Beauty Instead of Ashes

June 2022 – As the war in Ukraine approaches 100 days there is no end in sight.











We continue to travel back and forth to support our staff, deliver supplies, and coordinate ministry efforts.  Thank you so much for your faithful support.  The needs in Ukraine however, remain urgent and acute.  Medical supplies, diesel fuel, trauma kits, protective armor vests, and bulk foodstuffs are greatly needed.  This month Paula and I are in Eastern Europe.  Our mission journey includes Kosovo, Bulgaria, Hungary, Ukraine, and a visit to the farm in Armenia.

Two camps for Ukrainian kids at a beautiful mission base in Hungary

Our staff leaders, Yulia and Yana, now living temporarily in Hungary, want to be home in Kyiv with their husbands.  They looked at me expectantly and I knew they had a question.  They have been with us for over 15 years and are committed to serving despite the war.

“Jeff, we have started a social media group of Ukrainians in Hungary.  We want to have a meeting with Ukrainians.  Our friend from the embassy will come and speak, we will serve hot dogs, and we can tell people about Mercy Projects.  And if you agree, we want to hold a camp for their kids.  What do you think?”

“What a great idea!  Yes, of course! Our friends here have a great location for a camp.”  I said.

Imre and Elisabeth Fekete are the founders of the Eastern European Mission in Hungary.  We have known them for many years.  Their son-in-law Norbert is the director and manages the ministry operations.  The war in Ukraine has brought us together once again.

Their mission runs a warehouse and distributes food, clothing, and supplies for the needy.  Norbert agreed, and the camps take place June 7-15.  With your help, we look forward to sharing Christ’s love with 90 Ukrainian kids living as refugees in Hungary.  God is providing and we couldn’t do it without you.  The Ukraine Embassy may even help with some of the expenses!

“We Chose to Fight”  A Hearts of Love Center Update

“Lena, we read that Russian troops came and gave the city a chance to surrender.  Did that happen?”  I asked.

“Yes, she said, it was in February.  They met with the mayor and many people went out to the square including me.  They said we could surrender or they would destroy the city.  The mayor asked the people and we all agreed.  We chose to fight,” she said.

“The Russian troops pulled away, surrounding the city in nearby villages.  But they did not destroy the city.  I decided I must stay and so did most of our staff.  We continued helping our families since they had nowhere to go.  We are grateful that the troops did not offend us.”

Upon our arrival that afternoon we discovered several moms kneeling and painting the fence with colorful flowers.  When Paula asked Lena about the fence she said: “War or no war, we want our center to look beautiful.  We are tired of being afraid.”

As we talked and prayed together, it seemed like a peaceful summer day.  We thanked God for his protection. That night I learned that shelling took place 75 miles away from Konotop.  Lena sent us a note of thanks the next day.

“Dear Jeff and Paula, during this time when we do not know whether we will stay alive or not, your visit, your support, and your love meant we could breathe, we could relax.  We were like children covered by their Dad’s prayer.  We felt like we were at the seaside.”

Before we left, one mom stopped by to give us hugs.

“You have not forgotten us,” she said with tears in her eyes.