April 2022 – from Jeff in Ukraine: Last month I wrote this newsletter from an airplane. Tonight I write after the air raid sirens have stopped. What a difference a few weeks have made.
Thank you so much for your generous support for our Ukraine Relief Fund. We are grateful for every person who gives, prays and shares our posts on social media. Thus, if you are new to this newsletter, this is not meant to be a plea for funds. Do we need your support? Yes, of course. However, we move forward trusting God and trying to be good stewards of what God provides through you.
The needs are urgent. We have bought 3 vans and partially paid for 3 others. These vans are used to rescue and transport people out of harm’s way to safe zones further west. In these initial weeks of the war, this has been the greatest need. We also support many families to help them resettle.
The displaced Ukrainians are women and children. They did not want to leave and do not want to be away from their husbands. Relief aid such as bulk food supplies and medicines are starting to arrive now. These first four weeks have entirely depended on the efforts of private people with family and friends in Ukraine to respond to the need. Your support has made it possible for us to respond quickly, buy vans, buy foodstuffs, and organize aid to needy families.
Our Staff Is Safe
In the beginning, my son Joel joined me on this trip along with MP board member Larry Hansen. We successfully established a base in Poland, crossed over into Ukraine, and purchased two 9-passenger VW vans. We left at 5 am the next morning on a long two-day drive to Kyiv through ice, snow, and chaotic traffic. We picked our child ministry leader Yana, her three kids, her sister, and her child. It was a very emotional day. The tearful goodbyes were cut short by air raid sirens. It was time to go. We drove to another city, picked up our director and her son, and her sister and her kids, plus a grandmother, and brought everyone out to a safe house in Hungary. They share the house today with a family of 11 from Kharkiv, but they are happy and safe, and coordinating details with many of our families still in the country. When they introduced me to the other folks, they referred to me as their “crazy American boss.”
Yulia Satenko and 12 Children Saved
A major answer to prayer was the Satenko family’s escape. Stuck in an occupied territory they waited anxiously for a corridor to open up. Jed Gourley of Calvary Chapel spearheaded the rescue effort.
Yulia and the children have been sponsored by MP for 20 years, so we are super happy to have participated in their evacuation.
Jed called when they entered the “safe corridor.” The truth is, they were running through the forest for their lives. A bus waited at a checkpoint, and when it filled up, it rushed out of the hot zone to another village a few hours away. They spent the night there, and our partners arrived the next morning to bring them to another meeting place many hours away. Once there, they were picked up by Calvary Chapel guys and transported to safety. The coordination and stress felt like life and death stuff.
Our dads are still in Ukraine, helping people and/or serving in the civilian defense force. Lena from the Hearts of Love center continues to stay in Konotop, an occupied territory, to serve the handicapped kids who cannot leave. Finally, last night we worshipped with Ukrainian displaced believers.
Blessed be Your name,
On the road marked with suffering,
Though there’s pain in the offering, blessed be your name.
Every blessing you pour out I’ll turn back to praise.
When the darkness closes in, Lord, still I will say,
Blessed be your name.