Personal Reflections, Ukraine, Uncategorized

260 Days of War in Ukraine

My dear friends, my prayer partners, I thank you for the fact that sometimes through such letters I can turn to you to maintain this friendly and prayerful connection of ours.

Thank you for this and thank you to our God. I am writing to you this update of my news, news of the church and “Olive Branch” in Ukraine, and I wish you a great day!
Today is the 260th day of the war on the land of Ukraine. The Russian enemy is trying to destroy critical infrastructure facilities of Ukraine by launching its missiles and Iranian drones. Our people are heroically eliminating the consequences of destruction, and our anti-aircraft forces are trying to shoot down as many of these flying enemy objects as possible. Other troops of ours repel the influx of mobilized Russians near Donetsk and Luhansk, other troops of our troops push the enemy out of the Kharkiv and Kherson regions. I believe that by the grace of God and with your support, we will overcome this Russian demonic enemy together. The chaplains we train and support have a huge and important part to play and serve the military in this process.

Yesterday I went to the seminary. I arrived at nine o’clock in the morning, and five minutes after that the electricity went out until 1 p.m. I didn’t know what to do next, because all my work was concentrated on the computer. I have to check students’ homework, give grades and report to the seminary. But how to do it without electricity? It was cold in the seminary, but there were offline classes for students in two classes. Lighting for them was provided by a small generator, which also helped in preparing dinner. There are almost no generators in Ukraine now. KTS ordered a large generator in Europe, but they said that it can be in Kyiv only after December. I went around the offices saying hello and I talked a little with those who were in the seminary. The offline classes were conducted by two of our teachers Richard Perhai and Mark McDonell. I met Mark’s wife named Donna and had a nice chat with her. I also spoke with the rector of the seminary about the fact that the state of Ukraine does not recognize diplomas of religious educational institutions with some rare exceptions. Therefore, our Protestant chaplain graduates in the Ukrainian army are now mainly appointed to the positions of assistant chaplains, and the Orthodox are appointed to the positions of chaplains, because the Orthodox and Catholics have three licensed educational religious institutions, and the Protestants have only one, but it is in the Russian-occupied Kherson.

There are currently 43 church members in the Way of Truth Church, but some have gone away from the war and have not yet returned, and some of them have already fallen away from the church and possibly from God as well. I think they will not return to Ukraine. It is very sad as a pastor that when the trials came because of the suffering of the war, people fall away from the faith. But we as a church are trying to support the members of the church and for this we conduct offline service, we do several different small groups, and today at 07.30 we opened the preacher’s weekly morning school. Now there are seven preachers in it. Thank God.
I am preparing the eleventh couple for marriage in the church.
I have a dream to make an Olive Branch Ukraine camp for teenagers from military families this summer, even in wartime conditions. You will pray for God’s will and His support in this.

By the grace of God and with your support, “Olive Branch” in Ukraine continues to support the “Pastoral Chaplaincy Leadership” program at the KТS, and for the fall of 2022 we had the following course plan and it has been completed:
1) On September 9, an offline School of Chaplains was held in the city of Cherkasy. The graduation of the school with the presentation of certificates for 19 students took place on October 29, 2022;
2) On September 19-23, online teaching of the “Administration of Chaplain Service” course took place, the teacher was Chaplain US Army David Williams. About 40 students, free listeners and volunteer chaplains were present. I have received positive feedback from students about David’s teaching;
3) October 3-7 online teaching of the course “Preparation and conduct of spiritual training programs”, teacher Stacey Conard, was attended by about 30 students, free listeners and volunteer chaplains. Stacey’s teaching was very positively received by the audience;
4) On October 17-21, I had to teach an offline course “Introduction to Chaplaincy” for the first year of study for 5 students. We were preparing a holiday at the seminary for first-year students on Monday, but the enemy hit Ukraine with 55 missiles and 30 drones, so the seminary decided to teach all students online again. So I taught online again. Thanking God, I had 22 students and free listeners attend the course. That’s more than five!

I hold meetings like this every Tuesday for Olive Branch leaders and members.
Every second Tuesday of the week I have online training from Jeff and Nancy Jernigan on the Civilian Security Program.
I was invited 10/12/2022 as a teacher to a regional conference in the city of Odesa for pastors of this region, because many local churches have a disagreement with their members who are military chaplains.

“Post” or “Present and not finished time”

Today, after 260 days of war, I can say that I have real personal experience of living in a country at war.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a popular topic of training, conferences and seminars in Ukraine today. But now the use of this concept in Ukraine differs from the generally accepted one. The difference is that the word “Post” is not appropriate to use now, because the action of the suffering of war or stress in our country is not yet finished, this action continues. I catch myself because I have traumatic stress, my wife has stress, the believers in the church have a lot of stress. I can’t imagine what feelings people who have no hope in God feel, I can’t imagine what Ukrainian soldiers feel when 75 to 100 of their friends die on the front every day. I know for sure that I have a lot of stress that affects me like a wave. After every alarm signal, turning off the lights and water, bad news from the combat zone, after the shelling of the city where I live, this wave of stress rises uphill, and my motivation and desire to do something goes down rapidly. My human relations in the family, in the church, in society also suffer from these waves. It becomes difficult to communicate, to refrain from irritation and resentment, every little thing can be like a pebble that starts a rockfall, that is, a conflict. I have today, now, not an easy test of God through suffering, this is not the past time, it is the present time. Who will teach me and other people how to live in such stress that lasts a month, a year, or more?
After the rapist leaves, Ukrainians will recover for some time and then decide to forgive the Russian aggressor, but not now. And the topic of love for enemies according to the Bible does not belong here at all, because this topic concerns persecution for faith in Christ, and not a state of hostilities. The enemy must be destroyed, but we have not to enjoy the killing and not to incite rage, as Clive Lewis wrote in the book “Just Christianity”.
Therefore, conversations and sermons about the fact that it is necessary to forgive right now in the conditions of war are not true and even harmful and offensive for Ukrainians, because I emphasize once again that the phase of war or violence in Ukraine is not over, it continues its effect in time.

How, when and who should be forgiven?
In the message to the Ephesian church it is written: 4:32 forgive one another, just as God in Christ forgave you. In the Gospel of Luke 6:37: forgive and you will be forgiven.
Very often I began to hear this phrase during brutal hostilities and violence against the civilian population. As someone insists in his teaching that I or we Ukrainians must forgive the Russians, here is an example for you to understand. If you heard the screams of a child or a woman being raped by a sadist, what would your actions be? Are you going to stand by and say: if you are a Christian, then forgive him?
First, I think the first thing you should do is stop the rapist and tie him up.
Secondly, to calm down the victim and ensure her safety and peace.
And thirdly, tell the girl or woman exactly what Christ said, about forgiveness.
So, people who say that Ukrainians should forgive Russians right now are like a cynical preacher who repeats the words of Jesus without considering the tragedy and pain of the victim. Such a person does not truly love, he does not think that the first thing that should happen is that the act of violence or the war should end first and the victim needs time to gain a sense of security.
Those of you who understand this do not talk about forgiveness, but pray and help Ukraine in every possible way. Thank you very much. There is a time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.

I liked Jeff Jernigan’s words in his letter to me. Here’s what he wrote to me about forgiveness: “Forgiveness is not something people are contemplating very much at the moment. Ecclesiastes 3.1-8 declares there is a right time for many things including a time to embrace or refrain from embracing, a time to tear and a time to sew, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. Forgiveness is a process, not simply an event. Many of the scriptures about forgiveness assume this reality. In time, there will come opportunities to forgive. Over time, if we do not forgive, the result will be bitterness that eats at our very soul. One pastor said it is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. We cannot be demanding about forgiveness, but let the Holy Spirit lead us each to place of wholeness in this matter. The theological section on forgiveness is quite long. Perhaps you can shorten it by acknowledging the challenge and providing some guidance. 

Psalm 27 provides considerable comfort for those suffering under the tyranny of disaster and violence”. 

The Lord is my light and my salvation;Whom shall I fear?The Lord is the cdefense of my life;Whom shall I dread?When evildoers came upon me to devour my flesh,My adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled and fell.Though a host encamp against me,My heart will not fear;Though war arise against me,In spite of this I shall be confident.

One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek:That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,To behold the beauty of the LordAnd to dmeditate in His temple.For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle;In the secret place of His tent He will hide me;He will lift me up on a rock.And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me,And I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy;I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.

Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice,And be gracious to me and answer me.When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You,“Your face, O Lord, I shall seek.”Do not hide Your face from me,Do not turn Your servant away in anger;You have been my help;Do not abandon me nor forsake me,O God of my salvation!10 For my father and my mother have forsaken me,But the Lord will take me up.

11 Teach me Your way, O Lord,And lead me in a level pathBecause of my foes.12 Do not deliver me over to the adesire of my adversaries,For false witnesses have risen against me,And such as breathe out violence.13 I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LordIn the land of the living.14 Wait for the Lord;Be strong and let your heart take courage;Yes, wait for the Lord.

 New American Standard Bible, 1995 Edition: Paragraph Version (La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), Ps 27:1–14.

I also hear the following statements: we must love everyone, because it is written in the Bible.

This is indeed in the Bible. But for us to correctly interpret these words, we need to learn to distinguish God’s command to an individual person or God’s command to society, or to the church, as a gathering of people.
So, according to the Bible, we can love other people with brotherly love (Greek phileo), but we cannot and should not love everyone with the highest form of God’s love (Greek agape).
If we love God (Greek agape), then we are able to love (Greek phileo): our wife, children, truth, neighbor, goodness, people of our local church, as well as all those who love God.
Therefore, only those people who believe in Him and are obedient to Him can truly love God.
Psalm 30:24: Love the Lord, all you righteous ones
Deuteronomy 10:19:  loves the stranger
Prophet Zechariah 8:19: Love truth and peace
Colossians 3:19: Husbands, love your wives
1 Peter 1:22: Always love one another
1 Peter 2:2: Love the pure milk of the word,
Gospel of John 13:34, 15:17: Love one another (the listeners – Judaic stood around Jesus).
Therefore, all other people who do not believe in God and are not obedient to Him, we should not so much love them as much as we should respect them, but the evil that is present in these people, we should hate, like our Father.
1 Peter’s letter to the church 2:17: Respect everyone, love the brotherhood, fear God, respect the king.
Prophet Amos 5:15: Hate evil and love good.
Therefore, God can only be loved by people who believe in Him and are obedient to Him. First of all, we are obliged to love people who believe in God. And we should respect people who do not believe in God, but hate evil in them. Love has different degrees: agape, phileo, eros. Because of our sinful nature, we cannot and should not love everyone equally.

One must love one’s enemies
In Matthew 5:44, Jesus said: Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who persecute you.
To understand these words, and any others in the Bible, one must understand to whom and under what circumstances they were spoken, that is, the historical and cultural context. Then your theology will be Christ’s. These words apply to me or you personally, the words of Jesus are 100% true. But if the sphere of application of these words is different, for example, the sphere of my family, city or country, then these words cannot be applied in the same way here.
Remember Jesus’ command to the disciples to sell their clothes and buy themselves weapons for self-defense. Remember the words of Jesus? Luke 22:36: … sell your clothes and buy a sword;
I will remind you that I am not talking about my personal enemy and not about those enemies who want to destroy my church for faith.
I’m talking about a different case, that is, about an enemy who climbs into my house. I can kill such an enemy legally (the book Exodus).
I am talking about such an enemy who destroys my home, my family, my country, who wants to destroy my nation. Such an enemy must be destroyed, and then talk about forgiveness.
I forgive such an enemy in two cases.
1. When he is defeated and I see his surrender.
2. When he will apologize to me and the country, or will no longer be able to threaten others, as happened with the empires, which today are no longer on the world map.

If they hit you on one cheek, turn the other
Whoever slaps you on the cheek, give him a friend too, and whoever wants to take your cloak, don’t forbid your shirt either. (Luke 6:29)
Who often repeats these words today?

I think that a person who has no experience of waging war in the city of his residence and does not understand the fear of artillery shelling, aerial and rocket bombardment. It is difficult for many people outside of Ukraine to understand the effects of fear. They are afraid that they may be killed, maimed, raped right in their own homes. And our Russians do it en masse.

Almost all of the churches of Ukraine and ours switched to the Gregorian calendar, so we do not plan to celebrate two Christmases and two Easters. On November 20, we have Thanksgiving, December 25 is Christmas. Every year, our church collects from 30 to 50 gifts for children with its own funds and sends them to children who live near the war zone.
Thank you all again for your support and prayers. Thank you to all of you who receive my update letters and remember us and pray. This means that you also help Ukraine and serve the needy people of the country in Ukraine, who have endured Russian aggression for 260 days, many of them do not have housing, food, water, medical care, work, security.

A short addendum to my letter from Jeanа Szegedа. 

The women’s service consisted primarily of establishing a connection with the sisters who, due to military actions, were displaced by the war throughout Ukraine and abroad. Then we managed to organize weekly women’s meetings in ZOOM – every Monday for prayer and support. Caroline Grub and Linda were invited to the meeting. The American sisters suggested holding thematic international meetings every first Monday of the month. So we held meetings on the topic of “Compassion”, “Hope”, “Loyalty” and others. Such meetings were attended by women from Poland, the Czech Republic, Germany, Bulgaria, as well as from areas where hostilities are taking place. They went out without lights, explosions could be heard, our prayers were a great support for all of us. Help was provided to a sister in Kropyvnytskyi (medicines were sent for the military unit, where Sister Valya Syzenko is serving). A women’s service was held in Irpen for women who lost their homes as a result of Russian shelling, involving children from large families of believers. The victims were presented with bedding and a set of household chemicals sewn by Halyna Danyuk’s sister. A visit was also held for the purpose of spiritual communication with the transfer of a set of farm products, a set of fruits, books “Prayer Book of the Ukrainian”, dry food for the animals they saved from their farm – dogs and cats.
The service of the women’s Christian club “Anna” in Ivano-Frankivsk is actively developing – a Christmas service for military families is being prepared. Women’s Christian club “Esther” (Alexandria, Kirovohrad region) held a service for elderly single women. Ukrainian women of the “Olive Branch” raised funds for the intelligence group, where Cheremisyna’s nephew Tetyana, a resident of Kherson, is fighting. In Dnipro, the online prayer group is led by Anna Yermalayeva, who is in Poland as a refugee. We ask for prayers for our sisters in the diaspora and in Ukraine. Thank you for the prayers and support of the American sisters! May God bless you all, brothers and sisters!

Information from senior hospital chaplain Mykola Dudko from CherkasyOur soldiers Aare very brave and courageous. These are heroes. They are being treated in our hospital. And after recovery, they rush to their brothers again, to protect our earth … We, as chaplains, constantly support them, for Wwhich. Soldiers do not want to be photographed (for security reasons).
Knowing that members of the olive brand have worked in the hospital for a long time as medical chaplains and have a lot of expertise, he was invited to participate. It is needed for the introduction of medical chaplaincy in health Care Institutions.

I add to the letter a file with advertising for the introduction of hospital chaplaincy in Ukraine with the Participation of Olive BranchThank you for letting me know you on this earth and for being with God.May God bless you abundantly.
I wish that we have in the soul a peace from God.
Valentin.

Valentyn Korenevych,
Colonel (retired)

President of the Public organization “Olive Branch” Ukrainewww.olivebranch.org.ua
Program director of “Pastors-Chaplains Leadership” of the Kiev Theological Seminary
www.ktsonline.org
+38 097 9638406
This letter was translated by an electronic translator, so I apologize in advance for any errors that you may have noticed.

Featured Writers, Guest Post, Personal Reflections, Ukraine, Uncategorized

Update from Ukraine, 147th Day of the War (From email dated July 23rd)

Dear friends, I wish you the God’s Day.
My wife and I haven’t seen you for a long time, so we would like to physically be with you face to face over a cup of tea. But now there is a war and you cannot come to us in Ukraine, and we cannot come to you.

I am glad that I have many friends and acquaintances. It’s good for me, but I can’t physically write to everyone in person – it’s bad for me, I’m sorry.

My personal news, my personal feelings and observations.
Today is the 147th Day of the war: Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.
The fifth month of the war will soon end. It feels like “eternity”.
I was interested in analyzing myself, what did I feel at the beginning of the war and what do I feel now?
I remember the first days of the war, from February 24 to March 31, when Russian troops quickly approached Kyiv and tried to surround and capture it. At that time, I felt confused, scared and stressed by the rocket attacks and shelling of our city by the enemy. Now in the news, this time is called the first stage of the war. Many people then prophesied for Ukraine, as a state, that it had 3-5 days left to live, and then it would have to capitulate to Moscow. But by the grace of God, this did not happen, the Ukrainians withstood this sudden, strong and insidious blow of the aggressor. God loves us.

The next period of the war, this is the time from about April 1 to June 30. This is the time when the Ukrainian troops forced the Russians to start retreating from the cities of Kyiv, Chernihiv, and Sumy, that is, the enemy retreated through Belarus from the north of Ukraine to the east. At that time, I felt joy for our Armed Forces, I felt hope for our quick victory and the end of the war, but at the same time I felt the pain of our losses, because the Ukrainian army at that time had about 100 soldiers killed every day, who died in battles to deter the enemy from seizing the east and south of Ukraine. A large number of Ukrainian civilians died from shelling and shooting. The International and Ukrainian Olive Branch and the “Path of Truth” church prayed together and then my feeling of pain decreased. Thank you all for your many prayers through messenger. Thank you, Olive Branch! God loves us.

Now say that now is the third stage of the war. This is from about July 1 until today. Russian troops are concentrated in the east of Ukraine and are trying to attack all this time. Our Ukrainian troops stopped them in all directions. Positional and artillery battles are now underway. Ukrainian troops with the help of American weapons are trying to seize the initiative and destroy their rear. I still feel in me the old stress from the shelling and the new stress  from the uncertainty, because every time it seems that the end of the war is near, it is pushed back further. It is difficult psychologically. But God loves us.

Today in our church was Chaplain, who graduate a 2015 year of the  program “Pastoral Chaplain Leadership” at the KTS, Major of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Yuriy us his testimony, he thanked us for our prayers, and he repeated many times that prayers work and they are real act even when we do not see it with our own eyes. Major Yuriy cited many cases when he felt our prayer, when he himself prayed, when soldiers started coming to him one by one, and when the shelling started, then 20 people came to his room.He said that God, through our prayers, brought their unit out of the enemy’s encirclement, God saved their broken car at night, God saved the building where their military unit lived from terrible shelling for two months. All the windows there were broken and covered with plywood, but the glass in Yura’s window was intact. It is a miracle of God that where there are trained military chaplains, there are almost no wounded and none killed.

Our church has a list of alumni chaplains and has been prayerfully and financially supporting them since the beginning of the war.
God used to prepare Ukraine for the battle against Mordor through the Olive Branch, and now God continues to do so.
God is doing this through all of you, dear friends and employees of the Olive Branch, this is God’s miracle in Ukraine!

What I do at Olive Branch in Ukraine

During the time that has passed since my last message, I conducted two three-day online seminars: 

for the Evangelical Reformed Seminary of Ukraine (in June there were 18 students) and for KTS in July.
So, on July 4-6, 2022, by the grace of God, I conducted the second three-day training course on the topic: “How to prepare a military chaplain for the local church to care for the defenders of the country.”
35 students were registered for this course during the war.
All three days of the course, 28 students were present online (according to screenshots). Another seven did not listen during the entire study time. The senior chaplain, pastor Vasyl, helped me in teaching.
Among the 35 listeners were:
Pastors – 7;
Deacons – 6;
Chaplains and volunteers – 10;
Other types of service – 12.
After reading the given literature, the students will be sent the Certificate of the program “Pastor and Chaplain Leadership” of the KTS.
The leadership of one of the independent Baptist churches of southern Ukraine was present at the seminar: a pastor and three deacons, one of whom was a military chaplain. They had a conflict in the middle because of the chaplaincy of one of their deacons. The church did not understand who a military chaplain is, how to equip and support him, and the chaplain did not understand accountability to his church and adherence to his creed. Therefore, I explained it to them in the course of teaching. They understood this and reconciled.
I think that during our studies we were able to learn to love God and each other more.

In the Church “The Way of Truth”
On July 25-30, in the premises of our church, we plan to hold a six-day camp on robotics and English for 20 teenagers from military and other families.
We are preparing four people for baptism.

Hospital chaplains work in Cherkasy
Senior hospital chaplain, reserve lieutenant colonel wrote:  “We, the Cherkasy hospital chaplains, are very grateful to OBI for the support you provide us. It inspires us to defeat the enemy. Soldiers who need both medical and spiritual support enter our medical facility. We are always on the spot and work together with the medical personnel (due to martial law, I do not provide most of the photos with the soldiers). Glory to God and Glory to Ukraine.”

In Irpin, under the leadership of Zhanna, the Ruth club works:
1) On July 17, 2022, the leader of the women’s ministry, Zhanna, Marina and the club “Ruth” at the “Path of Truth” church held a women’s event on the topic “Spiritual gift set” for women from the Irpin of branch of “Olive Branch”. These are women, who survived the occupation, internally displaced persons and refugees who recently returned home. Spiritual truths were remembered more because each of them was associated with one of 10 symbolic gifts: a neckerchief, soap, perfume, salt, a candle holder, a chocolate bar, a towel, lip balm, tea and a rose, as a symbol of originality and uniqueness every woman Each truth is related to one of the biblical images (women) that made them interested in reading about these women. A total of 26 women attended this event, including 8 for the first time. Faithful women from the club decided to prepare for Mother’s Day to invite other women to such an activity. And each will tell one biblical truth and give one gift.We also plan to prepare a presentation and excerpts of other Christian films!
2) We make plans for what we will do after the war is over. This is also a way to overcome the stress that women are under. We thank Linda and Caroline for their training during the online classes at the “Ruth” club, which were held on June 7 and July 11.
3) By July 31, we are preparing Galina teenage group for an evangelistic trip to the place of compact residence of people who lost their homes due to bombs and mines in Irpen. We also prepare a gift set for them – towels, bedding, hygiene products.
4) I visit these people once a week, I bring food to those who especially need it, then I learn about their needs and we pray. We sincerely thank our American brothers and sisters for their support, for the fact that we can help people in difficult circumstances. Together with the Word of God, we bring what is necessary. We also distribute volunteer aid.
5) We received bandages, towels and sleeping bags from volunteers from the city of Brody. The dressing material was transferred to the hospital of Kyiv and Kropyvnytskyi. Towels and sleeping bags – for people who have lost their homes.

Another 21 subdivisions of Olive Branch operate in different cities of Ukraine.

Our regional presbyter Mykola Romaniuk suggested that I prepare online training for pastors of the Baptist Brotherhood with the participation of his familiar American chaplain on the topic: “How to prepare yourself and the church for the meeting of military personnel from the war.” I am starting to work on this issue.

My mother continues to live in the village. I was in her apartment in Chernihiv. I installed a new door there. The inner walls of the apartment collapsed from the air strike, so we threw them down through the window from the fifth floor. We need to restore the walls, order and buy new windows, electrical wiring, pipes for water and heating …

Remember this letter in your prayers.

This is the latest news I have. Tomorrow I plan to go to sell my garage, and then I will go to my mother in the village for two nights. My son Mark has not cut his hair for 147 days …

Thank you for your prayers and other help.

Valentyn Korenevych,
Colonel (retired)

President of the Public organization “Olive Branch” Ukrainewww.olivebranch.org.ua
Program director of “Pastors-Chaplains Leadership” of the Kiev Theological Seminary
www.ktsonline.org

The above is from an email dated July 23rd, 2022.

Featured Writers, Guest Post, Testimonies, Ukraine, Uncategorized

Eyewitness Account From Ukraine

From my friend, Valentyn Korenevych, in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Dear friends, remember that now I wish everyone not a good day, but God’s day. You admit that Russia’s aggression against Ukraine began on February 20, 2014, when the Russians captured Crimea and then eastern Ukraine. Eight years later, the Russians decided to capture and destroy the whole of Ukraine, so on February 24, 2022, at 4 am, they began bombing our Ukrainian airfields, military units and cities. Today is the forty-first day of the active phase of the war. We Ukrainians defend our faith, our way of life, our land. A strong servant of Satan, hidden in the Kremlin walls of ancient Mordor: an old evil that pretends to be light under the guise of pagan Orthodoxy and Z occultism, is leading Russia to its doom. The unburied corpse of an idol man (Lenin) for about 100 years lies in the center of the Russian capital, near the cemetery of the same murderers and thieves.
We Ukrainians, as residents of the state of Gondor in the Tolkien writer, live in Mordor (Muscovy), and since 1487, we have been fighting with the Muscovite orcs for the right to live freely and believe in God.

This is my little introduction to give you a better understanding of how I feel and what is happening around me in Ukraine. Because I noticed that many people from other countries do not understand the essence of these events and continue to believe in fairy tales about good Russia. By the way, the name Russia is also was stolen by orcs in Kievan Rus, as now Russian orcs steal and take out of our cities, even fleeing Ukraine, refrigerators, washing machines, TVs, toilets, tablets, computers and more. But it’s not scary, we will still work and buy it all. It is not terrible that they destroyed our cities, we will rebuild. The scary thing is that they are killing our people by throwing bombs and missiles at us. And even worse is what they do with locals and children in the occupation. The city of Bucha, near Kyiv, where someone called the second Srebrenica. The name is not for the number of deaths, but for the cruelty. People and children were shot, tortured and raped by orcs there. Corpses, corpses… people. But it is not yet known what is being done in other Russian-occupied cities.

I have been with my family in Kyiv for a week now. Arrived on March 29 with my family (five of us). It helped a lot to have a car that all you raised money for me. We left Kyiv in this car for Cherkasy and we came back, and now I am transporting some things for the military in this car. Because transport is almost non-existent in Ukraine now. Thank you all again. May our God bless you all with His blessings.

In Kyiv I try to be useful to other people.
I communicate with military chaplains over the phone and various messengers.
I support them in various ways.
I take medicine to military units.
Every night for 41 days I have a church prayer for our military.
I join the online seminary every Sunday night.
Every Monday I conduct online communication with the employees of Olive Branch Ukraine.
On Sunday, I worshiped with the Lord’s Supper in our military building. Now there is no electricity and it is very cold.
On Thursday, Vasily and I will teach our pastors to understand chaplaincy.

The Russians have already left Kyiv, Chernihiv, Zhytomyr and Sumy oblasts, so military teams are currently working there to clear roads and buildings. Today the first road to Chernihiv, my mother’s city, was opened. The city is 70% destroyed, and there is no water, gas, electricity or heating. My mother begs for food and an apartment every day, which she does not have, and still does not have a safe way there. My mother is 79 years old, I don’t know if she understands that or if she’s so stubborn. Maybe in ten days I will try to go to Chernihiv.

Today, at the door of our rented room called “Olive Branch” and the Church “Way of Truth”, I hung an announcement for needy people that those who need food, please contact. We plan to help those who do not have jobs and money for food, especially refugees.

Thank you, my friends, co-workers with God, I feel your prayers and other help. We all Ukrainians feel. The Russians bombed almost all our strategic enterprises, oil depots, food bases, airports, blocked seaports and river ports, but thanks to you our army fires bullets, shells, missiles, our tanks, cars and planes are at war, air defense is alive. Four million refugees are abroad, and they are safe.

I thank God and you for your countries contribution to all this. God works through you in times of war. I would like to thank you all in some way, but I do not know what and how?

Postscript. In Cherkasy on March 8, Marina and I went outside for a walk. We walked 500 meters to the city center when the alarm siren sounded. Marina immediately hunched over like a very old woman. It’s scary when you’re standing in the middle of the street of a still peaceful city, and the sirens around you are buzzing around, and you realize that you’re standing face to face in front of a cruise missile, and you’re defenseless (I didn’t mention God right away). I still didn’t have time to understand how Marina dragged me to the bomb shelter at a school. We waited at school for a while, but without waiting for the alarm to end, we went outside. We walked another 500 meters and I saw something strange, surreal. Near the market, right during the alarm, women were selling yellow and red tulips. It flashed in my head, today is Women’s Day, April 5th! And even more surprising was the fact that these tulips were lined up for men of all ages, who nervously shrugged, looked around, but stood in line, and they bought these flowers, mostly only one flower. To this day, I have before my eyes a picture: anxiety, the market, tense men, yellow and red tulips. I did not dare to stand in line, and did not buy a flower for Marina, because then such a purchase seemed strange and inappropriate. When I came home and calmed down, I was a little ashamed that I did not overcome myself and did not buy a flower for Marina. Suddenly, about an hour later, the son of the owner of the apartment where we lived, Lieutenant Colonel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine., came and brought three flowers for Marina. Such are our military in Ukraine!
That is why Women’s Day, thanks to the military in Ukraine, exists even during the war.
Thank God for Ukraine and America and our other friends in Europe.

Valentyn Korenevych,
Colonel (Retired)

President of the Public organization “Olive Branch” Ukraine

www.olivebranch.org.ua
Program director of “Pastors-Chaplains Leadership” of the Kiev Theological Seminary
www.ktsonline.org