On February 24th Russia invaded Ukraine.

We want to thank all of you who have kept up with the news and continued to pray through these past months as well as have given to help us minister to the needs of the thousands who have been affected by this war.

Right now a number of us are at a family/youth camp in Poland ministering to both Polish and Ukrainian youth. There are many of these camps being held all around the border countries and throughout Ukraine. Thousands of young people and their families are being touched by compassion and care. We are thankful for all the teams that have come to help from all over the world. We had a tremendous breakthrough with the Ukrainians tonight, particularly a whole group of 21 orphans. They were a rowdy group when they came, but to see them so thankful to the Polish people who took them in and brought them to this camp, there was not a dry tear in the crowd.

Thousands have been given water and food in basements and apartments in countless towns and cities. Many have been taken out of these basements and destroyed houses and taken to safety to Western Ukraine and other border countries.

Every week a different group of our workers or partnering pastors are brought out to a city in a border country and taken to a beautiful apartment where they are given rest, comfort and ministry to their souls.

This past week many of the staff were sent on a retreat where they were ministered to by care teams from Western Europe, as well as given tools to help them minister to others.

Thousands of Ukrainian refugees are being taken in by a number of our centers and churches all around Europe. They are being fed and taken care of as more full time housing and living situations are being found. Kindergartens are being set up to care for the children to release their moms to find jobs. Many different means are being used to help children continue their education.

Several projects have been funded to buy and bake bread to feed hundreds in several different cities. Seed and fertilizer have also been delivered to farmers to help them not miss the planting season.

As the war has settled into a longer war on the eastern front, it is time to think of the future. Winter is coming quicker than we think, and we need to plan and work toward preparing for it. This week we will meet with a number of people in Ukraine to discuss the needs and strategies for the coming months. Would you pray for us, we need wisdom and the Holy Spirit’s leading. Thank you so much for your continued prayer and giving. All of the above has been due to your faithfulness!

Al Akimoff and the Slavic Ministries Team (from Poland)

Family/Youth Camp Poland Lisa W.
Today I crawled under a table and sat with Sasha in his pain and God spoke to both of us.

We were having an activity reenacting Jesus’ feeding of the 5,000.
We had baskets with huge marshmallows as bread and colorful gummy fish, all flexible, sugar-coated and washed in blues, greens, reds and yellows. As we were handing out the sugary stand-ins for the 2 fish and 5 loaves, I saw Sasha run over to a table in the corner, crawl under and lean against the wall with a look of despair.

I went over to the table, got down on my hands and knees, peered into the most beautiful brown eyes and asked, “Sasha, what is wrong? ” He looked at me like his world had crumbled. “I didn’t get any fish and now they are gone”. Somehow, I heard so much more behind that simple statement. I could see the pain in his eyes, the fear, the reality that his 7 year old world was a mess and no 7 year old should have to try to comprehend war.

You see, Sasha is Ukrainian. He speaks Russian, not Ukrainian. He is in Poland with his grandmother living with a family that he just met. His parents are both in the Ukrainian military. They are both in active combat on the front lines in two different places. Sasha is in pain, he is confused. I heard one of the children today ask him if he is Russian because he doesn’t speak Ukrainian. I watched as he emphatically said – “I am not Russian, I just don’t speak Ukrainian, but I am Ukrainian, not Russian” The fierceness with which he responded caught my attention and broke my heart. Sasha is 7 years old. He should be catching frogs, learning to ride a bike, enjoying carefree fun. He should be swimming and eating ice cream and going on summer vacation with his family. He should not have to defend his nationality or make an excuse for the language he speaks. Sasha should not have to fear that a senseless war will take the life of one or maybe both of his parents from whom he has been separated now for months.

I left Sasha under the table and discovered that once again the fish were multiplied. There was indeed more rubbery jelly, colorful fish for Sasha. We found another bag of fish we had missed when putting the snacks out, or maybe God did multiply the fish once again. I grabbed two fish and crawled back under the table with him. His brown eyes lit up as I handed him the fish.

We sat in silence for a few seconds. He munched and gnarled on the taffy-like candy. I looked him in the eye and said, “Sasha, I know things are really hard right now”. He shook his head up and down. “I’m so sorry that your Mom and Dad are not here with you”. He shook his head again. “Sasha, I want you to know how much God loves you and He is with you right now and always will be”. He nodded his head. We sat in silence a little longer just looking at each other.

We crawled out from under the table to join the rest of the class. Sasha ran over to sit with some of the other boys as class continued.

My heart breaks for Sasha and the thousands of children like him.

Lord, please allow these children to know that you sit with them in their pain.
Please show them how you STILL provide and you WILL provide now and in the future.
Remind me again and again how important it is to get down on my knees,
look these precious children in the eye and tell them about your magnificent love for them.

From Al Akimoff and the Slavic Ministries Team

Prayer for the residents from Secerodonetsk
Evacuees from Severodonetsk are only able to travel “towards Russia or occupied” territories in Ukraine. The healthcare situation in the eastern Ukrainian city is fragile and just a few doctors remain. The water and food situation in Severodonetsk is “critical.”

Prayer for residents in Zaporizhzhia
Hundreds of residents are being held captive in Enerhodar in the Zaporizhzhia region of Ukraine, “People are electrocuted, beaten, and held for weeks and sometimes months.”
120,000 residents of the city are trapped, unable to escape. Sanitary situation is becoming critical. “Garbage has not been taken out since February. Thousands of tons of garbage lie on the street, rotting. The sewer does not work. There is no water.” Russian forces have “distanced themselves from the locals because they are afraid of getting infected.”

Just happening now in Kremenchuk
Here are some images from the attack in Kremenchuk which left a shopping centre in flames. Two deaths have been confirmed but the number of victims is expected to rise significantly. People are purportedly trapped inside. A number of emergency services are on site trying to rescue those who were caught up in the strike. Around 1,000 people were inside at the time.

We would be grateful for your prayers over the Ukrainian people in these cities. Y teams continue to help where they can get in safely. Also pray for more volunteers to come and help in the ongoing needs.

Anya (Kyiv)
Today is the beginning of the G7 meetings and also an intensive day for Kyiv.
As I am writing it the city of Odessa is being hit!!
This muscle flexing is painful for many, but also proves the evil intention of Russia’s regime!
Please join us in prayer as leaders come together deciding on the respond! We need strong, wise, selfless leaders in this world.
May the Lord grant them His direction and graceful strength to do what is right!!!
May the Lord give us strength to endure this trial and mercy for the sufferings!!
May the Lord break our hearts and fill us with faith and revelation as we stand in prayerful battle!!

Al Akimoff and the Slavic Ministries Team (From Poland)

Explosions resounded through Kyiv early on Sunday following missile strikes – one person was killed after a building was hit and damaged. This morning’s attack on the capital was one of several Russia launched on Ukraine today

Yesterday, Ukrainian intelligence said Russia was also launching air strikes from inside neighbouring Belarus, a key ally of Moscow.

From one of our Y leaders in Ukraine
“Central Ukraine has been the target in the last couple of days. Over 30 missiles hit this part in the last couple of days. I see people are tired of the war and its getting tougher and tougher to hold on to the hope of a better future.”

“The troops on the North border with Belarus are intensifying too. Please intensify the prayer for Y staff and volunteers who are in this region where the bombing just occurred. Our staff are safe at the moment.

A Number of us are presently involved with summer camps spread across Poland and Ukraine. Yesterday a bus arrived with 21 Ukrainian orphans.. Please pray that we can minister to them effectively.

Al Akimoff and the Slavic Ministries Team (Poland)

War is a horrible thing! The destruction of God’s creation and man’s developments, homes, buildings, roads and bridges. But what is unseen often and is sometimes the hardest to restore is the soul of man.

To watch your city blown apart by bombs, those things that make up your memories, your school, your church, your home. Worse is to see your neighbor killed or maybe your husband your best friend or even worse your children. These are the most terrible casualties of war and many of us have seen soldiers come back to lives that will never be the same.

Yesterday we visited a very special place. It is an apartment that opens up to a view of old town Krakow, Poland. The inside is furnished simply but comfortably. As soon as you walk in you feel the presence of God, of love. This house was built on a vision of a leader of one of our centers in Ukraine. She saw her staff, whom she loved were giving of themselves selflessly around the clock. She saw her friends, pastors of churches and their wives tirelessly living out their lives for others. Who is giving back to these people, who is pouring love back into their lives that are often drained of that same love.

Out of that vision came “Respite.” A ministry that takes these selfless workers into this apartment and works on restoring and giving back that which has been poured out to countless people across Ukraine’s war torn cities and towns.

They come, some are couples, tired and with little left to give. For a week they are blessed with beauty, comfort, listening ears and ministry. Karen, one of the staff says, you should see the difference in their faces from the time they come to when they leave. One pastor escaped with his family from a bombed out city, delivered his family to the safety of a YWAM center then returned to that city to bring more people out. He continued to do this risking his life each time but not being able to stop until his body could take no more. He was able to finally breath and get his life back as he was ministered to by the staff and Holy Spirit.

Will you stand with us in prayer for this important ministry? Pray that tired and wounded souls can be restored. They go back with the things they learned to help restore the people in their towns.

Also, this week a team has come from Western Europe, a care team to hold a retreat in Ukraine for our overworked staff. Pray for rest, restoration and a new empowering of the Holy Spirit. Pray that their teaching and ministry will be powerful and effective and that it will be spread through the whole nation.

This too is warfare of a different but very needed kind.

Al Akimoff and the Slavic Ministries Team (Poland)

Extensive destruction in Lysychansk, the last city in Luhansk region still under Ukrainian control. The city is “half-destroyed by Russian artillery.”
The city’s roads are deserted — littered with upended vehicles — and the sound of incoming rounds seems almost constant. One citizen from that city says: “People die in their apartments, in their homes, in their yards.” Communications are difficult because the Russians are employing electronic warfare measures, meaning the state emergency service can’t reach victims of the shelling, nor organize evacuations.
Please pray for those in hiding within the city that they can receive food and medical supplies. Also, for a safe evacuation.

Report from Y Ukraine for prayer

Our Y teams continue their efforts to help many by delivering food and medical supplies. On going prayer needed for their safety as they travel hazardous roads to get to the people in need. Thank you!

“We have set up small hubs with humanitarian aid and evacuation along the front lines in Mykolaiv, Kharkiv and Zaporizhya, pray for our guys and their protection every time they are driving closer to the places of bombing.”

Thank you for your prayers, continue to pray for the many family, kids and youth camps going on. We begin one in Poland this week.

Al Akimoff and the Slavic Ministries Team