This past year of 2022 turned out to be an incredible year for our ministry. The stories of God’s transformational and lifesaving power that we had the privilege of witnessing in our ministry target areas at GCMM this year are so numerous that I cannot draw attention to them all. The most urgent of course is our ministry in Ukraine.
I was able to return home to Laura and our family just in time for Christmas. President Zelenskyy has reported that half of Ukraine is without power once again with nine million people not having access to any electricity this winter as a result of destroyed power grids across the nation.
To date, we have ordered and delivered 4,000 wood-burning stoves at a cost of $100 per unit. The stoves are delivered to mothers with small children whose dads, husbands, and brothers are on the frontlines fighting for the independence of their nation. Many of these men may never return home from the front lines.
Thanks to your generous support we placed an order for another 1,000 stoves this past week. Many families would not survive the freezing winter without the stoves that you are helping to provide. But the need remains great.
One of the things that has been true throughout history is that war sensitizes people toward God. Ukraine is not an exception. We are witnessing a definite move of God in the hearts of people as the war has progressed.
Working closely with our teams delivering humanitarian aid, GCMM has also delivered 100,000 of its high-impact evangelism books called “The Journey Home” (to God, as in the story of the prodigal son). The demand for the book has surpassed supply. We have run out of books. Each of these books cost $2.50 (CAD) to print. We urgently need another 200,000 books asap.
In one church in Kherson alone, where we distributed Christmas presents, church attendance has soared. Before the war, 3-4 new faces would be seen in church on Sundays. Now, Pastor Sergey reports that there are hundreds of new people in every service. The church has accumulated a database of almost 6,000 new attendees! Clearly, this is a revival like we have never seen in my life! say Pastor Sergey.
Pastor Sergey is suffering from cancer but says he has decided to remain in the city to be a shepherd to the residents of the city. “My condition is terminal. I have decided to stay here. I would rather end my life here and give my life shepherding these people”.
Let us stand with Sergey and all of Ukraine proclaiming the message of hope and faith until this devastating war ends.
Ukrainian regional leaders, city council chairmen in towns and villages, and pastors have spoken to me personally and thanked GCMM for the support we have helped to provide. GCMM is one of the few ministries that has stood by them as the war has ground on.
The year 2023 has begun. Paradoxically, it’s hard to believe, after 45 years of ministry mostly in Russia, that Laura and I would be ministering in a nation in a major war with Russia.
It all started in March just weeks after Russia massively invaded Ukraine. Thanks to you, our faithful partners, in addition to the 3500 wood stoves mentioned above, GCMM has provided:
- Funding for evacuation of over 7,000 Ukrainian citizens trapped in frontline villages.
- Distribution of over 900 tons of humanitarian aid: food, clothing, hygiene items, medicines, over 100 hospital beds and other surgical equipment, generators and wood-burning stoves. Together we are saving lives, big time.
Approximately one thousand (1000) loaves of bread were distributed in front of the Kherson Baptist Church amid intense artillery and rocket fire. It was shocking to see how many in line started to eat their loaf as soon as they had received it!
My colleague, military chaplain Aleksander from Odessa lights a fire in a stove built in Zaporizhzhia.
Despite harsh military measures in the area, Christmas presents and humanitarian aid were delivered in the Kherson region. Included were hundreds of presents for the children.
Team leader Sergey, heard rockets from Russian drones land about 600 feet away. The team immediately took cover in the nearest ditch. A total of 6 rockets hit the ground near our convoy.
At the Chornobaivka airport in Kherson. A Ukrainian soldier warned us about the danger of being in the line of fire. All the airplanes on the field were damaged beyond repair. Extensive damage from the 26 fierce battles for control of the local airport was visible. Ukrainian forces had driven them back each time.
Photo: Departure terminal
Photo: Stratcom Center, Ukraine