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The news is currently full of stories and pictures of the mobilization of reservists and the fear of
being drafted by young men throughout Russia. Borders are backed up by many miles, airplane
tickets are not only very expensive but are sold out for weeks. Trains and other means of
transport are filled to capacity. This of course brings the interest of the whole world to this

Stories are coming out of Russia that some villages are totally empty of men as especially poor
and remote places are being targeted. Minority peoples who already make up a
disproportional amount of the military are once again targeted for mobilization.

Where this comes home is when it hits your friends and families. Zhenya, a Y leader who left
earlier and is abroad now wrote how his family is affected as now his sister and brother in law
are among these masses and 10 families from his church. There are 10 families from his not
very large church who are leaving, then multiply this by the hundreds of churches affected and
you begin to feel and see the situation for what it is.

Our Y family is also affected by this and many of them are part of these masses as well. How I
wish we could give you their names and show you pictures of them, but we can’t. All we can ask
you for is for prayer for them. I just received a phone call from Russia asking for just that:

“Please pray for us!”

There are no details to share at this point, only a desperate request for prayer. Can we pray for
miracles, for protection, for difficult decisions that have to be made. Pray that this can be a
turning point in this war, that the people of Russia will finally rise up and stand against this evil.

Al Akimoff and the Slavic Ministries Team

The Finnish Russian Border

Ira Kapitavova (Kyiv)

Lead me to the rock that is higher than I,
for you have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the enemy.
Psalm 61:2‭-‬3‬

Today, we keep rejoicing over the deliverance of our POWs from Russian captivity, but we keep thinking and praying about the thousands that remain in captivity. We also keep praying for the healing and recovery (both physical and emotional) of the prisoners who returned home.

There are plenty of videos of the bizarre Russian “mobilization” (“burialization” as many Ukrainians call it, for Putin sends his fellow citizens to their sure death). The saddest part is that people of non-Russian nationalities (indigenous nations of the Russian Federation) are the first to be drafted. There are reports that in some remote settlements, no men are left. Putin managed to create a double genocide – against Ukrainians and against the non-Russian population of his country. May God deal with him according to His justice.

The Russian army keeps targeting Ukrainian civil infrastructure – over 10 missiles hit Zaporizhzhia tonight, not counting the attacks on other cities earlier in the day.

There seems to be general chaos in Russia as thousands have crowded the borders especially to the countries of Georgia and Finland and other border lands where they are reporting lines of cars stretching for miles.

This is a picture of Moscow Airport where you see thousands of young men trying to leave the country.

Please do pray for Russia and for the people who desire peace , it’s usually not the people who are behind these authoritarian regimes. Pray too for Iran, where a similar situation is going on. In both of these places thousands of people are on the streets being beaten and arrested. Pray that God will have mercy on these countries, that justice and peace will prevail.

Pray too for the elections going on in the occupied areas, pray that the officials will be overcome with guilt and that truth will prevail.

These are extremely important days to be praying for Ukraine and the world.

Al Akimoff and the Slavic Ministries Team

Home projects update for Ukraine

These are the two projects that YWAM is involved with, in providing temporary housing for Ukrainian villagers in the liberated areas.

Report from “Homes of Hope”

We picked up a need for homes with the challenge of 100 homes and we are very close. We have 50 homes up. October 1st is another wave when we plan to build 30 more. And then by the end of October, we plan to finish all 100. Over this time period, we will have around 150-200 volunteers join us. Last time we had 10 different nations come to help.

The team on the ground is doing well, but they are tired and I can see weary spirits too. As we were working around the area, we all were very emotional, seeing people that lost everything, and a lot of them lost loved ones. We are praying now as to what God sees us doing. What mission He has for us. Thank you again for all your care and help!!!

Report from “My Home Project”

Thank you for your prayers, love and care for all of us who are in Ukraine. We are putting our 30th home up today from My Home Project in one of the villages bombed recently and we are made to order for another 10 homes. We raised money for a total of 100 homes and have some promises for another 200 homes. (I really pray that those promises will come into reality).

Also we have another project of transforming a school into a long-term living facility for 60 refugees. We are partnering with the local government in this project.

We continue to do food packages distribution and in two weeks we will start delivery of portable wooden stoves for heating into the Eastern side of Ukraine. Please pray for the strength of people who are involved in these projects. The need is big and, in many ways, very overwhelming. But we believe that God will help us to go through this challenging time.

These are the two different kinds of homes being built by the two different projects.

We ask for continual prayer for the projects. For financial provision and strength for the teams to complete their goals. Thank you!

The situation in Russia today is quite dire, as many thousands have gone to the streets to protest. Every one-way ticket out of the country is sold and the borders into countries like Finland are backed up for hours. This is due to the announcement by Putin for a call up of reservists. Many are worried about the possibility of a full-scale mobilization. Pray for the people of Russia, for the many who long for peace.

Thank you for your prayers,

Al Akimoff and the Slavic Ministries Team

Donations can be made via 100% of the funds will go to the needs in Ukraine and Ukrainian refugees at YWAM locations in surrounding nations.

Talking on the phone today with a long term resident of Russia I was told some unsettling news. He said that the word was spreading in Russia of a mobilization coming (a military draft), and possible martial law. This caused some concern for some of our Christian brothers and sisters who are trying to leave the country. Would you pray for them and for the many Russian people who desperately want peace

Another item for prayer is that Putin is pushing for a vote in the Donbas region for unification with Russia. Such a vote is not legal in international law but then nothing he has done has been. But it would make this part of Ukraine part of Russia and thus attacking it would bring more repercussion from Russia and even the potential of then using nuclear arms against Ukraine.

These are matters for serious prayer and this comes as Ukraine has seen some amazing victories in the last days. One village reported that the Russians that were in their village stole civilian clothing and bicycles and pedaled their way back toward Russia. Ukraine has been taking back many villages that have been held by Russia for months.

Pray for our teams who will be bringing food and aid to these places. Thank you for your continued prayers.

Al Akimoff and the Slavic Ministries Team

Anya (Kyiv)

Seeing the devastations in Kyiv region, so many broken lives, homes, I couldn’t help but think about the east and south. In Kyiv the occupation was only for 40 horrible days, what is waiting for us in the east and south after 200+ days? And now we are so rejoicing for freedom in Kharkiv region and some in the South.

BUT here is a heartbreak! Mass graves, tortured people, hunger, crime after crime, cruelty after cruelty.
Izum has discovered so far a mass grave for over 400 people- soldiers, men, women, children – and counting…

This is where we say freedom is not enough. We want to be free, but not empty, filled with King’s mercy, comfort, healing, dominion over the enemy, dominion and power to bring restoration to the distraction.

Today’s picture – people on the train from Kharkiv to Balakliia. Returning home after de-occupation. Picture by Herman Krieger

Ukraine military are taking back territory that Russia had gained control of. Ukrainian citizens who lived in fear while living in the Russian occupied territory now are rejoicing as their towns and villages have been given back to them. Our hearts go out to those who lived in hiding during this time. Please pray for healing. Even though homes were destroyed, the people have regained a little hope. Pray also for our teams who will be ministering to the many in these towns and villages.

Thank you for your continued prayers

Al Akimoff and the Slavic Ministries Team

Oles (Kyiv)

These are two posts from a dear frined in Kyiv, he has been going to some of the most difficult places, sometimes alone to take food and medicines to the very needy. Here is a good report from him from the Occupied Donetsk region.

I spent the 200th day of war in Donetsk region. I’ve been seeing things lately but I don’t remember a church full of people coming to church that there wasn’t enough room. Now it’s happening in Donetsk region. Six rockets flew into Pokrovsk this night, it’s very close. Two more rockets just flew over heads. But that did not stop people from coming to hear the word of God. They are thirsty to hear the truth.
Please pray for Oles and pray for the people of Donetsk.

This is another post from the same friend. As we begin a new year of school in our countries, let’s remember the kids starting school in Ukraine, and let’s pray for them.

Young kids studying in a makeshift classroom in Sportyvna station of Kharkiv Metro.

On 1 September, it’s back to school for Ukrainian kids… but, classes will be held mostly online.

Today, Ukrainian children are learning in schools with bullet holes in walls and sandbags in windows, bomb shelters in basements and shrapnel in school yards. The education system in eastern Ukraine has been in the crossfire for over 8 years and all across Ukraine since 24 February.

As of 1 September, 380 Ukrainian children have been killed, 736 injured, 228 missing, 7297 deported.

Al Akimoff and the Slavic Ministries Team

Ira Kapitanova (Kyiv)

God looks down from heaven on the children of man to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. Psalm 53:2

Today, Russians fired 8 missiles at Kryvyi Rih, hitting hydraulic infrastructure (the Inhulets river dam) and attempting to flood the city. They must have chosen the city because it is the hometown of our President, so they view it as some sort of revenge. Just another day of terrorist attacks.

Since September 6, our troops have liberated 388 towns and villages in the Kharkiv region. That’s about 150,000 people.

Medical volunteers Tata Kepler and Natalia Leliukh share the stories from the newly liberated villages around Balakliya and Izum.

– “They told us you would shoot us when you come.”
– “For what reason?”
– “For living under occupation, for not being able to leave, for taking bread from them…”
– “Come, let me hug you. I promise you not to shoot. They lied to you…”
– (Conversation with the people who lived without electricity, phone connection, and information since early spring and knew nothing about Bucha, Mariupol, and everything else)

People were forced to work for food – clearing up debris for 4 cans of meat per month. There was no way to leave the occupied settlements – the back roads were mined, the main roads had Russian checkpoints, and the only way to escape was through the territory of Russia, but you needed to pay $500 to get to the Estonian border, and no one had this money.

– “My son is 16. He’s been living in the cellar for six months, and he still refuses to come out.” (tall man with gray hair)
– “Do you know what I did when our troops came? I cried! Cried from happiness. No one believed that they would come, but I believed, and they did. My wife and I slept on the floor this whole time, the windows were broken, but we put a couch in front of the window so that it would protect us from the shells, and it did.”

I weep and am shaken after reading such reports, but I praise God that these people have been delivered. The pensioners from the occupied territories have already received their pensions for the past 4 months (they could not get the money because of the occupation), and postal services have already renewed their operations there. Life will return to the Kharkiv region and the rest of the temporarily occupied territories.

Today’s picture – you may have already seen it, but I can’t omit it. In the newly liberated Balakliya, they found “The Lord’s Prayer” scribbled on the wall of a torture chamber of a Russian prison. We don’t know what happened to the prisoner who wrote it, but I know that he was freer than those who kept him captive and bound.

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.” Isaiah 61:1

Al Akimoff and the Slavic Ministries Team

The United Nations said that there have been credible allegations of forced transfers of Ukrainian children to Russian occupied territory, or to the Russian Federation itself. More than 121,000 children have been forcibly deported to Russia since April of this year. This number includes orphaned children and those who have one or both parents.

The Russian authorities have adopted a simplified procedure to grant Russian citizenship to children without parental care, and that these children would be eligible for adoption by Russian families. The Russian authorities allow the movement of children from Ukraine to families in the Russian Federation. This does not appear to include steps for family reunification or in other ways ensure respect for the principle of the best interests of the child.

We need to pray that this will stop and that children will be reunited with parents. For healing to come to parents as well as the children from the trauma they have been exposed to.

Al Akimoff and the Slavic Ministries Team

Ira Kapitanova (Kyiv)

I believe that I shall look upon the goodness
of the Lord in the land of the living!
Wait for the Lord;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord!
Psalm 27:13‭-‬14

Today, it felt like I was glued to my phone, constantly checking the news and praying. Two days ago, the President of Ukraine said the Ukrainian army had liberated 1,000 square kilometers of our land. In tonight’s report, that number doubled.

Over the past two days, our army liberated several towns in the Kharkiv region and successfully conducted offensives in the Donetsk, Luhansk, and Kherson regions. The enemy army is running away in fear, leaving behind their weapons, so our soldiers joke that despite the lend-lease with the US, it looks like Russia is our leading ammunition supplier. The occupational authorities are panicking and trying to escape to Russia.

I can’t tell you how many videos from the newly liberated territories I watched today (I will include some links in the comments). I was watching and crying. I think everyone has seen pictures of the soldiers being greeted after WWII, with people coming into the streets, throwing flowers, and waving at the soldiers. I remember those scenes from Soviet post-war movies, and I always thought those were staged and scripted. However, when I look at the people greeting our soldiers, I think the emotions were downplayed in the movies.

In one video, the people in the Kherson region stand along the road of a newly liberated town and bring watermelons and fruit to the soldiers passing by.

In the pictures from the newly liberated Shevchenkove (Kharkiv region), people are painting a bus stop in the colors of a Ukrainian flag. I can’t help but wonder if they were stocking up on paint in hopes for this day or if it was the urge of the moment.

Kupiansk, one of the larger (and strategically important cities) in the Kharkiv region, is liberated now. The Russians left it in a hurry, but during the raid, our soldiers found Russian teachers who came there to teach the Russian curriculum to our children. They were left behind by the occupational authorities and will have to face charges for the illegal crossing of the border and assistance of the occupational forces.

Encouraging reports also came from the international arena. The Russian propagandists claim that Europe is tired of Ukraine, but recent sociology polls say the opposite: 70% of Germans said they would keep supporting Ukraine despite the increasing fuel prices, and only 21% said the support for Ukraine should be decreased, especially if it meant lower fuel prices.

In this whirlwind of emotions, reports, and pictures, one video (posted in the comments) stood out. It gave me goosebumps because it’s something that could have only been orchestrated by God. Our soldiers pull down a Russian propagandist poster from a billboard in Kupiansk, and underneath it, they find a poster with the portrait of Taras Shevchenko and an excerpt from his poem. It felt like a tremendous encouragement and prophetic message:

And glory, mountains blue, to you,
In ageless ice encased!
And glory, freedom’s knights, to you,
Whom God will not forsake.
Keep fighting — you are sure to win!
God helps you in your fight!
For fame and freedom, march with you,
And right is on your side!

These kinds of reports are coming from many different sides, please pray with us that these are true and that God is answering prayer. Pray that lives would be spared on both sides.

Al Akimoff and the Slavic Ministries Team

Tatyana Sokolvska (Kyiv)
First part of the project is done! It was 10 days of intensive work of 75-90 people in Kyiv area. We did almost 50 temporary houses (4 still in a process) for those who’s houses was destroyed by Russian.

Tiredness is compensating by satisfaction because almost 50 families will have a place to live through out the winter in their own warm home. It is not just houses it 50 different stories thous are breaking hear . Bringing to people the hope and God’s care with wonderful team from 7 countries it was a real blessing and joy!

Thanks everyone, who participated in any way during this project by coming, supporting by finances and of course by prayers!
If you want to be a part of next project of 50 more houses during September and Oktober , will be happy to work with you here.

Please continue your prayers for the building of the Shelters. Many more will be needed by winter.

Al Akimoff and the Slavic Ministries Team