Bible Commentaries. Many of the ULC Pastors are now serving smaller numbers of worshipers, due to the fact that so many people have moved to safer areas. Yet, they continue to serve their members who have stayed. We thank them for their faithful service. Other pastors who have taken refuge in other areas help serve in those places. The ministries continue, by God’s grace.
WELS World Missions provided this map to show where major Ukrainian cities are located and, more specifically, where the Ukrainian Lutheran Church has congregations.