Kevin on behalf of Edik and Liana – Ukraine
At the time of this publication, the war in Ukraine is now 1 year, 8 months and 8 days old. On the morning of 24/02/2022 though, many of us didn’t even think that war would actually break out, let alone that it would still be raging, nearly two years on.
On 24/02/2022, we in the Lighthouse Community made a simple commitment to begin each day, praying for our friends Edik and Liana Malyshev – for them, their ministry and their nation. For the first four and a half months of the war, we joined together on zoom, praying every morning; since then, we have continued to meet every Tuesday and Wednesday. Our praying is fuelled by the psalms (we’re on our second lap of the psalms right now) and the basis for our praying this morning was psalm 119:25-48. I was caught by one particular verse:
Let your steadfast love come to me, O Lord, your salvation according to your promise. (Ps 119:41)
The steadfast love of God – literally: mercy, loving-kindness, goodness, favour – come to me! One of the great, underpinning themes of the Gospel is that the love of God is revealed to me, visited upon me and given freely to me. It is a love – so unconditional – that I exercise no power upon whether it comes to me or not. I am dead in sins (Eph 2:1) incapable of exercising any rights to eternal life. I am a recipient, only.
Our complete dependence upon God as recipients of his steadfast love and salvation, require him, by nature, to be long-suffering and patient (Num 14:18). Mercifully, he is slow to anger (Joel 2:13) because we are slow to repent and respond to his goodness. And so the steadfastness of God’s love and salvation is matched only by his willingness to go the distance for us – steadfast love is underpinned by the faithfulness of God and his faithfulness is according to his promise.
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. (Heb 10:23)
So we continue in our fellowship and support of Edik and Liana, 1 year, 8 months and 8 days since we began; and we do so, principally, because jut as Christ began a good work in us and carried it to completion (Phil 1:6), so must we.
Edik Writes: We bought Russian Bibles for our Russian-speaking refugees and distributed them to people and we also have a few in reserve. Now Ukraine no longer prints Bibles in Russian, and so we bought them from different stores, from old stocks. It is thanks, really, to Onno – everyone knew how much effort he had put into this, and many were disappointed that he had gone through such a difficult journey to bring us the Russian bibles, for nothing. Now everyone is happy and grateful (see video here)
Within the last month or so, Ukrainian law has changed and written materials produced in Belarus (where the bibles were sourced) are now banned. However, Onno’s initiative spurred Edik and Liana to find a way to get Russian bibles into the hands of their Ukrainian, Russian-speaking refugees…God working all things out in his way! (Kevin)
Edik Writes 27/10: During the two years of war in Ukraine, a community of thousands of refugees from different regions of the country has formed in Uzhgorod.
Many of them have become acquaintances and friends and have formed various “oikos”. Since almost all of the churches in Uzhgorod provide some humanitarian assistance for refugees and at the same time invite them to their services, these people, having attended such meetings for the first time, have gained some understanding that there is a Living God and the goal is to actually meet Him!
One refugee couple actually had an encounter with God at our service and powerfully experienced His presence and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. She, full of the joy of the Holy Spirit, began to actively testify about her experience and share her joy with other refugees, with whom she formed close connections; and these people began to come to our meetings. Then the same thing happened to other people and they also began to bring their other close acquaintances and friends.
Continuing to provide material and financial assistance to these people, we eventually started two Bible schools in the church and baptised 20 people, and are now preparing to baptize about 30 more people. We have been faced with the need to move to a new hall for worship, since the old one could no longer accommodate all the people, and now we are doing renovation work and preparing a new hall.
The next task for us is for all these people to become part of home groups, and my vision is that the leaders of these groups would be refugee people. For this purpose, we have created a second course in the Bible school where we plan to conduct leadership ministries with some of these people.
This all happens thanks to your help, which you so kindly provide for these people; because of this, people’s hearts have been opened to accept the Word of God in this terrible time for Ukraine. These people, having lost their homes and all their means of livelihood, find help through our ministry and, most importantly, gain salvation and eternal life, and now look at their future with faith!