More thoughts from Ira (Kyiv)

Day 94
It is the end of May, a traditional end of the school year in Ukraine. I remember how it made me feel when I was a child – a little nostalgic yet excited for the endless opportunities of the summer break. That’s how the kids should think about it. However, this year is different. Ukrainian children will not have their traditional graduation parties. Most of them are scattered all over the world or are busy sheltering from Russian bombs and missiles. Our children have matured overnight because of the crazy ambitions of the Russian dictator.

Please, take your time to pray for the children of Ukraine. They ask serious questions. They are dealing with anxiety from sirens wailing with air raid warnings. They are learning to manage their emotions, especially anger at the situation. They experience losses on various levels – loss of security, their home, loss of a friend or a family member, loss of limbs. The war scars their childhood, and we pray for their future not to be crippled by this experience.

In these past three months, whenever I was thinking about the children in Ukraine, I would be reminded of the passages from Deuteronomy where God instructs Moses and the Israelites to make sure their children and their children’s children know about the great deeds of the Lord and understand and keep His commandments. Children will grow up to be the new generation, yet their childhood determines which way they will go as adults.

Will our children hate Russia forever? Will they learn to be cruel? Will they recover from the atrocities they experienced in their lives? If they left Ukraine as refugees, will they ever return home, and which country will they call their home? Will they always be afraid of thunder and the sound of an airplane? Will they understand what values their nation was fighting for, or will they take it for granted or disregard it completely?

The answers to these questions depend on what we, as parents, do today. They will learn from our responses and our actions. May God grant us wisdom in fulfilling this responsibility: “Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. Remember the day you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, when he said to me, “Assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children”.” (Deuteronomy 4:9-10)

The poem in today’s picture was written by Pavlo Vyshebaba, a Ukrainian man who currently serves in the Armed Forces of Ukraine. His family is in a safe place in Europe, and when his daughter asked him what she should write him about in a letter, he gave her this response. I am deeply moved by this poem because it shows the true heart of a father wanting to preserve his girl’s childhood.

According to the official reports, 242 children were killed in the war, and over 440 were wounded. Please, keep praying.

Al Akimoff and the Slavic Ministries Team

Day 92 Thoughts from Ira/Kyiv
As the fighting in the East of Ukraine intensifies, we need your prayer. The next few days (or weeks) are going to be tough. Belarus is conducting “military training” within 60 kilometers (40 miles) of the Ukrainian border. There is evidence of Russia accumulating troops in the Belgorod and Voronezh regions, which may mean renewed attacks on Kharkiv (and possibly Sumy) region. They have set up missile launchers in various locations along the border, so we expect many missile attacks. They will primarily aim at railroad stations and important infrastructure objects to prevent the supply of ammunition. Still, since we’ve seen their lack of precision in the past, anything can become a target. Please, pray for divine protection!

Pray for the temporarily occupied territories. There is a flood danger in Kherson region. The hydropower station in Kakhovka needs repair, but the occupational forces do not allow it. There is already some flooding, but many villages may end up underwater if the situation gets worse. My heart breaks for Kherson region – my grandparents were participating in the construction of the hydropower station in Kakhovka, and my parents spent their first years of marriage (and my first year of life) in a village that is just a few kilometers down the river from Kakhovka. And these are just a few personal connections that we have, but our friends have family members there.

The situation in occupied Mariupol is very sad. The city may be on the verge of a cholera outbreak because of a lack of sanitary conditions. People still don’t have electricity or running water, but the first thing the occupational forces did was set up giant screens to broadcast Russian propaganda. They announced that there would be no summer break for schools in the occupied Mariupol so that the children could “catch up on Russian language and history” (a.k.a. intense brainwashing). At the same time, the occupational government in Crimea suggested removing the English language from the school curriculum, explaining that it’s dangerous (it may get a child interested in other countries) and useless to people who will never go to London. At least they admit they are afraid of open-minded people.

Today’s picture is from a world hockey championship that’s taking place in Finland. The game was between the Czech Republic and Latvia teams, so the organizers wouldn’t allow any other flags to be displayed there. The creative Czech fans came up with a solution. On their national flags, they wrote a famous slogan from the days of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, “Ivan, go home; your Natasha is waiting for you.” They put up a poster that asks you to imagine a Ukrainian flag in the middle. Thankfully, the countries that underwent Soviet oppression understand the actual danger of the Russian invasion and have the courage to speak up.

Teams continue to minister to towns and villages, the need remains great. Please pray for them as they travel far afield every day.

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

Another good word from Marie John (Kyiv)
The return of the horses
One young woman we met in a village just outside of Kyiv told us a story: As the whole village was under occupation, the Russians set up their headquarters close to the horse farm. Days passed, and they would not allow anyone in to feed and take care of the horses. So, this lady who happens to live right next to the farm came up with an idea. She took heart and went straight to the Russians, asking them to free all the horses so they would not perish from hunger and thirst. Miraculously, they agreed. It is an even greater miracle that after six long weeks of occupation, just days after the Russians left the village, the horses returned. The girl smiles as she says, “One by one they returned. Not one is missing. Somehow they knew it was time to come home.”

But there are some who are not coming home. Three neighbors, who were dragged out of their homes and into the forest, close to the occupiers’ camp, did not return. We spent the afternoon walking the mined area very carefully and searching every square meter with a drone.
It feels so unreal. Suddenly seeing something in the thick grass. This fearlessness in our hearts when we look at each other and decide to slowly lift the cover of something (or someone) laying there on the ground. Knowing a mine could burst and swallow us at any moment.

We don’t have a death wish. We do live a bit more dangerously these days. I dearly love this verse: Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But God does not take away life; instead, he devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him (2 Samuel 14:14). Indeed, he has made a way so that everyone who believes will not be estranged from him! Have we realized that? Not just in a cognitive and theoretical way, spelling it out in credos and liturgies. How would we live if we realized that Christ is indeed truly risen? Would our lives not suddenly start looking differently, would we not stop trying to grab things and hold on to things that ultimately perish?

Paul says – If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.
Ultimately, knowing Christ is risen gives us the certainty that we too will return home. And on this side of the world, there is an inner compass guiding and returning us ever so back to Him, no matter how far we might have gone astray. The decision to follow it is ours though.

Thank you for your prayers and giving….
Al Akimoff and the Slavic Ministries Team

Some thoughts from Ira from Kyiv
It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. (Deuteronomy 31:8)
This verse came to mind as I was praying tonight. We went outside today to check on our vegetable garden when we heard a loud noise in the sky. A Russian missile rocket was flying over our house. It was low enough to see it very well. At that moment, I felt a whole range of emotions – fear, anger, helplessness. I started yelling at it, “Disappear! Disappear!” The anguish of knowing it will bring destruction to some unsuspecting people and being powerless to do anything about it. The only thing I could do was pray, so I prayed for this missile to be shot down, for it not to bring any destruction and death, for the protection of our air defense forces, and for God’s punishment on those who came to kill. The missile was gone in a matter of seconds, but we were pretty shaken and would stop in our tracks from any noise.
When I went inside, I immediately went online to check if a missile attack did any damage. Praise God, there was a report about at least 4 missiles rockets shot down. There was also a report about another missile rocket that fell into the river, not causing any damage. A couple of days ago, another missile hit an empty toilet at a beach in Odesa. According to the reports, the success rate of Ukraine’s air-defense system went from 29% at the beginning of the war to 72%. I know that there are thousands of prayers and hundreds of lives saved behind each of these reports, and I praise God.

Russia is launching another information attack on a world scale. In the past week, there were statements made by different people in different countries with a similar idea that Ukraine should give up currently occupied territories to let Putin “keep the face” and let the world get back to normal. We know how Russian propaganda works and how well-meaning people can be fed false ideas to be brought to the conclusions that would be useful for Russia. These statements that just happen (coincidence?) to be so similar are as far from a good solution as possible. Russia occupied Crimea and parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions in 2014 but didn’t stop there. It just waited a little bit and came back for more.

You know, many Russians believe that Alaska was given to the USA as a gift or that it was “rented out” to the US for some time. What if they decide to reclaim Alaska as their territory? After all, that’s the reason they used to explain the annexation of Crimea. Would you agree that Alaska should be just given to Russia to appease the madman? And what about the people living there? Should they be gifted to Russia along with the land? Would it qualify as human trafficking? I hope you see how absurd these ideas are once you look deeper. So I pray for God’s truth to prevail in the hearts and minds of all people, but especially those in the position to make critical decisions. I praise God for all the support we’ve been given and pray that we’ll have grateful hearts.

Today’s picture is from Melitopol (Zaporizhzhia region). The occupational government ordered to burn down books on Ukrainian history (and other dangerous Ukrainian literature). I remember reading “Fahrenheit 451” in high school and thinking it was too dystopian ever to come true. I guess we’re seeing it come to life along with Orwell’s “1984”

Some thoughts to help you as you continue to pray for Ukraine, pray against this powerful propaganda machine that continues to deceive so many around the world. Pray for truth to prevail.

Al Akimoff and the Slavic Ministries Team

Anya Kyiv
“If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.”
This is where Ukraine is right now! From one side we rejoice with one part of our body: Kyiv has been liberated, Chernigiv, Sumy, Kharkiv and many villages, the threat has moved to the East and South at this moment. We are honoured by the heroism of our soldiers and our people, we are honoured by miracles God has extended for us and with us. We are crying and rejoicing over losses and gains.
But we as well are in pain, our souls and bodies are literally in pain for our east, for our south, for Azovstal, Kherson, Odessa, Izum and so many other towns, villages.
Our country is bleeding – it’s bleeding lives, bleeding homes, roads, bridges, factories, schools, hospitals, grain, oil, harvest. The road for freedom is rich in loss! The road for recovery needs to be rich in grace and miracles.
Please pray for this BLEEDING to END!! The enemy has come to kill, steal and destroy, BUT GOD….. – proclaim what God is doing!

As our teams move into these newly liberated areas they are encountering tremendous needs. Particularly among the elderly that could not leave these towns and villages.

They go though roads that are bombed, they have to be careful of mines. They have long hours of travel and walking through villages that have been destroyed. Yet they come back to our centers filled with joy. Every day they send pictures, hundreds of them, they are albums of miracles.

We want to share some of those with you.

So many remain displaced, they need food and water and other necessities, but they also need fellowship and ministry and lot’s of love.

Once again, thank you for your prayers and giving that makes all of this possible. These are mostly young people giving of themselves to be that expression of the Love of Jesus to these people.

Pray for them, pray for strength, health, safety, sound mind and lot’s of grace.

Thank you,
Al Akimoff and the Slavic Ministries Team

Please Pray for Russia
It’s so hard to watch Russia return to the past. Here is an account of one of those steps backward.

Thousands of schoolchildren gathered on Red Square wearing red hats and neckerchiefs Sunday as Russia’s Communist Party inducted new members of the Pioneers, the party’s youth organization during the U.S.S.R.

During the event marking the youth organization’s 100th anniversary, roughly 5,000 children aged 9 to 14 were given the title “All-Russian Pioneers.”

While the Young Pioneers was dissolved when the Soviet Union collapsed, some lawmakers are currently pushing for the creation of a similar movement to instill patriotic values in Russians from an early age.

The push comes as Russian authorities continue their efforts to rally domestic support behind its invasion of Ukraine — and to suppress voices opposing it. Pray for Russia…

Update Y Ukraine
Authorities in Ukraine’s south-eastern Zaporizhzhia region have reported civilian injuries – following Russian missile strikes on a village. Many refugees
from Azovstal in Mariupol were sent to Zaporizhsha for safety. Now that city is under siege.
“One of the teams is going to Zaporizhsha, which 70% of that area is occupied and the attempts to take over more are constant. People are in constant danger there. Another team and an aid load is going to Kharkiv, same situation there, attempts to take over territory. So prayers for safety are very needed. And Devine meetings and savings of people. Hunger, thirst, dangerous situation, hopelessness, despair – we want to bring more than food. The touch of God, His thoughts and His compassionate and capable heart.”

Thank you for your prayers, thank you for giving…

Al Akimoff and the Slavic Minsitries Team

Aside from the grocery bags, people can hear testimonies of God’s love. And it is inspiring

From Yulia
I am so amazed by how beautiful God is.
How He loves community and working together.
Being on the other side of the border I see even more examples of unity and people coming alongside to help Ukraine and Ukrainians.
On this picture there is a little boy getting a toy during one of our food distribution trips. But for this to happen so many people have come together and put their hearts, minds, time, finances in, so that this boy could get a little gift with a big meaning, to bring him joy and proof that he is seen by God.
Last week our team delivered 910 food bags in Kyiv and Kyiv, Chernigov, Sumskiy regions.

We keep working and responding to the needs in areas nearby but also we were able to reach out to places that are right now under fire and occupation. They are going through the same thing Kyiv region went through a little less than a month ago. Kharkiv, Mykolaiv, Zaporizhya region. We were blessed with great connections and were able to set up small humanitarian aid centers there. Each week part of our team goes to this location and joins the teams we partner with on ground to bring aid close to the front line.

This week we sent 38 tons (3 trucks) of food to these small YWAM hubs.
This all is possible because of generosity of so many people around the word.
Any amount of help is not too small if we do it in obedience to God.

Prayer points for Ukraine
The Russian military have fired on a school in Severodonetsk, in eastern Ukraine’s Luhansk region, where more than 200 people were hiding – many of them children.
Please pray for the safety and rescue of these Ukrainians hiding in the school.
Cars full of people trying to evacuate were stuck at a Russian checkpoint in the city of Vasylivka.

“In Vasylivka, the occupiers have not allowed more than 1,000 cars to enter the territory controlled by Ukraine for the fourth day in a row,” there are women and children in the cars, and that most of them no longer have money for food and water.

Please pray that they can get a breakthrough to safety and the women and children will receive food and water.
Y Ukraine continues to help those in need a midst difficult and dangerous conditions

Al Akimoff and the Slavic Ministries Team

Today Kyle (Leader in Kyiv). shared this story with us over the phone. Today, my three teammates and I picked up a man named Viktor, who is allowing me to share his story. Viktor is from Mariupol, the famous city leveled by the Russians. Since the beginning of the war, Viktor and his brother and sister-in-law have been taking care of his mother, who was 91 years old and unable to escape. Viktor’s daughter and grandchildren were able to get out early, but he stayed behind for his mother.

As the war dragged on, he lost communication, water, gas, and power. Thankfully, he had been preparing and have reserve water in his bathtub and food stocked. Recently, his mother passed away and so he decided it was time for him and the rest of the family to leave.

The Russians allowed him out and he got to Berdyansk, another occupied city on the coast. At Berdyansk he was able to get out and began hitchhiking and walking the 130km to Zaporizhya. After seven days of walking/hitchhiking, we stopped along the road and picked up this gentle, spirited man at the request of the Ukrainian military. He has lost everything, but the joy on his face and the joy in his heart when he got into our vehicle was something I will never forget. Fighting tears and trembling at times, he told us his story and that he needed to get to Lviv to meet the rest of his family.

b.o.sport_okrug was able to get him a phone and new phone number, give him a bit of rest and drive him to the train station and get him on the train where he will be reunited with his family tomorrow morning. THESE ARE THE PEOPLE YOU ARE HELPING! This man is you and your generosity and prayers.

Yulia (Kyiv)
This is what we see every time coming to the villages with food bags. Crowd of people waiting. They need food but not only physical, their hearts need living water and bread of life that is Jesus. We have great opportunity to speak into their lives and share about God’s love and hope. Today we delivered 475 food bags in Kyiv and Chernigov region. Thank you Jesus for these people who heard Your word today.

Al Akimoff and the Slavic Minstries Team

Life in the Sea of Azov could be threatened with extinction due to the bombing of the Metallurgical Combine ‘Azovstal’ in Mariupol.
The Ukrainian military maintained their defence of the ‘Azovstal’ plant for 82 days. The Russian occupying forces tried to wipe the plant off the face of the earth, and then announced that they would turn the territory of the steelworks into a “park area”.
According to Mariupol City Council, destruction of the ‘Azovstal’ plant by Russian invaders could damage a technical facility that holds back tens of thousands of tons of concentrated hydrogen sulphide solution. If this liquid were to leak into the Sea of Azov, it could wipe out the flora and fauna there.
After that, dangerous substances could also get into the Black and Mediterranean Seas.
“International experts and the United Nations must be granted immediate access to the facility, in order to study the situation and prevent an environmental catastrophe of world-class proportions,” says Mariupol City Council.

The Russian invaders completely destroyed the National Gene Bank of Plants of Ukraine, located in Kharkiv.
The bank kept more than 160 thousand varieties of plant seeds, and hybrids of agricultural crops worldwide. They have been collected for decades.
Among them there were varieties that were hundreds of years old. Such old varieties cannot be restored.
“Ukrainian Gene Bank of Plants survived the Second World War, the occupation of Kharkiv, but did not survive the invasion of Russian,” reports Ukrainian Committee for Humanitarian and Information Policy.
There are only few Gene banks of plants in the world.


Wars often cause horrible damage to the earth. Often there is no regard to what damage is done and that it could be lasting damage, sometimes for decades or even a llifetime.

II Chronicles 7:14
If my people, which are called by my name, shall ahumble themselves, and bpray, and seek my cface, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Can we pray for the earth of Ukraine, the bread basket of the world at one time. So many millions of people are dependent on Ukraine and Russia for wheat, grain, corn and sunflower oil.

Al Akimoff and the Slavic Minsitries Team

Report from Y Ukraine – May 17
“Team is well. Tomorrow they are going to Zaporizhsha. We are bringing supplies and ministry to the people still there.
Please pray for the Kharkiv team. They are in some really dangerous condition. There is the noise of bombing in the background. They are evacuating a lot. Every morning they wake up to new distractions in the villages.
Appreciate your prayers for safety and wisdom on the teams. Thank you.

The need for food continues for the people of Ukraine. Here is what we are doing to meet the need:
“This used to be where Y Ukraine location held their meetings but has now been turned into a warehouse for supplies. Every day this warehouse fills up and empties and then fills up again. What comes in goes out immediately to meet the needs of the people in and around Kyiv. Sometimes the supplies are taken to the front lines in the east as well.”
Please pray for continued finances and food to be available for the needs of the suffering Ukrainians.

Japhin is from India and is one of our staff members who felt the Lord led him and his wife Marie from Germany to stay in Ukraine once the war began. “This is how we make bags which we send out to the villages.
– On average, a bag takes a little over a minute.
– A bag feeds a family for more than a week.
– We always try to hand over the bags in person because, at the end of the day, what we give is more than just-food. We believe Hope, faith, and love are more important than a meal. Thank you for giving and making all this happen.”

The teams are going deeper into the liberated areas and are finding more and more desperate needs. Please pray for safety for them, there are land mines, unexploded bombs and bombs that are still being fired at surrounding areas to Kyiv and other cities.

Al Akimoff and the Slavic Ministries Team