The congregation of a Ukrainian church that has been assisted by the people of Alabama was awakened Thursday morning by the sound of rockets and an air alarm, warning the country was under the threat of an attack.
Dmytro Bulakh, the pastor of Grace Evangelical Church, located in Kyiv, Ukraine, said his congregation is no longer in the church building. The group moved to another location after Bulakh said a group of refugees from the east needed shelter and moved into the church.
“We moved out at the end of Spring,” said Bulakh. “The group of refugees from the east needed the building to escape hardship of occupation.”
But Thursday morning, Bulakh and his church family awakened to a sound that could not be mistaken.
“Nothing more scary than [to] wake up after the explosions,” Bulakh remembered. “This morning in a direction that I’m living, another rocket attack happened about 5:30 a.m. It ... greatly reminded me [of] the early morning of 24 of February when [the] war [began].”
Bulakh said he heard that 15 people were injured and homes were damaged by rockets.
Keeping the Faith
Through it all, the congregation has not lost its faith.
“We continue to share [the] love of God with many people,” said Bulakh.
Grace Evangelical Church continues to have two Sunday services and a Wednesday night prayer service each week.
“Even at the risk of rocket attack [the] people [are] still wanting to celebrate the Lord,” Bulakh said. “Hear the Word, have fellowship and support of each other during this time. Thank God they are bringing children, families looking for help not in the world but in the Word.”
The pastor told a story about a woman who came to the church for safety. She had never been interested in Jesus, according to Bulakh. But after getting help from church members, the woman said she saw the Holy Spirit and was forever changed.
“Now, she got saved and is attending the gathering and helping her neighbors with our food packages,” Bulakh added.
Helping the people in Ukraine
People are still coming to Grace Church’s congregation for help. Ronnie Dixon, of Pinson, helped start Grace Church with Christian Light Ministries. As a member of the Clay-Pinson Chamber of Commerce, Dixon has set up a way for people to donate directly to those in Ukraine.
“You sent Grace Evangelical $11,000 in the first 12 weeks of the occupation,” Dixon posted on Facebook. “Now we might have to gear up to support the people again. Don’t be fooled by what you see on the news. These billions of dollars are not reaching the citizens and in some cases, the implements are not reaching the Army yet.”
The Latest in Ukraine
Russian forces in recent days have intensified their shelling of cities and villages in eastern Ukraine while also stepping up airstrikes in the south. At the same time, the Kremlin’s troops are facing mounting counterattacks from the Ukrainians in the Kherson region, which was captured by Moscow early in the war.
“Thank God for new weapons equipment that's helping disable the rockets,” Bulakh said. “But it is still not disabling all.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy claimed that Russia has lost nearly 40,000 soldiers in the war and that tens of thousands more were wounded. His claim could not be independently verified. The Russian military last reported its losses in March, when it said 1,351 troops had been killed.
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