Ukraine Update – March 2023

Ukraine Update – March 2023

A Message from our Storyline Partners in Ukraine. Your generosity is making a difference!

Hello Gateway

I recently returned from traveling to Ukraine. Your continuing financial and material support is received with great thankfulness.

Everyone is tired of the war in Ukraine, especially Ukrainians. Unfortunately, Russia continues to press its ongoing military invasion. The result is further death and destruction in the Eastern territories of Ukraine.

Ukrainians who want peace realize peace will only exist when Russia is militarily removed from its land. In every place where Russia occupies Ukraine the people, there are subjugated to the ethnic cleansing of their Ukrainian identity. So, Ukraine fights on with a majority of the global political support who recognize the injustices of Russia’s invasion and atrocities.

Together, you and I continue to serve the needs of the tired and oppressed in Ukraine.

The good news is God’s people, like our Storyline partners Vova and Alina Zapadnyuk, are filled with hope because they follow Jesus. They realize that their life is not intended to be safe, comfortable, and self-indulgent. Their life is a living sacrifice to serve, care for, and love their neighbor as themself. Jesus shows them the way.

As a result of this trip you and I are continuing to fund Alina’s sewing studio with materials and the salaries of the displaced women working there. I also agreed with Vova to help him with funding to open a new centralized humanitarian aid distribution center in the city of Ivano-Frankivsk. The tourniquets and water filters we provide, which are distributed by army Chaplains, are continuing to reach the frontline areas to save lives.

Together, with these young leaders, we are making a difference in the name of Jesus.

Below you will find new updates about Evgeny from his wife Olga. Evgeny is a Christian Ukrainian soldier reporting from the frontlines of war, desperately wanting to protect his country from invaders and return to his family alive. 


Monday, March 6th
A prayer request from Olga, on behalf of her husband Evgeny: “There is another urgent prayer request on behalf of my husband and his fellow soldiers. Yesterday they took over the position for the upcoming 5-6 days. Forces with the enemy are unequal. Of the 26 positions, on our side, only 9 are left, and 40% of the personnel. There are no reinforcements sent whatsoever. Psychologically, the guys are very broken. Everyone said goodbye to their families. It is very disturbing, but our Hope is only in God’s protection, provision, and mercy. May God bless you for standing in the gap for my husband and his friends! Thank You!”

Tuesday, March 7th
An update from Olga, on behalf of her husband Evgeny: “Thank you greatly for your prayers! My husband returned from his position earlier than expected due to unforeseen and difficult circumstances. Twelve of the soldiers got wounded and there were only four of them left who were able to keep on defending their position. The commander decided to withdraw from the position due to the heavy fighting and the limited number of soldiers who could fight. God gave Evgeny a new chance at life. He received another concussion, therefore he was given sick leave for five days. And for this mercy of God, glory be to Him!”

Sunday, March 20th
An update from Olga on behalf of her husband Evgeny: “Dear Brothers and Sisters, Greetings! On behalf of our family, I want to thank you for your precious prayers for my husband and his comrades. Your prayers were more precious than gold, as my husband, Evgeny, says.

Drastic changes have happened in the life of my husband and his comrades. Unfortunately, during their position at the hot spot on the frontline and participation in the hostilities and defense operations, out of 540 people of his battalion, where Evgeny was from January 10 to March 18, only 87 people survived. Every one of them is going through a hard time. Only now do they begin to realize and recall the reality of everything that happened to them.

These men went to the frontline by train that carried soldiers in 15 train carriages. But they left the frontline a few days ago in two buses 💔This battalion no longer exists! The remaining soldiers are being reassigned to other battalions. As of now, everyone is taken out of the hostile area, 50 km away from the frontline. Some live in a hotel, others temporarily rent an apartment. My husband said that he vaguely remembers what it likes to sleep in a warm bed, have real walls around him, and a real ceiling above his head.

Gradually everyone is being dispersed or reassigned. My father-in-law ended up in Vinnytsia, where there are no hostilities, thank God. Now there remains a need to pray for placement and a battalion where Evgeny may end up going. We hope for God’s mercy in this matter as well. Nevertheless, we have already received incredible spiritual relief that today God has led and brought my husband in particular, out of the valley of the shadow of death; although there may still be a lot of difficult circumstances Evgeny will face due to this unending war.

Evgeny has been sharing with me many stories, experiences, and moments that testify to God’s glory. I want to keep on talking about them! But most of all I want you to strengthen your faith in the power of prayer. I’ve imagined God, who listens to many prayers, in which the name of my husband and his comrades were spoken unanimously, – many requests were made on behalf of our family.

I had never before counted on the prayer requests of the global Church. I always had a narrow circle of people to whom I could entrust the request to pray for me. Through these circumstances, God showed me what it means to be a part of His Church. He showed me how total strangers can feel, experience, and pray so fervently for someone they have never even seen.

I learned to accept prayer requests from others with trepidation and to pray for them. I don’t know what God’s plans were, maybe He even changed his intentions thanks to your prayers. Evgeny says that humanly speaking, his chances to return from the last position were equal to zero. His platoon members decided to just run across the field when they faced the tank firing at them – he and 3 other people just narrowly escaped what could have been an irreversible tragedy. The rest of his friends were wounded with varying degrees of severity.

In his mercy, God answered in the way we asked, – that my husband be kept alive, unharmed, and come out of there. And another amazing testimony, – the platoon of 30 people where my husband serves is the only platoon in which there is not a single fallen soldier. May all glory be given to God.

What God has done for Evgeny and our family is such an undeserved gift of His mercy and love but which made us fall before His presence, power, and greatness with a contrite heart. We are grateful to God for every prayer; although we do not know everyone who has been praying for us, He knows, and we ask Him to bless you greatly! We go further into the unknown, but firmly with God, and we dream of a day when we reunite with the whole family!”

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About John and Kathy Burke

After ministry in Santa Barbara, the former Soviet Union, and Chicago, in one of the […]


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