Praising God in this storm

[Third in a series]

KHMELNYTSKYI OBLAST, UKRAINE, April 16 — The Slavic Full Gospel mission team from Northeast Ohio knew conditions would difficult for their Ukrainian brothers and sisters when they departed on Tuesday (4/12) for Warsaw and then Ukraine.

It’s even worse than they anticipated.

Roman Skalski, team leader, reported that the team navigated through 15 heavily-armed security checkpoints as it traversed the Poland/Ukraine border and then went on into Western Ukraine. Watch a video of the team stopping at a checkpoint here:

Video recorded by Slavic Full Gospel Church Mission Team on April 14, 2022

“They were quite surprised to see how fearless we were to keep driving after curfew,” Skalski says. “Upon checking our documents and seeing our luggage with medical supplies and vests, they (waved us through and) were thankful that we brought these supplies and asked to bring more. Every time they allowed us to keep driving, because of shortage of this stuff.”

The team stopped at Lutsk at 3 a.m. Thursday. Most of the team members are based from there. But Skalski and one driver continued on to a church Ivano-Frankisvsk.

“The church was distributing food packages to refugees that morning. I helped, talked with the refugees and prayed for them,” Skalski says. “Most of them told us heartbreaking stories. On Friday I visited two refugee centers in Lviv, and it was the same thing, seeing so many refuges with horrible stories.”

Earlier today (Saturday 4/16) Skalski drove four hours from Lviv to Khmelnitskyi, where there are relief centers filled with refugees. He visited two of them.

“Most of the refugees I met today Russian speaking from the east part of Ukraine, but they are warmly welcomed by Ukraine-speaking residents in the west,” Skalski explains. “All (Ukrainian) people are hoping and praying that this war would end now.”

Team member Roman Skalski (right) with refugees at a church in Khmelnitskyi

Back In Lutsk – Roman and Alina Sheremeta met with the governor of Volyn Oblast on Thursday. This meeting was about establishing a smooth transfer of humanitarian aid across the border for our future trips. They also met with the mayor of Lutsk, and signed a memorandum of collaboration for humanitarian aid.

The team there also visited two factories producing bulletproof vests. They are discussing the possibility of sending just the metal that is needed for the vests from US, and having the factories make the vests themselves. (The metal is hard to find in Ukraine.)  Also, Roman gave a talk at the National University of Lutsk, and gave interviews for a local newspaper and a television station.  

Team members from Slavic Full Gospel Church are also providing care for refugees in nearby Rivne. The team there continues to make connections with relief effort leaders who are communicating to the team about what else is needed in Ukraine. This will be helpful for future mission trips.

In Ternipol — Ruslan Petruk and Pavel Kunish are assisting in providing care at a “Love and Healing” church that has been transformed into a refugee center. They are actively involved in assisting refugees with all the necessary food, clothing and shelter. Continue to pray so the Lord would use them for the help of the people there.

The team from Slavic Full Gospel Church took 150 bulletproof vests with them, and they already have 200+ people desirous of obtaining them. Russian soldiers, jets, and missiles are all devastating civilian neighborhoods in indiscriminate attacks. Refugees are fleeing west from everywhere, especially from the eastern part of the country, but there are also bombed out homes and apartments in the central portion of Ukraine.

People need this protection due to Russian brutality. On Friday (4/15) Ukrainian officials produced evidence at a news conference that Russian forces mercilessly executed innocent civilians in and around Kiev. More than 900 civilian bodies have been found thus far, Kyiv region Police Chief Andriy Nebytov said in a press briefing yesterday. Here is the story: https://abcnews.go.com/International/live-updates/russia-ukraine/?id=83931446#84107967

Meanwhile, in Khmelnytskyli, Skalski is preparing to deliver an Easter Sunday message to a church tomorrow morning. There he is also collaborating with other rescuers and forces on relief duty in Ukraine to provide some of the bulletproof vests much closer to the front lines of the war for relief workers. They will be leaving for points east in Ukraine soon.  Please pray for Roman and all the members of the Slavic Full Gospel Church team as they prepare for this journey.

Khrystos voskres! Voistynu voskres! (Christ is risen! Indeed he has risen!)

You can still donate any amount to help support this relief effort. Here’s the link for donations:

https://sfgchurch.churchcenter.com/giving/to/ukraine-aid

Also, here is a link to part two of this series. It contains a good map of Ukraine to help you follow along as the Mission Team does its work: https://eyeoncleveland.com/2022/04/14/praying-for-ukraine-and-the-slavic-full-gospel-church-teams-there/

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