Ira Kapitanova (Kyiv)

Today is the last day of summer, which still feels like February. It’s as if we are in hibernation mode, going through motions but, in fact, waiting for the time when we’ll be able to live and breathe freely.

When I was a kid, we had a tradition for the potato harvesting season. We would usually exchange the first couple of sacks of potatoes for the sweet watermelons and enjoy the treat right there with sticky juice dripping all over the place. The watermelons were brought on a huge truck from Mykolaiv and were sold or exchanged. Later in the fall, the same truck would again bring onions, sweet peppers, and tomatoes in exchange for potatoes. This natural exchange was an excellent solution for the villagers who couldn’t afford to buy the vegetables. It was also an ideal solution for the people in the Mykolaiv region – grow what yields a great harvest and exchange for something that can’t be produced locally. This tradition has been ongoing for over 20 years, and the truck drivers knew their regular customers.

Needless to say, this year, there were no trucks from the Mykolaiv region, which makes me wonder where they are today, if their families are safe, and if they will have enough potatoes for the winter season.

Please, keep praying for the people in the temporarily occupied territories and those living on the front lines.

Marie John (Kyiv)

Galina is 76 years old and living alone since she lost her husband last September. Her village was the battleground between the Russians and Ukrainians. She was hiding in her garage for so long, and when the Russians came to her house they searched her house and property for 2 hours looking for men or weapons. When they left they told her to put a white cloth on her fence to show they already checked her house. She went to stay in a neighbor’s basement who was also alone when her house was completely destroyed by the bombs.

To save her wedding rings, she put them in a piece of China glassware. They were completely melted together after the bombing but she found them. She’s holding the melted pieces in her hand and she keeps it safe constantly in a bag she carries with her. she is currently living in a friend’s house at night and during the day she has a tent on her property she has been living in.

Now she has a temporary shelter we built her thar she can stay warm in the winter.

Homes of Hope SDB/HoHCluj

Al Akimoff and the Slavic Ministries Team