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.
WELS World Missions provided this map to show where major Ukrainian cities are located and, more specifically, where the Ukrainian Lutheran Church has congregations. Read below for some updates from the last week.
May 10, 2022
Please keep Pastor Somin, as well as Odesa in your prayers. Recent missile strikes have increased in that area. Pastor Somin is hoping to leave there tomorrow.
More good news from Kharkiv as the suburb that Pastor Khaustov lives in has been totally cleared of the Russians. The bad news is that mines and explosives have been placed in the streets and even in some homes. It’s still not safe to go back.
May 9, 2022
Though the fighting and missile strikes are still occurring each day, there is, nevertheless, a growing sense of optimism in Ukraine. The support that they are receiving from many nations helps them to appreciate that others do care about them and their current situation.
As more people return to public worship, others rejoice that they are still alive and back again in God’s house to hear his Word and receive the sacrament. It certainly proves how true it is that Christians are happiest when they can gather together for worship. Cherish every opportunity that you have to do just that.
Pastors who returned briefly, to their congregations, speak of the sadness they feel driving through areas that are devastated from the bombings.
May 5, 2022
One of the ULC Pastors, Yuri Tytski, has determined it is not safe to return to Bereznehuvate and will rent an apartment for his family, in a western city. The apartment is unfurnished so I urged Bishop to use some of the gifts that have been given by WELS’ members and friends, to buy some furnishings for the apartment.
Pastor Somin’s van needed repair so that he could continue to take supplies, as well as lead worship services, in southern Ukraine. The repair cost was about $1,000.00, because the cost of parts have also increased in price. Your gifts have helped get the repair work done and he is now able to be on the road again, serving.
May 4, 2022
Today we say, “Happy Birthday” to Pastor Feschenko. Pastor Feschenko serves congregations in Tokmak and Zaporizhia. He will not be able to celebrate his birthday in his home this year, but thankfully will be with his family. Such is the nature of the war in eastern Ukraine and the every day disruptions and changes that it has caused in people’s lives. We are thankful that he, and his family, are alive and we wish him many more birthday celebrations in the future.
The Pastors of the ULC, for a number of years now, meet via Zoom for a weekly Bible study that they call their Concordia Conference. Today they shared stories of what they have heard from their members, and people they know, of the atrocities in some of the cities where their congregations are. Some of these cities include: Kiev, Kharkiv, Izium, Tokmak, Bereznehuvate, Kherson, and Malyn. The stories are eerily the same, of brutal assaults and violence to civilians. It makes their hearts sad to hear these reports, and even more so when it involves people who they know.