Greetings praying friends!
Today is the beginning of 85 days of war. It is still so hard to wrap our minds around this horrible statement. We never dreamed that war would be a part of our lives, ministry, or everyday vocabulary. We were overwhelmed by the emotions and problems it heaved upon us until we came to a place that we could truly rest in God's care and provision for TODAY. "Give us this day our daily bread, Do not worry about tomorrow for today has enough cares of its own, Cast all your cares on Him for He cares for you" have been passages of Scripture that have carried us through. We do not know what tomorrow will bring but we rest in the fact that He has carried us thus far and will continue to do so!
Holy Trinity is continuing to accept and care for war refugees. Everyday new people arrive and others leave on their way to more permanent living arrangements. Working with refugees is trying and emotional. Please keep the church volunteers and all the people working to care for refugees in your prayers. Pray for them to be able to deal with their own grief, pain and worries properly as they give so much to others.
We have several praises to share. 1, One of our biggest new expenses caring for refugees is the electric bill. In Ukraine, non residential property has an extremely high tariff for electricity. We heat and cook with electricity. We were able to collect all the necessary documentation to apply for and be approved for a new government program that drastically reduced our electric bill. This program will last until one month after Marshall Law ends at the end of the war. This is a huge answer to prayer. It will allow our relief fund to stretch even further! 2, Ukraine is experiencing a huge fuel crisis. The lack of gas/diesel fuel due to Russia bombing refineries all of the country has caused huge lines, extreme prices, and rationing at the gas pump. We were able to sign a contract with a national fuel chain to purchase fuel in advance with a coupon system and given priority to not wait in 4/5 hour lines. This will enable our church to continue to transport humanitarian aid to partner churches in areas with little food, water, etc as well as servicing the needs of “our” refugees in Mukachevo. 3, We received another big load of food, cleaning supplies, Bibles and, beds from EveryNationEducation this week and the men who brought the aid stayed on for Sunday worship. They were a real encouragement to our people and their testimonies were powerful. Most of our refugees in residence are unchurched but attend worship on Sundays. 4, We have several new volunteers from the community who come on a daily basis to help.
The Lord is building a team of displaced Ukraine/Russia missionaries in Budapest to start a war time ministry with the 400,000 refugees in Budapest. Please pray for this ministry to be a tool for Kingdom advancement! As our participation in this ministry advances, we will keep you updated.
Thank you for continuing to pray for Ukraine, for our family and, for supporting our relief efforts financially. You are providing life changing and life sustaining support for vulnerable and scared war refugees who do not yet know Jesus Christ as their Savior. You are helping us Shine His Light brightly in Mukachevo and all over Ukraine.
We want to share with you an update from the Enskyys, who are on the ground in Ukraine, so you can continue to pray for them and see how the funds that you have donated are being used.
Another week of war has raged on. Time seems to stand still and fly by at the same time. Thank you for praying for our family and ministry. We praise the Lord for your support and encouragement.
This week in partnership with the ministries of Operation Renewed Hope, European Initiative, and Every Nation Education our church received several shipments of humanitarian aid; Bibles (a really nice key chain with a Ukrainian Bible QR code), food, cleaning supplies, and other necessities for keeping our temporary shelter for refugees open and running well. Our staff and refugees were so excited to see these trucks coming to our door and unloaded them with enthusiasm. I cannot underscore what an encouragement this help is to not only our refugees but our church staff as well. As war decimates the already weak Ukrainian economy, food prices rise as salaries are cut in order to send all funds to the army. Everyone is reeling from this horrible, unjust war. Knowing that our brothers and sisters in Christ really care and are helping brings smiles to tired, downtrodden faces.
Right now, our region is experiencing a lull of "incoming" refugees. Last week we were feeding 50 to 80 people a day. We are using this reprieve to better organise the center and deep clean. As the battle for Kharkiv, Mariupol and Kherson ramp up, we expect the next wave of fleeing refugees soon. No one wants to leave their home and most stay as long as possible, some too long and are in need of evacuation. We are partnering with Oleg's seminary brothers in central Ukraine who are evacuating people in these kinds of situations, helping them with food and fuel for their vans.
Thank you for continuing to support our ministry financially. Your funds go to keep our building warm, clean and offering physical and spiritual shelter to those fleeing active war zones. Please pray for the literature, Bibles and spiritual counsel offered to these vulnerable people to be taken in the spirit it has been given. Pray for the seeds of the Gospel to find fertile, prepared heart soil!
Please continue to pray for peace and revival in Ukraine, safety and health for our family, and wisdom to make quick decisions as war makes for very fluid and unexpected situations.
When someone is hurting, I mean really hurting, to the point of despair and the feeling of no hope; the greatest gift you can give is a sincere acknowledgment that they have not been abandoned or forgotten. Hunger pains go deep, but not nearly as deep as hopeless pain. Hopelessness says no one knows, or even worse, they know but don’t care.
So much has happened in the last week, so we will give you a few bullet points and some more detail below.
Also, I need to make a correction. In my haste to prepare the email last week, I wrote that our facility was on the East side of the country, it is on the West side of Ukraine.
Understand this: Ukraine is the birthplace of the Russian Orthodox Church. As a result, baptists are considered cultists, and priests tell the people not to attend Baptist churches. However, Oleg and Lori’s ministry has done much to remove that stigma.
Before the invasion of Ukraine was imminent, we contacted our people there, Oleg and Lori Enskaya, to see how we could help. Oleg’s English is weak, so we always deal with Lori, an American whose burden took her to Ukraine years ago as a single woman to serve the Lord. She met and married Oleg and was immediately dropped by her mission board because they do not believe in supporting non-Americans as missionaries. Because of this unbiblical policy, they rightly determined that since Lori was now married to a Ukrainian church planter, her support would benefit him. We learned of her plight through Pastor Gene Carpenter at Palmetto Land Baptist in Summerville, SC, and have served as their “mission board” ever since, even though we are technically not a mission board.
You have read many articles about their work, including their Bible Institute, Touch a Life feeding center, and their soccer and ping pong teams for Toch a Life kids who play across the country. They are often on television and share their faith with the politicians and people.
Before the crisis became a reality, they determined to remain in Ukraine rather than abandon their calling and people. Then, during the night, Oleg was awakened with severe pain in his abdomen. They went to the hospital and were told to leave immediately for Budapest, Hungary. Living in the SW corner of Ukraine, in Mukachevo, Budapest, is only a three-hour drive. When they arrived at the hospital there, Oleg was treated, and fortunately, the Ukrainian doctors had misdiagnosed his condition. He was treated and kept in the hospital for several days. It was during that time that Russia invaded. Logically, they wondered if the Lord had allowed this to get them out of the country. They immediately found an apartment to rent and began to make plans to serve the refugees that would spill over.
But Oleg could not remain in peace and safety as his nation was attacked. So, leaving Lori and the kids behind to care for refugees, he returned to Ukraine to do whatever he could, convinced that his actions to return would have a profound impact on his future ministry. And so, he did.
We have received many calls and emails wanting to know if we have people there and how to help them. For days we have asked Lori how we could help, but she could only and honestly reply that she did not know. Then, this morning I received this word from her.
“Right now, we can get food. We have about 50 refugees and our TAL kids to feed. We need food, extra money for heating, electricity, and more pots and pans/cups/ kitchen supplies. Oleg is going to try to get money from his Ukrainian card tomorrow. If he can, I will send it there. If not, I will go to the border and get it to him.”
So, there you have it. Our Touch a Life ministry is still open, their Holy Trinity Baptist Church is still open, but there is a need for food, utensils, and supplies. As time goes on, the need will remain until and even after this is over. But as you can see, Oleg will remain also. So, how much do we need to raise for them? Your guess is as good as mine. Even Lori and Oleg have no idea. It is apparent that the longer the crisis lasts, the greater the need will grow.
Though a need for food, water, clothing exists, the greater need is for the people of Ukraine to know not only does America stand with them, but specifically, the Christians in America do so as well.
There is no need for us to give daily updates on the war, as you can see it on television. But know that our people and their converts are there and will withstand all that is thrown at them. Will we lose hard-won territory for the gospel? Probably so, but the testimony of what we do now and how we helped in their time of need will go a long way to regain that territory and reach throughout the entire nation with the Good News of Jesus Christ.
If you want to help, knowing we don’t honestly know the extent of their need, then donate below. We will either deposit it directly into his account or send it to Lori, and she will meet Oleg/TAL Staff at the border and give them cash.
PS I tried to get Lori to talk about their personal needs, but she wouldn’t. I know they have a budget and bills in Ukraine that must be met (rent, utilities. etc.), and now they have it in Hungary as well. She told me simply that their family now has a $2,000 monthly deficit. If you wish to help them personally, you can also donate online here by selecting "Representative" and then "Oleg & Lori Enskaya". And then there is food, blankets, water, medicines, bandages, splints, and the great need of prayer.
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