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.