The refugee situation is growing daily. Green corridors are opening up from Mariupal, Kharkiv and other bombed out cities. Pray for their safety. One convoy of seven vehicles filled with refugees was bombed and many were killed. Please pray for these convoys. For our ywam drivers.

Pray for our workers all along the borders. More volunteers are needed who speak Ukraineian or Russian. Councilors are also needed.

The Ukrainian translation of the “Trauma Recovery Workbook for Children”, and the “Facilitators Guide” are done! You can download them here for free:
There is also a Russian version, and another 9 different languages.
We have used them through the years, teaching how to use them to the caretakers of refugee children, and it has been a big blessing! Please have a look at this page with the explanation on how to use this!

Ywam Cluj, Romania ·
It has been more than one month since the conflict in Ukraine started. It’s painful for all of us, but even more for those who have to flee the country.
We are blessed to be able to offer our love, a community and food to those who need it the most. Sometimes we cook for 50 people, other times for 85…but everyday we are cooking and serving with joy.
P.S.: Yes, we need a bigger place for meals and we are working on it!

Amy is in Bucharest, Romania.
Romania – Day 16. There were not many volunteers when I arrived at the Baptist church in the morning, so I immediately asked if the morning cleaning had been done yet. They said no, and said it would be a huge help, since cleaning hadn’t been done since we girls did it yesterday. I spent a bit of time sweeping, mopping, cleaning whatever needed to be cleaned, before going into the kids room. They all yelled out in greeting when I walked in, and rushed to hug me. After spending all this time with them the last few days, they now call me their auntie friend. We did the usual of card games and painting (guess which painting is mine lol), until we got to the early afternoon when we’ve traditionally started up a cartoon for them to enjoy. Today we watched the Secret Life of Pets 2, and it was a big hit. Once 2:00 came and they went to lunch, I headed back to the hotel where I met up with my team and we all went to downtown, to walk around and explore and enjoy Bucharest a little bit.

The border areas have changed since the first days of the war. Most of them have now been organized by the government and humanitarian organizations. Refugees are now put on buses and taken to the nearest cities. There they are taken to buildings that are set up to process them, asking them if they have relatives or friends in any of the European countries. They are then put on trains and buses to those countries. Those that are staying to await the day they can go back to Ukraine are sent to local places.

Our ywam centers in Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary, Germany and now futher out in Switzerland, Holland have taken in many of these refugees and are taking care of them . Many are now arriving in Tijuana, Mexico at the U.S. border.

The work they do as described above is true servanthood. Pray for them!

Al Akimoff and the Slavic Ministries Team

Once again from Marie, In Kyiv:
Imagine every second person in your town would leave.
In your own household: Imagine seeing half your family leave. Kids and parents would leave, grandparents would stay. In your neighborhood: Those who are well-to-do would leave first. Those who know a foreign language, have a business, a good education. Try to picture who would stay back. In Ukraine, it’s the old generation. The lonely grandma who grew up during WWII and the Soviet Union. Not yielding to one more dictator trying to take control of her life. Others take their family members in. Their sons’ jobs are gone, businesses say, “We are no charity organization, we can’t pay if there’s no work”. So grandma’s pension suddenly becomes the only source of income for many families. Just to give a figure; an average pension in Ukraine is around 90$. In the meantime, due to food insecurity, prices have risen up to 50%. We bought tea for 4$ per package yesterday. You need a lot of imagination to picture a family living on their grandma’s pension these days.

So our phone does not stop ringing. Today, we were called to an apartment building to deliver 15 food boxes. It felt completely abandoned. People would not open the doors. We could hear the white noise of the television inside. But they would open only once we called on the phone. They are afraid to open the door. Too many reports about Russians infiltrating, looting, and violating residential areas. They are afraid to go out. Too much noise in the sky. So they just sit inside and wait for some kind of salvation. ALL of them pray. You can tell most of them are not religious people. But now, everybody prays. They say, “We have no hope besides God”.

Every second person left Kyiv. 2 Million. More than the city of Philadelphia or Hamburg. You see it in the empty balconies by day. You see it in the dark windows at night. You see empty parking lots. Closed shops. Abandoned construction sites. Abandoned grandparents. It feels like exile. It resembles Israel’s exile in Babylon, with only the poorest people of the land left (2 Kings 24:14).

I look around my city and think; maybe this is how it always goes. But God always leaves a remnant. Those who were left, the poorest of the land, were the ones ingathered first. Remember how Jesus did not start His ministry with the religious elite in Jerusalem, but how His first journey led Him to the remnant. Those left behind. Despised during Jesus’ time. But He saw something different: “Galilee of the Gentiles—the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned” (Matthew 4:15).

This is what keeps me hopeful for Ukraine today. Not a shallow hope in the power of arms or allies. Not a hope in political or national ideas. But hope in my God who does not put to shame those who trust in Him. The last man standing in Jerusalem was Jeremiah. As the city was under siege, God asked him to do a crazy thing. He asked him to purchase a plot of land. I often thought about this during the last few days when seeing all the abandoned houses and neighborhoods resembling ghost towns. People just want to leave. It would be the craziest thing to purchase a house now. Everything seems to be doomed for destruction. And as if we are just waiting for the verdict to be carried out. As missionaries, Japhin and I never wanted to have a house or settle down too much. But these days something in our hearts sparks with excitement when we think about Jeremiah’s plot of land. It was more a prophetic act than a purchase. Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me? (Jeremiah 32:26)

We believe in the same God. I pray that all of us would have a portion of Jeremiah’s faith. Of building houses and purchasing land in a war zone. Knowing the hope it will bring and the faith it shows to the world far exceeds the price we paid.

If we had some savings, I would actually go and buy a small house in the neighborhood nearby. Just to show that I have hope. For this nation, for the people, and for God’s kingdom.

Great news! The orphans from Pastor Gennadiy’s ministry in Mariupol have made it out of Ukraine! A huge thanks to all who have prayed and given. They are now en route to Germany, where a safe place waits for them. These kids will not be able to go “home” to Mariupol anytime soon, if ever. War is always hardest on the children.

Al Akimoff and the Slavic Ministries Team

What does evangelism look like in war?

Pastors in Ukraine report that hundreds of people are becoming believers during this time, seeking prayer and finding God.

Many of our YWAM centers report that they try to live life as normal even with the crowded rooms and hall ways with Ukrainian refugees. As they continue to have their worship and prayer times, the refugees join in with open hearts and receive healing through the worship. Many words are not needed during this time as hugs and tears become the common language.

A young man carrying a cross around the world arrived at the Ukrainian border, here is his testimony:

Thanks so much for praying for me! With God’s help, after nearly 4 hours at the border, I made it into Ukraine! I had an amazing time sharing Jesus as I passed through the border! Refugees, relief workers, and international reporters pressed in around the cross! Even the border guards and officials wanted to touch the cross and have me share, then pray for them. It was amazing to see as so many of the refugees wanted to share their stories; not even caring whether I spoke or understood Ukrainian, or not. They just saw the cross and knew that it was a safe place where they could come and share. Many, many wanted prayer. So many just wanted me to lay my hands on them and bless them. Others simply wanted a hug. How beautiful to watch Jesus as He touched people’s lives.
Thanks again for praying!
God bless you!

Pray that Jesus will be lifted up through the thousands of bottles of water that are given out in His name. That all the acts of kindness that are delivered through bags and boxes of food would translate into the gospel message. That rooms and beds that are given up for these women and children will be filled with the presence of Jesus. That all our workers will be led by the Holy Spirit to bring healing and the message of God’s love to all they minister to.

Anya – Prayer request:
This week and next week there are a lot of negotiations planned. Negotiations for peace.
Please pray for world leaders, pray for Ukrainian leaders, pray for Russian leaders.
We want peace, we want justice, we want to End the War, but end it for good not just for a short time.
It is definitely the time for the WORD to step into action. Pray for wisdom, for protection, for courage, for perseverance. Pray against lies, manipulation, deceit, greed, fear.
Pray that God’s Word will be in Full Action!

Al Akimoff and the Slavic Ministries Team

Keith Wheeler in Ukraine

A note from Al:

These past couple of days things have seemed quiet. There are other news items that have seemed to put Ukraine off the breaking news section. Indeed, there was a bit of relief as a corridor was opened from Mariupol to let some people out at the expense of a declaration that the city was now under Russian control. But the war is still raging.
Here are some thoughts from Ukraine.

“Did you know that a strong wind sometimes sounds like a fighter jet? I never thought about it until now, when every gust makes you hold your breath and listen.
Today, we were talking with Ivan about how our perception of war changed over the past 31 days. We still care, we are still appalled by what’s going on yet we’re getting used to it. The reports of new missile hits no longer cause panic but rather a quick evaluation of whether any of our loved ones are in immediate danger and a prayer for God’s protection over those who are.

My friend messaged me this evening with the traditional question, “How are you?” My response surprised me, “Praise God, nothing has changed”. Could it be a proper response to God’s command, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Ps 46:10‭)?‬‬‬

Please, keep praying for Ukraine. Our army is doing the impossible because God is with us. Today, they shot down at least 5 missile rockets fired at Ukraine (but a few did hit and caused destruction in western Ukraine). Our army has successfully liberated a few towns in Sumy region. On several locations, the enemy army retreats towards the national border.
Today’s picture shows a performance “Stop promising, start acting!” that took place in Warsaw. Thousands of people lied down on the ground to represent thousands of people who have died in Ukraine.

Without the reminder of breaking news, let us be reminded by the Holy Spirit to pray, to pray without ceasing.

Pray for those feeding thousands, rescuing and finding homes for countless women and children in dozens of locations.


Al Akimoff and the Slavic Ministries Team

Things were somewhat quiet this weekend as the hard work of rescue, feeding and transport of goods and people continued. Lot’s of work on the borders and centers in Poland, Romania, Germany and elsewhere. Here are some of the reports from the frontlines.

Sergei is former ywam student who now leads Teen Challenge, he reports,
On March 24, Russian soldiers attacked one of the rehabilitation centers near Kyiv.
All the students were able to escape, except for one.
And one staff Oleg, was taken prisoner.
Pray that he is kept alive and released!!!

Sergei reported today that Oleg was released, praise the Lord….

This was from Marie our German staff gal in Kyiv in a discussion with a friend:
“This war is all about your faith. If you were not a believer, you would be sitting in your home country by now. What reason would you have to stay? But you stayed because of your faith. So this war is not merely physical, but it’s a battle against your faith. In the end, victory will not be measured in terms of surviving or not. It will be measured in holding on to Jesus or drowning in sorrow and agony.”

Her husband Japhin added these words:
“I just wanted to say how grateful I am (we are) to all the people who have come alongside us in this journey. I am amazed by the love, prayer, support and encouragements you all have been sending our way. Thank you for that from the bottom of our hearts. If not for your sweet messages and prayers, it would have been way harder for us to go through all this.”

A number of our former YWAMers have returned to Ukraine or to the border areas to volunteer. Here is a report from Deborah and Chan the founders of the Ternopil base.

“It started as a deep desire, then turned into a reality when the leader of The Mission Inc. agreed to drive us into Ukraine. Chan and I hadn’t been back since 2006 for a wedding. We bought a truckload of medical supplies for the front lines- all the things needed for trauma kits, antibiotics, antibiotic creams, irrigating solutions, IV supplies and then filled the rest of our truck with diapers, formula and wipes. We were there less than 24 hours. We arrived just before curfew but driving in we noticed everything was pitch black. None of the street lights were on, none of the city signs were up. Google maps was extremely helpful. Our good friends, Sasha and Luda met us, we experienced the greatest Ukrainian hospitality- even during a war – and had one day to unload our truck, see everyone and encourage as many as we could.
So many stories, some too difficult to tell, but these heroes need our prayers. They are exhausted- emotionally and physically, yet every day they keep going. I am so grateful that we were able to participate in some small way. Please pray with us for freedom and peace in Ukraine.”

There are many good articles on how this war affects Europe and the rest of the world. This is a war that is being fought in the heavenlies with world-wide consequences. Here is an article by a good friend, Jeff Fountain laying out some things we can pray for in regard to this.

Al Akimoff and The Slavic Ministries Team

Kyiv (Anya)
Thank you to everyone who has been praying faithfully for God to be a shield to our team in Kyiv. Today he answered your prayers. Please don’t stop praying! One of our team members described their experience today: “Today, we went to a facility; suddenly, the air alert started ringing in our ears, reminding us to find shelter.
Marie and I looked into each other eyes. We were standing 10 meters apart.
She yelled, “WHAT SHOULD WE DO?”
I said, “I don’t know.”
I am someone who likes to have an answer. But at that moment, I had nothing. Two times every year, we have a fire safety drill. But we never got a war drill. So who can be prepared for a bomb?
A couple of seconds later, there was a loud blast close-by. We expected a loud explosion, and we were mentally ready for it. But our bodies were not; our minds were not prepared for it. We just stood there. Still looking into each other’s eyes, each holding a bunch of groceries we were about to deliver to someone.
These are the times when reason goes numb. You give up and are ready to accept the consequences of war.
When we arrived back home, I looked into Marie’s eyes. I knew she was a little shaken. We sat in the car for 10 minutes.
What should I say? Can I say it was nothing? Can I say it was okay?
It was not okay, and it was not nothing. It has been one month; we are not ready.
Nobody can be ready.
After the 10 minute talk in the car (more like 10 minutes staring at each other), we were ready to go, serve, and do what we were supposed to do.
That blast did not stop us. So, we live another day to love and to serve.
He says,
“Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”

Today I heard a very touching story form the Hungarian border. A lady arrived with 4 children. When asked to tell her story, she said this,
“One of these children is mine. One of them is my sister’s. She went out to search for water and didn’t return. Another child I picked up on the street, she was standing beside her parents who were lying dead on the street. This other child was wandering though the destroyed streets so I took him in as well.”
This lady crossed the border with these children, each with a story begging to be told and a heart and soul that needed to be mended, ministered to.

Please pray for our many workers on the borders and at our centers in countries surrounding Ukraine who are working with ladies like this. The reports are heartbreaking and at the same time heartwarming.

These words from Mister Rogers from the TV program:
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” – Mr. Rogers

We need more volunteers who speak Russian or Ukrainian.

Please continue to pray,
Pray for Ukraine, for the cities that are under siege, being bombed, that people can be fed and rescued.
Pray for Russia, that what is happening there with people calling for peace will reach a tipping point to bring change to the country.
Pray for the helpers all along the borders.

Al Akimoff and the Slavic Ministries Team

Anya (Kiyv)
Can you join me in prayer for Chernigiv, city North from Kyiv!!!
It has been under attack the past week and now another bridge has been bombed. It might turn into the Mariupol Tragedy !!!

Yulia (Kiyv)
This is a post of gratefulness to some of the amazing partners we work with. We will not name each one by name, but just know that we would not be able to do it without you. Every day we go out and are able to help people because of many people who are standing with us and helping in so many ways. THANK YOU!

  • Day 28:
  • Today we fed 200 people
  • Rescued 50 people
  • Delivered 58 food boxes
  • Delivered 7 boxes of medical supplies to a hospital
  • And we are ready for tomorrow)

I turned my Instagram account in some kind of statistic book. But those are not just numbers for me. These are real people who have experienced God’s touch through loving hug, personal conversation, prayer, food bag etc. We have so many ways to tell and show people around us who God is.

Blessed the one who gives! We received so important humanitarian goods this week. One truck sent from Heinichen community. Another truck was organized from Switzerland from Madiswil community. Thank you for care and help for Ukraine in these days!!!

Border Teams
Many people are arriving at the borders and to the number of ywam centers surrounding Ukraine. There is so much serving and ministry being poured out to the now over 3 million refugees who have left the country. Volunteers who speak Ukrainian and Russian are especially needed in all of these places.

If you are planning on sending teams to help in or around serving refugees from Ukraine…. PLEASE be in touch with our teams before you travel, and also keep in communication. If your plans change, keep in touch with your contact. Your main teams and volunteers contact is at:

CBN Network produced a very good presentation of YWAM in Kiyv. Because of security concerns it needed to be edited. An earlier unedited version has gone out and has been spread on social media. Please do not share that version. This one has been edited and is alright to share. Thank You…

Al Akimoff and the Slavic Ministries Team


There was not a lot of news to report today, here ae some reflections from Ukraine, it’s a bit long but puts some very important people into focus and thus into our prayers.

As I read the news today, I realized there didn’t seem to be anything big to report.

The Russian army keeps destroying our homes, killing our people, bombing and shelling our cities…

Our army stands strong and brave fighting the enemy, and our whole nation joins them with every fiber of our being.

As I was reflecting on today, I thought I’d like to tell you more about our heroes. Most people in the West have already heard our president speak, and yes, he represents our country, but I would like you to know about people who won’t be shown on TV but who are true heroes of Ukraine:

  • Hundreds of thousands of men and women who joined the Armed Forces of Ukraine and Territorial Defense Forces during the first days of the war – they don’t consider themselves heroic, they simply respond to the urge to defend their nation.
  • Firefighters and rescue teams – they are the ones dealing with the aftermath of bombing and missile strikes, and often they have to do their job under shelling.
  • Doctors, nurses, and all medical care professionals – they work 24/7, conduct surgeries in bomb shelters, provide assistance over the phone if they can’t be there in person. They see pain and death every day, yet they fight them with all their strength.
  • The often underestimated “working class” – those who make sure we have electricity, heat, water supply, and those who faithfully empty garbage cans. We tend to take it for granted, but we should remember those who make it happen.
  • All the drivers who help evacuate people, bring in supplies, deliver goods to stores – they spend hours behind the wheels, they go down endangered routes, yet it is thanks to their effort that “ordinary” life continues even under Russian bombs.
  • People who work at stores and pharmacies – it may not sound like a lot, but would you be able to come to work every day “as if nothing happened” because so many people depend on you?
  • All volunteers, from those who send supplies from abroad to those who raise funds, to those who manage communication, to those who do whatever has to be done (YWAM Kyiv) – they do it not because they are paid for doing it, but because they are called to it.
  • Teachers – they are my heroes in peaceful times but even more so now. Imagine finding time in all this craziness to prepare a lesson, and then gracefully conduct it online when your students are scattered all over the world or perhaps you have new students who had to flee from their homes and end up in your class. Today, teachers offer our children not only knowledge but the much-needed love and support.
  • Everyone who has a job and keeps working – we desperately need those who would keep our economy going despite the war. I admire those who choose to focus on doing their job well when they’d rather check the news, I applaud those who pay the bills, pay their taxes, and financially support our army and those in need.
  • Moms – another category of everyday heroes who shine even brighter in these dark days. All the moms of young children who make staying in bomb shelters fun (one mom told her children that the sounds of explosions are actually giants farting)), who literally cover their children with their bodies, and all the moms of adult children who send their sons to war and spend days worrying about them and praying for them. Is there greater love?
  • Zoo activists and pet owners – it is so easy to forget about animals when so many humans are in pain, yet there are those who rescue pets that were left behind, provide food for them and organize evacuation.
  • Thousands of people who opened their hearts and homes to welcome refugees – 6.5 million people within Ukraine and over 3 million Ukrainians abroad have been welcomed into (temporary) homes, have been offered support, have been shown solidarity. Even the least “significant” help says “I care,” and this in itself brings us closer to our victory.
  • Millions of people across the globe who daily pray for Ukraine – the prayer warriors who stand by us and wage the war with darkness.

The true unity of the body of Christ. Living out Philippians 2:1-2:

“So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.”

It is an incredible blessing to experience it.

Please, pray for these heroes and other “ordinary” people doing extraordinary things amid war.

I often quote Romans 8:31: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” I don’t think I fully realized the extent of this statement until I read a report about a Russian plane that was brought down by wild geese. It happened yesterday in Kherson region. The bird(s?) flew right into the plane’s engine causing it to crash in a swamp. Did it happen by chance or was it orchestrated by the Almighty Creator of all? It is up to you to decide. As for me, I will say, “Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty!” (Rev 15:3)

Urgent need for prayer, there is a lot of talk of an attack with gas or chemicals. The government is sending out warnings and there is lot’s of fear or this. Please pray against this!

Thank you for your prayers!

Al Akimoff and the Slavic Ministries Team

It is not always war. (Yulia)

For the last 26 days we laughed and cried, we celebrated, we bought flowers few times, we met new people and become friends, we collected some more amazing stories to share, we saw God and we keep seeing him in every moment.

We are grateful!

Today Kyiv was empty, only soldiers and police outside, doing what they can do best, defending out country.

Tomorrow we are allowed to go out again and today we prepared everything we need to go to the city first thing in the morning.

Even though we couldn’t go out today God made a way for us to reach out to people.

31 rescued people from Chernigov staying with us today were able to join special worship/sharing time organized by our amazing staff.
We were so surprised that almost all of them came and spend more than an hour praying and worshiping together even though they are non believers.
In such times our spirit knows where to find true comfort. God is never tired to meet us today.
Day 27

From Our ywam family in Lutsk,

Hello family and friends, early this morning we took in 59 refugees.

The day before we took in one woman and her son. Six days into the war they decided to get away from their city. They were driving down a road and they saw the Russian army about 3 or 4 hundred yards ahead of them. The Russians shot and killed the father of the family in the car. Terrified the wife and son crawled out of the car into an old village hut near the road were they hid for two days with her husband’s body lying on the ground next to the car before they could bury him. This is one story out of many, many, that are similar. My wife Valya spent time talking to her and the son looking at photos of her husband, there were tears and praying together with them.

Our drivers Roma and Slavic led 22 cars to safety in back roads, praise God all the cars traveled the highways and back roads with little damage.

There are broken shocks and other small repairs to make that are important for safe travels.

These are the experiences of war, let’s keep praying for an end to it. Pray for our young men and women risking their lives driving for hours each day with food and people.

Pray for the many who are gathering on the borders to serve the millions of refugees.

Al Akimoff and the Slavic Ministries Team


From Anya in Kyiv: Our greatest fear right now is that the world will forget about Ukraine!

First hours, first days, first week everyone was talking about this shocking war. People would go to bed, wake up in the morning with news about Ukraine. Are we still standing!!! Is Kyiv still standing!! This WAR is STILL SHOCKING! It is still wrong on every level and from every side. People die, get hurt, run, are still in shelters, are still fear for their lives. I understand that life goes on, life is full of events and burdens for many.

But we need the world! We need the Church!

We need all prayers! Because we STILL NEED A MIRACLE !

I am grateful for all the churches that lifted us in prayers yesterday, I am grateful for all the Christians that continue to stand for us and with us.

Thank you for gathering and praying for us! Thank you for fasting for us! Thank you for sending your help to Ukraine!! We see everyone and

  • Yesterday our team rescued 45 people from a very hot place.
  • Yesterday our team delivered 48 food boxes.
  • Yesterday our team delivered 400 meals.
  • Yesterday our team went to Church that had their service in the underground shelter.
  • Yesterday one of our team mates had to have a surgery, everything went well.
  • Today they are taking meds to the hospitals,
  • Today they are taking food to the needy and getting ready for a lock down.
  • There is a lot of action happening around Kyiv!
  • Everyone is preparing for another wave of attack: the increase of troops from the Belarus side, and around Kyiv specifically.
  • Please Pray!! Stand with us! Don’t leave us! It’s a cry of our heart

A word from Yulia – Day 26:

“Let me tell you a story, son…”

Today we went to deliver food and were close to the neighborhood that was bombed. This picture I saw when we drove closer to the building

A father taking his son on a walk and telling him a story about a rocket that made people sad. No anger. No hate. Just a story.
That’s how his voice sounded. Many people now need to tell such stories to their kids explaining new reality.

I don’t know how to end this post, because it seams no words can be suitable, but I believe that God has just the right kind of words every heart needs.

  • Today we fed 300 people

Can we join Anya and Yulia in their calls to prayer?

They are not getting weary in well doing and we should not get weary in our Prayers.

It’s making a difference.

Al Akimoff and Slavic Ministries Team