Ira Kopitavova (Kyiv)

Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me!
O Lord, make haste to help me!
Let those be put to shame and disappointed altogether who seek to snatch away my life;
let those be turned back and brought to dishonor who delight in my hurt!
But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who love your salvation say continually, “Great is the Lord!”
Psalm 40:13‭-‬14‭, ‬16 ‬‬

September 1 is traditionally the first day of school, the Day of Knowledge as we call it. My parents are teachers, so this day always had a special festive mood and anticipation. I’ve always felt nostalgic and emotional on this day.
That’s why I feel overwhelmed today and choking with emotions.

Because children shouldn’t experience war, they shouldn’t have their classes interrupted to go to their bomb shelter because of the air raid. They shouldn’t bring an emergency backpack to school (a recommendation from the police in big cities) and have a 3-day stash of supplies in case the school is under rubble, and they must wait for the rescue team. They shouldn’t be separated from their friends and teachers seeking refuge abroad. They should be reading adventure stories instead of learning to discern different land mines and acquiring the “life in times of war” skills (new recommended school subjects).

Those are only the obvious “wrongs” of this war, but there are so many more deep emotional wounds that will take a while to heal – the fear, anxiety, sense of loss, identity crises, separation from family and home… Only God can heal those.

Please, pray for the Lord’s protection over our children. May He find them where they are now, may He heal them from their hurt, and may He shape them to be the generation He wants them to be. Pray for His touch upon their hearts.
And we praise God there were no provocations or massive missile attacks today!

Today’s pictures come from Kharkiv and Kostiantynivka (Donetsk region). The children came to their schools for the first day of school. Since February 24, Russia has permanently destroyed over 270 and damaged 2.7 thousand educational institutions.

Al Akimoff and the Slavic Ministries Team

Photos by Viktoriya Vakhodska and Kostyantyn Liberov.