An update from Brovary, Ukraine
An update from First Free’s longtime sister church, First Baptist Brovary, Ukraine
Jim Killam
May 23, 2023

Here’s an email update we just received from Pastor Anatoly and Sophia Lepak of First Free’s longtime sister church, First Baptist Brovary, Ukraine. Brovary is a city of 109,000 people (before the war) about 12 miles east of the capital city of Kyiv. Anatoly and Sophia are currently serving war refugees in Germany, while younger family members and colleagues continue to minister in war-torn Brovary.

Our dear sister church in Rockford!

We thank God for many years of friendship and cooperation between our churches. For your prayerful and material support of our ministry. We have always felt and seen the results of your prayers.

During this difficult wartime, the life of the church changed in many ways. Many people (especially large families, mothers with children and retirees) left, but many other new people began to attend our services. As before, in the first place is the question of evangelization of new, unsaved people.

No less relevant was the issue of social service to war refugees from the east of Ukraine; internally displaced persons; and poor, needy people in our area. The church does this.

The young brothers traveled and are now traveling as volunteers to “hot spots” in the east and south of Ukraine, where hostilities are taking place. They bring humanitarian aid there, and take away mothers with children from there.

My wife, Sophia, and I serve refugees from Ukraine in Germany. There are more than 1 million Ukrainians here who have been given temporary protection. We conduct Bible studies with adults. Teenagers and children organize women’s and music ministries in the city of Marienheide. And most importantly, we are looking for unsaved Ukrainian refugees who are in great psychological trauma. I preach in a newly formed church for Ukrainian gypsies (Roma).

We also call and keep in touch with all members of our church in Ukraine, especially with those who are sick and cannot attend church, or who are refugees in different countries. We regularly write biblical instructions in the church Viber group (Viber is a secure call and chat app).

Work in the church in Brovary is now led by young brothers, my helpers. I pray online for them, help them, advise and instruct.

We all pray for the end of the war. The uncertainty of the future produces weakness in the souls of people. And only the Lord, in his mercy, comforts and reassures us. Therefore, please pray with us:

1. About the end of the war.

2. On passing the baton in spiritual service to young brothers in Brovary.

3. For new people to connect and develop various church ministries: social, family, sisterly, youth, teenage, children’s and social networking ministries for residents of new microdistricts of our city.

4. About evangelism for migrants from the east of Ukraine and residents of Brovary, whom we take care of with the distribution of food packages, gifts for children and spiritual literature. We continue to hope after the end of the war to open a branch of our church in the new microdistrict of the city of Brovary.

5. If wartime circumstances permit, pray for a day camp for children and a Christian Festival for young families in our city’s central park.

As before, we really need your intensified prayer for the ministries of our church.

Love, Pastor Anatoly & my wife, Sophia.

Note: The BBC is a good place to keep up with news surrounding the war in Ukraine.

Jim Killam
Jim Killam is a journalist, author, teacher and terminal Cubs fan. He and his wife, Lauren, live in Rockford and work internationally with Wycliffe Bible Translators.


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