Just a few minutes ago I received a message from my dear colleague/pastor from Ukraine. I will not post his name here as he is risking his life every day helping families with food deliveries and shelter. The message below is not from any big news corporation. It is from a real human being who is in the middle of this horrible disaster.
Every day we are helping to move hundreds, hundreds of evacuees from Kharkov, Donbass and other cities .. We move, we feed, we help as much as we can from morning till night, and through the night. Terrible situation in Mariupol, the city which you know well. The city is blocked and subjected to terrible shelling. Thousands of victims… No light, no natural gas, no water. We can only pray.
Please pray for us! You cannot even imagine what’s going on here…. My family and I are in one of the church buildings. . By the grace of God, we are alive. The city is simply wiped off the face of the earth. It is completely destroyed, there is no electric power, all the wires are on the ground. There is no natural gas, the gas pipeline is blown up. People cook their food by making fire on the streets; there is no water. There is no gasoline. We have a water well in the church with salty water. We boil this salty water to make a cup of hot tea. We are grateful for the little we have. People are hungry, stores are broken and looted, storms of bullets, cannons, aircrafts… bombs exploded just a few meters from the church. God controls these meters… our window frames fly out, but we are alive. Now the generators are turned on, and we have charged the phones and the network has appeared…, and I writing as fast as I can until it disappears. Pray for us! I hope the Lord will do something for us. Even if the fighting ends, people have nowhere to live. Whole sections of apartment building are burned out. There are holes through the multistory apartment buildings. Everything is broken! Schools are destroyed. God’s Word tells us not be horrified because this is not the end! But it’s very scary. The corpses lie on the streets, there is no one to move them. Very difficult! By the grace of God, we are fed twice in the church. Yesterday I washed my children for the first time. We don’t know what to expect tomorrow, but we know that the Lord is here with us. He is strong!”
Many of you donated your help through the Light of Hope Ministry. Your donations have been received in Ukraine. Your generous gifts are helping to deliver loaves of bread and other basic necessities to Kyiv and other cities. Your donations are also helping specific Ukrainian families with little children. If you are donating via the online AdventistGiving, please let me know about your contribution and the money will be sent to Ukraine the next day. (Otherwise, the detailed AdventistGiving report comes to our office only twice a month. We do not want to wait that long.) If you are using a regular church tithe envelope please mark your donation “Light of Hope.”
The weather forecast is not very good for tomorrow morning. The church will be open for both services. If you do not feel safe driving to church you are welcome to join our online worship service. The link is on the church website www.ooltewahchurch.org and on the church Facebook.
Jenny Spicer shared the following Youth Update with me with a couple of photos:
“Several of the Ooltewah Youth went to the Regenerate program. Noah Patterson performed for the afternoon program and did a fabulous job!”
Last Sabbath we celebrated one more baptism. Colton McCormick was baptized by Ron Malloch. I am very excited for Colton.
This morning I had a wonderful experience speaking for OAKS chapel. What a great school we have. Teacher Margo’s class just finished the bake sale fundraiser. They received $545 for the people of Ukraine! What a great way to show the spirit of Christ. Here are a few photos taken by the school principal, Shelly Caswell.
Our Church is creating a new photo directory! We want everyone to get a new picture made so that our new directory will be complete. IT WON’T BE COMPLETE WITHOUT YOU! You can make your appointment at the church on the sign-up sheet, or you can click on the link below and make your appointment online.
Photo dates are:
April 18 – 20, 2022 & May 2 – 3, 2022
You will have a professional photography session, schedule a ZOOM meeting to see your proofs on the computer and have the opportunity to purchase extra portraits for family and friends. Every family photographed for the directory will receive a copy of the directory and an 8×10 portrait at no cost. So please, sign-up today!
Here is the link to schedule your appointment: https://instant-scheduling.com/sch.php?kn=3534502&typId=64060&step=2
This weekend Pastor Matthew Shallenberger will be speaking at the Conference Pathfinder event at Cohutta Springs. We’ll miss him at our church tomorrow.
Have a safe and a blessed Sabbath day.