Notes from Ukraine March 24
Updated: Mar 29, 2022
Pastor Dmitry Bodyu. Early this morning, I received a call from a pastor we support in Venezuela letting me know that a missionary pastor had been abducted in Melitopol. One of my roommates was awake, and I asked him if he knew this pastor. Amazingly (nothing should be amazing in our business…), the two men I am rooming with know this pastor because they serve at the same church! I got in touch with his wife Helen and offered my support, not knowing what kind of support I could give. As she turned out, the Budyu family are missionaries with dual Ukrainian and US citizenship and have been serving in Ukraine for the last 30 years. They are well respected Christian leaders and friends of the church's lead pastor I am now serving at. Because pastor Dmitry is a pastor and a US citizen, the first question we had to his family was what kind of exposure they wanted to have about the abduction. The decision was to make the abduction as public as possible. Interestingly soon after this decision, a CBS network crew showed up on the doorsteps. They proceeded to help us contact whoever needed to be contacted after it was determined that pastor Dmitry was indeed a US citizen. The abduction took place several days ago, but given the sketchy communication, it is only until the last couple of days that the information has reached social media. Pray. I am in constant touch with his wife Helen, a US citizen, and I have made myself available for whatever they require. The two leaders I am sharing my room with are the same. I had asked for support for sending supplies to his besieged city.
The city of Lviv. Last night before curfew, I went for a hike around the city. Scary to walk around almost by myself in such an ancient city. What impresses me the most about this city is the stoning amounts of Christian temples scattered all over and as it appears in many churches in Europe, they no longer function as churches. I can not help but wonder what went wrong, why do people left the church? and will they ever return? I was also reminded that only recently, Latin America had a vibrant and growing evangelical church; however, its growth has been stalled. Will the many buildings serving as temples in Latin America will end up empty as it happened in Europe? https://www.creativephilanthropy.blog/post/the-rise-and-decline-of-the-evangelical-church-in-latin-america
My projects. I met with the leadership of this church this morning, and I had the opportunity to share one of my goals while here. I mentioned that I am concerned about water and people's reliance on bottled water. They agreed it can be a potential issue if things turn downhill. Given that logistically will be almost impossible for me to bring water filters from outside, I decided to help people learn how to make homemade water filters from locally found and accessible supplies. I now have acquired most of the supplies needed to build at least three different water filters, including three of them with 8 gallons capacity. I will make a teaching video, and I intend to give to local clinics the filters I will build. Another project which will need the assistance of one of you (or several) will be to bring from somewhere in Europe at least ten electric generators. Our church keeps receiving requests from churches and clinics for this need. Let me know if you would like to participate in such a project.
Venezuela: The prison ministry team made it into Tocoron prison camp. Reputable is the most dangerous prison in the Americas. The main gang leader has received us with gratitude and has made available all the land we can use for our garden project. Even his nightclub is available for our teaching sessions. We are hoping to partner with a Bible School willing to invest in training at least 400 leaders and pastors in desperate need of sound Bible guidance. Pray.
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In Pictures: Pastor Dmitry and Helen Budyu and some refuge passengers saying goodbye on the church’s bus, on their way to east Europe.