As I write this update about the Ukrainian Lutheran Church (ULC), it is day 288 since the war began on February 24. Throughout Ukraine there has been much damage to property—vital infrastructure, hospitals, schools, train stations, to mention just a few. While there are no official figures, there have been many casualties, both soldiers and civilians. But as of today, no ULC members or pastors have lost their lives. Praise be to God!
In the face of war, the ministry continues, relatively uninterrupted. The ministry has actually expanded as pastors and congregations are now helping refugees and members in need, along with their friends and neighbors. Christians are not only speaking of their faith in Jesus, but putting their faith into action. People and communities are witnessing the love and concern Christians have for others in their time of need.
Much of Ukraine now is without electricity or is experiencing periods of blackouts lasting for hours. Some of the effects of this are the loss of heating, charging phones and computers, running refrigerators and freezers, and lights at night. Winter always has a shortened period of daylight time, but without lights it makes the days longer and depression settles in quite easily. Many people buy candles, but now candles are hard to find and the cost of a candle which used to be ten cents is as high as two dollars and 50 cents (American currency). There are very many cases of stress related illnesses among the people. Bishop Horpynchuk says that at present their greatest concerns are heat and food.
Many people have been praying for Ukraine and the ULC since the outbreak of this war. Gifts from CELC churches have enabled pastors and congregations to buy generators, which have been a big help for them. Now there can be at least some heat in the buildings for their worship services. They also are able to buy food, medicines, fuel, warm clothing, blankets, shoes, and hygiene products. They thank you for your gifts that enable to make these purchases.
I’m often asked to pass along, from the members and pastors, thanks for all that people have done for them with their prayers and gifts. They appreciate these very, very much. In times of need, and at all times, Christians work together, laugh together, cry together, but we cherish the truth that we are all one in Christ. Our times are in his hands, and what better place can there be. The ULC extends wishes for God’s blessings for all of you, our fellow believers. Thank you for your prayers.
Submitted by Rev. Roger Neumann, WELS liaison to the ULC
This update was shared from the Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference website.