This update comes from Igor Bandura, Vice-President for International Affairs with the European Baptist Federation (EBF). Reproduced from the EBF website with permission.

First of all, the war is a spiritual reality for us. And when military correspondents describe the situation at the front, it accurately conveys our daily spiritual struggle. We have begun to understand better what the following messages mean: fifty combat clashes took place over the past day; defense forces continue to hold back the enemy; the enemy had little success at this point; seven enemy attacks were repelled; the enemy made 20 attempts to break through the defense; the enemy continues to press from the South and West...

This is our reality.

And by accepting God's will and with His accompaniment, we have reached the second anniversary. An anniversary that means more than the Russian full-scale invasion. It is the anniversary of fierce resistance to demonic forces and zealous service to the people of Ukraine. And even if the challenges were bigger than us, God's power was renewed in us and strengthened our hands.

In 2022, it seemed to us that we would not be able to hold out for more than a few weeks, neither emotionally, physically, nor defensively. But the Lord is holding us. Every day He shows His miracles again and again at the front and in the rear.

Today there are 1,900 churches in our associations. After the full-scale invasion, 332 churches were occupied in the East and South of our country. We have 69 pastors who remained there to serve. Because of the war, 72 churches are scattered. About 10 church buildings of our Brotherhood were taken away by the occupiers, another 65 were partially or completely destroyed.

During the second year of full-scale war in Ukraine, more than 10 new churches of Evangelical Christian Baptists were formed, and about 50 missionary groups gathered in Ukraine in different places to organize new churches. Today we have 1,850 active pastors. We are grateful to God that about 150 new elders were ordained to serve in the churches during the war. 130 chaplains are consecrated to serve. For ten years since the beginning of the Russian aggression, the chaplaincy has been providing the necessary pastoral care for the military on the front line and their families, and families of the deceased, visiting the wounded in hospitals and rehabilitation centers, and teaching churches to serve this category of people.

Church ministry

"In times of war, we received the greatest freedom to serve the people. This is the time of the greatest freedom since the early nineties. The church is fighting a battle and resisting the invasion of lawlessness," says the head of the Baptist Union of Ukraine.

From the first day of the full-scale invasion until now, we risk being on the verge of a humanitarian catastrophe. Therefore, social ministry - assistance to internally displaced persons, those who have lost their jobs, homes, and breadwinners - is in great demand by the public. Responding to it is the best manifestation of Christian sacrifice in times of war. The church has done it, is doing it, and will continue to do it. This is a set of actions that cannot be measured in tons or kilometers.

While in the first year of the war, humanitarian service was more urgent and situational, this year it has gained stability, structure and orderliness. IDPs and residents of the frontline areas are still in dire need of our help - food, drinking water, hygiene products, and finances.

Despite the threat of shelling, the popularity of children's camps and daycare centers has increased significantly. Volunteers from churches tirelessly serve the military with food and essentials (equipment, hot water bottles, trench candles, camouflage nets, warm socks, etc.). They also take care of their families. This year, churches have been more focused on learning how to provide psychological assistance and all kinds of support to war veterans, widows, orphans, people with injuries, various disorders, and disabilities.

When evacuations and refugees are not as wild as in the first year of the war, we began to get more involved with specific people, their stories and challenges. The wife of a fallen soldier, whom the church helped to make repairs. Hungry old people in a frontline city who are touchingly grateful for a package of food and a bottle of drinking water. Children and teenagers who are missing their homes remained under occupation. Now, through Bible classes, Christian camps, and church events, they are smiling and settling into their new city for the first time in a long time. And thousands more people have been touched by Jesus Christ Himself through the love and care of the Church. They began to read God's Word, came to worship, and decided to follow the Lord.

We thank God with special prayers for all our international friends, partners, and prayerful supporters. Thanks to them the churches in Ukraine have been able to successfully serve the people of Ukraine these past two years.

It is impossible to overestimate the power of unity and spiritual inspiration of the great global family of Baptist churches. Its constant prayers serve as a spiritual pillar for Ukrainian Baptists. Its united efforts to provide humanitarian aid have multiplied our ability to serve people with numerous needs. Its love has inspired us again and again and given us the strength to get up and move forward. The dedication, courage, and presence of key leaders of the Baptist Fellowship have been and remain a shining example of leadership in difficult times. Ukraine will survive and win because we have millions of brothers and sisters from all over the world with us. He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world. Today we cry and work together. Tomorrow we will rejoice together and thank our God!

We continue to bring hope and nurture it in wounded souls. We live the promise: Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep His promise. (Hebrews 10:23).

We are approaching the day when we will begin the hard work of rebuilding Ukraine, because our country will be reborn and a just and victorious peace, begged from God, will come to our lands.

You can view a video update from Igor Bandura here.

Call for continual prayer

The EBF family stand in continued prayer for our brothers and sisters in Ukraine. Since the beginning of the war, we have gathered monthly to pray together. You are welcome to join us. Join our prayers for Ukraine, Russia, and neighboring countries welcoming refugees into their communities.

For more information and to join the EBF in prayer for Ukraine please register for our monthly prayer gathering.

Photo credits: provided by The All-Ukrainian Union of Associations of Evangelical Christians-Baptists. Larger images available in the original article here.

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