Sharyn (Leadership Team Ternopil)
This year our family, like so many others in Eastern Europe, comes into the season of Easter as a country at war. And it’s the first time that I have truly experienced in such a way the horror of humanity and the hope of humanity with a impact that I still have not found words to describe.
The wounds of war, these wounds that we carry, are so overwhelming that it’s hard to know even how to pray, where to start in the healing process, if Ukraine and the world will ever recover. We look for hope to sprout, and see it ultimately in the overall picture of our faith as Christians, but in the day to day at times it feels that hope sprouts only to be smothered by the agony and awful of war crimes against the very humanity of the Ukrainian people.
Hope and Horror. It’s the dichotomy of this awful war, and it’s the dichotomy of the cross.
Evil has struck such a blow to my world, and yet at the same time I am overwhelmed each day by the goodness of God I see in people pouring out whatever they can to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
Hope comes with funds donated from an isolated church in the Jungles of New Guinea. Hope comes from a brother in Singapore, churches in Korea, drivers from all over Europe who bring in humanitarian aid and bring out refugees.
Hope comes from small towns and villages, the Amish community, chocolate chip cookies made for refugees, and the simple act of Polish mothers leaving their baby buggies at their local train stations.
And hope comes from the spirit and the strength of the Ukrainian people who are fighting at this very moment for their freedom and liberty.
Isn’t this the very message of Easter? Horror and Hope. The pinnacle moment of evil being completely dismantled by a empty tomb.
Easter is the darkest moment of human history, being rescued and redeemed in this bright brilliant moment of hope through the resurrection power of a empty tomb.
Horror and Hope – It’s the story of humanity.
Tragedy and Trauma undone by the power of God to make beauty out of ashes. To bring life out of death.
He has risen!! He has risen indeed!

Here is a need on the U.S. border where many Ukrainians have come to seek asylum.
Jill Bills
We need a consistent flow of cars to transport Ukrainians to: San Diego airport, homes for sleeping for the night or a few nights, drop offs at church hubs.
It’s a 24/7 need. Please message Wayne Little if you can help.

Please pray for Mariupol today, many people and Ukrainian soldiers are trapped in the city and they have been given an ultimatum to surrender or die. At this time they are choosing to die. Please pray for this situation. Pray for the many hundreds that are still stranded in basements across this city. Pray for a miracle!

Pray for the hope of Easter to fill the hearts of people in Ukraine today.

Al Akimoff and the Slavic Ministries Team

The picture of the day is from Borodyanka (Kyiv region). Over 14,000 Ukrainians have volunteered to join restoration works in the liberated towns in Kyiv region.

50 days of war
Over 1,540 missiles launched at Ukraine
5,794 air raid alerts (an average of 118 alerts a day)
A total of over 700 hours (the equivalent of 30 days) that Ukrainians had to spend in bomb shelters
197 children killed (and 351 wounded)

A poem written by a teen saying goodbye to his piano
Dear Piano,
I’m Sorry, but this is my goodbye, at least for now.
I am really far away from you, at least for now.
I am starting to forget how to play that melody
that you like me to play, at least for now.
I am starting to forget this feeling
in my fingers to play you, at least for now,
but I will never forget the life that you gave me,
at least never in my life

Marie (Kyiv)
We all remember the girls of Mariupol.
The photos of pregnant girls in the bombed maternity ward. It became a symbol of this cruel war – a war that aims at destroying innocent lives before they even get to see the light of the day.
As helpless as we may feel in the face of this horror, there are things we can do. Our colleagues from YWAM Hainichen sent out a call for donations. People in Germany, moved by the fate of Ukrainian mothers, generously gave. Today, we were able to bless Kyiv’s maternity ward with seven cribs and two bathtubs for newborns.
The nurses shared with us that they receive many pregnant women from the hot spots in Kharkiv and Mariupol. They have lost everything and lack any basic feeling of safety. Their children are born in the midst of trauma and loss.
Please join my prayer today: God our Father, these are your children. Their lives are in your hand. Let each bed be a seed of hope. That not all is lost. There is hope. There is a future. Would they remember that every night they put their children to bed.

Thank you for praying, thank you for giving…
Al Akimoff and the Slavic Ministries Team

“Some believe it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. It is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love.”
Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien

As teams continue to comb the areas that have been bombed unrelentlessly these past weeks and try to evacuate the areas that are in the way of a new invasion, they have had the opportunity to show these acts of kindness and love.

In a meeting today with staff and workers from across Ukraine, Andrei from Mariuple shared how his young staff who have had to flee the city are now active in helping to feed and rescue people. This is a different kind of battle fought with love. Showing kindess in the midst of hatred.

“For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of Lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe. He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing.”
Deuteronomy 10:17‭-‬18‬‬

Pray for this huge undertaking going on right now in the Eastern and southern parts of the country. It is dangerous and thousands still need to be evacuated.

In the meantime,
1 million Ukrainians who left Ukraine after the start of the full-scale invasion of Russia, returned.
Andriy Demchenko, the spokesman of the State Border Service, announced this at a briefing on April 12.

120,000 gospels in Ukrainian are being printed in Latvia to distribute to Ukrainians who are very open to the gospel at this time. This is thanks to a group in Korea who have a vision to print a million copies for this need and their part in ending Bible poverty.

Please continue to pray for this crucial time of transition of the front from Kyiv to the East and South of Ukraine. Today sirens blared across the whole of the country bringing fear of new attacks to come.

Al Akimoff and the Slavic Ministries Team

Yulia (Kyiv)
Today we went to a village in Chernigov region but on our way we got turned down at the check point because bridges were blown off.
We stood there for a moment and decided to check villages right by the check point.
When we drove more into the village we saw a picture that you would not be able to imagine. I will not show you here all those destroyed houses and streets but I will show shoes of those people who came into our land, walked it’s soil bringing death and distraction wherever they go.
These shoes were shown to us by one of the village ladies Natalia. She told us stories how they were locked in a school for 30 days, using a bucket instead of toilet and share it with other 35 people. Elderly people couldn’t handle such tuff conditions and 8 of them died before seeing freedom.
We grieving together and praying for comfort and God’s love to cover each heart that experience loss right now.
We were able to distribute 160 bags of food and people were so happy to see us and ask not to forget about them and come back again.
We pray that God would touch their hearts tonight and warm their houses, as they sleeping in the dark and cold…but there are no Russian soldiers in their houses and that’s why they can sleep in peace.

Day 48
One highlight
Whenever I ask people to pray for them, they always so open and want to receive a prayer, they listen to each word and in the end giving big hug of gratefulness. I could definitely tell that the faith level of Ukrainian nation gone up and this is something to be rejoicing over.

Olga (Kyiv)
Since the siege began on Mariupol evacuations to the
Ukraine territory about 150 thousand residents.
About 120 thousand people remain in the city.
60 thousand people await evacuation in settlements around Mariupol.
Tens of thousands of people Russian forcefully deported to the most depressive regions of Russia – to Siberia, Sakhalina, the Far East.
Source: Mayor of the city Vadim Boychenko

Teams are working overtime bringing people out of the Eastern towns in preparation for the expected bombing that is to take place in the next days. Pray that many will be saved and for the safety of the teams involved.
There are reports of propaganda that is being spread around the East and in Crimea about Ukrainian atrocities stirring up people against Ukraine prior to the battle that is to come.

Please continue to pray that the spiritual powers in high places would be defeated in the heavenlies.

Thank you for praying and giving,

Al Akimoff and the Slavic Ministries Team

In the midst of this transition time in the war, here are some reflections on the past and some thoughts on the future.

More than 10 thousand civilians have already been killed in Mariupol. This in stated the mayor of the city Vadim Boychenko
The number of dead can exceed 20 thousand. Mariupol has been in a blockade since March 1. Over 90% of the buildings there are destroyed. There are about 120,000 civilians in the city now who are in desperate need of food, water, warmth and communication.

The Ukrainian railway has become a “road of life” for millions of Ukrainians who were forced to evacuate from the hottest points of our country.
Today, this road brings back to life those who were there a moment before their death.
Part of the evacuation trains heading from eastern Ukraine were re-equipped i as a hospital. Our hero-medics provide medical care right in the wagons. Professional, fast, courageous and so caring, as long as the road allows.
We are proud of you – our rescuers! You are the heroes without whom our path to victory would be impossible!

News of the war:

  • Due to bombing and shelling by the armed forces of the Russian Federation 938 educational institutions were damaged. 87 of them are completely destroyed.
  • Russians hold nearly 1700 Ukrainian military and civilians in captivity, including 500 women.
  • The UN recorded 1842 cases of death and 2493 cases of injuries of the civilian population of Ukraine, in total 4335 victims of the Russian full-scale invasion.

Let’s pray for the East and South of Ukraine, as Russia is getting ready to concentrate their efforts on taking over the eastern part of our nation. And now we know how it looks when Russia takes over: Bucha, Irpin, Gostomel, 20 smaller villages- just around Kyiv – those are the places where we were able to see and investigate. Extreme violence and destruction.
This is where our team now delivering aid and is out every day to comfort people. We are also in the east, getting people out as people are facing the threats of more!
Now we can predict what Russian occupation looks like. East has been fighting for all these days and we have only some of the reports back.
We have also seen miracles and we need MORE!

Praying friends. This week military operations are expected to escalate.
Ukraine needs around the clock prayer. Please invite friends to pray with you. We have seen favor and heartache.
Psalm 79…captures it best:
Help us, O God of our salvation,
for the glory of Your Name;
deliver us, and atone for our sins,
for your name’s sake!
Why should the nations say,
“Where is their God?”
Let the avenging of the outpoured blood of your servants
be known among the nations before our eyes!

Can we do that, can we draw around us friends, prayer warriors, churches, intercession groups and let’s pray as we have never prayed before.

Al Akimoff and the Slavic Ministries Team

The news and reports coming in these past few days are of horrible atrocities in the towns and villages in the wake of the Russian withdrawal from the Kyiv area. Here is a report from someone who found something else.

In the village of Ivankiv, the war seems to be over, but the need of people still remains, despite the circumstances. This is the second time I’ve come to this village. People here are very open and ready to take everything, without whims. They all greeted us with smiles and joy on their faces, despite the gloom, in their hearts. When I was handing out packages with Katariina, I noticed one thing: before they take a grocery set, a flashlight, shampoo, diapers, etc., they think about their neighbor. Each of them lets each other go forward, even though the man was standing in front of the man behind him. I was surprised how this war situation did not affect humanity and love for others. And surprised how such a small village teaches such a great example as: «love your neighbor as yourself».
Jesus gave his life for this example.
The life of Jesus was like this small village, not visible to people, but it was necessary to enter it twice, to see how much such an imperceptible act carries something great and necessary to the world today.
This trip to the village opened my eyes to the fact that there are still 10 righteous people in the world through whom the whole city can be saved.
It seems that we have reached the conclusion that it is necessary to have only 10 righteous to save everyone, but no!
All it takes is one, Jesus Christ, the one righteous man who saved the world. And through his death and resurrection, he showed how important it is to love your fellow man.

Today I received an incredible letter and report from Chad from Austrailia.
He was with a YWAM team doing evacuations from Kramatorsk and Slavansk.
They were driving right by the train station on Friday when the Russian rocket hit the train station. They had with them tourniquets and wound seals
that he had felt he should buy and bring with him to Ukraine. One more example of God and His timing and of His servants hearing His voice.
Prayer works!

Al Akimoff and the Slavic Ministries Team

Just a little break from war reports, there are so many human interest and (animal) stories coming out of Ukraine as well.
Oleg (Kyiv)
A few days ago we had the privilege of teaming up with Екатерина Львова to collect and donate some feeder and pillows to the shelter for our four-legged friends. Thank you to all those who care for remembering the furbabies even in such extremely difficult times.

Namysłów – civic initiatives in Poland
Refugees from Ukraine thank the Namysłowians.
Today before noon a group of refugees from Ukraine in a social activity cleaned the recreational areas above Vidava in gratitude for support, care and protection from aggression by Russia.

And in Romania, Ukrainian children and their mothers donated flowers to the people of Bucharest (Romania), thanking them for their support and warm welcome in Romania.
There are so many heartwarming stories coming out of Ukraine and the borders of the goodness of humanity and brotherhood. Ukrainians are so grateful to those taking them in, both in Ukraine and border lands. They tell of the incredible kindness of people taking them into their homes, making a place for them in their schools for their children, giving them jobs and taking care of their medical needs.

As teams move into the areas where Russian troops have retreated, they are extremely busy bringing food and relief to people who have been hidden in homes and basements for 4 to 6 weeks. At the same time they are busy taking people out of the eastern cities where they are expecting a serious attack in the next days and weeks.

Would you continue to pray for this situation as it seems the situation will worsen in the days to come.

Al Aimoff and the Slavic Ministries Team

Yulia (Kyiv)

Why we do it ?
Because of them.
People who end up without a home, fleeing and leaving everything behind. People who think that there is no one who can or will help. It is such a blessing to be a shelter for them for a short time, to be able to give simple things as food and hygiene, to let them feel cared about and loved.
Today we rescued 27 people
Delivered 160 bags to the liberated village in Kyiv region.
We got so much awaited humanitarian aid this evening and tomorrow morning with fresh energy will unload it. That means that we can reach out to many people and help them to have basic things.
It is so beautiful to see how we came together to support each other in this time. Ukrainian, Polish, Romanian, Check, Slovak, American, Canadian, German, Dutch … this list can go on and on and this is amazing. This is the most vivid image of body of Christ I have seen in my life.
Day 44

From Yulia (Kyiv)
So grateful for so many loving people around the World.
Today have been unloading and sorting all aid that came in huge amount we haven’t seen before. This is so timely as we just got connected with more villages in Kyiv and Chernigov regions that need help with food and hygiene.
Our drivers left to the East of Ukraine for evacuation runs and have been driving 40 people out to safety since yesterday. Please pray for their safety and God’s protection over people and cars.
We are tired but exited to see God’s provision which means that he will open up more ways to help and bring hope to people.
Day 44

In Kyiv from the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion 208 residential houses, 46 schools, 29 kindergartens and 1 orphanage were damaged
13 administrative buildings, 2 sports facilities, 5 social sector objects, 17 health care, 10 cultural sector, 48 transport infrastructure objects.
The city together with professional specialists continues to account for damaged infrastructure objects. All these objects will be taken into account, experts will determine the degree of damage. After this, their gradual recovery will begin.

Cluj, Romania
We just finished loading a big truck with supplies for Ukraine!
A huge thank you to everyone who got involved! We are overwhelmed with your generosity and so blessed to partner with you!

Al Akimoff and the Slavic Ministries Team

Our team in Poland is going back and forth from Ukraine to Poland, helping people carry their luggage. They are joined by YWAMers from Spain, Finland, Mozambique, Romania, Japan, Singapore, Russia, Portugal, and Poland. One of the MercyWorks staff is taking a load of supplies to our co-workers inside Ukraine. I love this!

“The Y Team arrived at the train station just two minutes after the station was bombed. Fortunately, the team was okay. They immediately began to help and transport people out from the station. Please pray for the safety of the team. They realize they cannot help everyone, but want to walk in wisdom to who they can help.
Today the Y leaders are meeting with officials to see how they can help in Kyiv. We have two trucks heading our way with supplies. So grateful, since our warehouse has been empty. Please pray for this to be a weekly delivery of supplies. There are drivers willing to drive to Kyiv so having supplies would really help. Thank you.”

Anya (Kyiv)
Let’s not be naive .The enemy is working even when we don’t see it.
As we know the past few days Russian troops were pulling away from Kyiv. We have now Kyiv region liberated and we have seen the horrors of war: violence, extreme cruelty, inhumane acts of hatred.
The enemy is changing his strategy.
Some say he is regrouping to strengthen the attack on the East, like East hasn’t had enough of his presence. His plan is to take two regions: Luhgansk and Donetsk.
Some say he will take the land passage to Crimea.
Some say he will go South as far as Odessa and get the Port there.
Some say he will destroy the sowing season and leave Ukraine starving next year.
Some say he will attack Kyiv again, as the troops are gathering at the Belarus border.
Some say he will destroy infrastructure and make Ukraine UNLIVABLE.
Whatever it is, we know that the enemy is scheming – it is not a new thing for us.
“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” We don’t need to wait for an action from the enemy, we WILL STAND against the SCHEMES .
Lets stand together now, lets pray against the success of the enemy that tries to steal, kill and destroy!! Whatever the plan is we pray against it.
Daniel says: But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth. Nothing will stop the Kingdom of God!

This next week there will be a need for much more food and supplies in these liberated areas. There will also be many more people taken out of the destroyed cities like Mariuple, Kharkiv and others. There are still thousands of people stranded in these places. Negotiations are going on right now for some large transports of food and supplies. Pray for all those involved in these efforts and thank you for your prayers and giving. Your giving is making all of this possible.

Al Akimoff and the Slavic Ministries Team

“Boots on the Ground”
How many times have we heard the NATO leaders and American President say “No boots on the ground…”?
Who needs boots when you have (tennis shoes) or what we might call Nikes today. We have a whole army of Nike clad young people who are doing incredible things. These shoes are far better than boots for climbing 10 flights of stairs, decending into basements and carrying bags of food or carrying out grandmas. God has an army and they are doing amazing things in Ukraine today and they need our prayers.

Here is a fresh report from that army:

Hi friends.
Yesterday was a very difficult physically and emotional day.
Thanks to the great work of Sergei and his team God made it possible to send 15 humanitarian aid vehicles to Gostomel, Bucha, Borodyanka and other villages.
I was very pleased to see how God united many different people, meet friends from different cities, Kovel, Dnepropetrovsk God united all of us for a common cause, to bring love and care for those who suffered from the Russian genocide.
Friends, I must say that it is very difficult for me to describe everything I saw in ordinary words… There is a lot of anger, anger and not understanding inside how this could be done???
Looking at the destroyed cities and shot cars, seeing the eyes of frightened people, I want to cry with them.
People told terrible stories about the violence and the brutal attitude of Russian soldiers, about murders, robberies and looting. It’s hard to believe that a person could do this …
One question that we were asked by men, women, grandmothers in every house, will the Russians return to us again???
In the eyes of people there was a fear to experience this again they would not be able to… On this trip, God gave comfort and hope to people, we said with firm confidence that now this is our Earth again, Jesus the Lord is with us!!! We will win!!!
I want to thank all the people who prayed for my trip and who helped collect such a large load of humanitarian aid.
About 600 people were able to receive food packages, medicines and sleeping bags, potatoes, onions, and bread.
Thanks to everyone who cares about Ukraine with love and helps us shine where the light has faded.

There are so many unsung heros in this war, they are young and they are dedicated, they are disciples. They deserve our prayers and support. And maybe when this is over we can donate a new pair of shoes to each one.
“How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news.”

These next days will be very challenging as they go into these newly liberated towns and cities that are still under siege.
There are still thousands of people stranded in those basements.
Please Pray!

Al Akimoff and the Slavic Ministries Team