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Pray for Ukrainian Salvationists

Pray for Ukrainian Salvationists

Pray for Ukrainian Salvationists

Captains Sergiu and Galyna Kolyde Nica are corps officers in Lviv, Ukraine. They care for people during the day and huddle together with their children in a shelter at night.

Major Ronda Gilger, who recently served in the Eastern Europe Territory (EET) with her husband, Don, remembers the Ukrainian people in a call to prayer.

Ukraine logo

Across the northern hemisphere, spring is making its presence felt. When I close my eyes, I can see the celebrations unfolding across Eastern Europe: cultural costumes, foods, laughter, dances and events, and the red and white fringed ribbons, both worn and tied to budding trees, symbolising rebirth after the hard winter.

That is what I want to remember. That is what should occur during the Lenten season. I’m having a hard time sleeping, tears just below the surface, as I see the wider reality and progression of what is happening in Ukraine.

I spend time listening to the voices of those I know – my dear friends whom I consider family. And they’re speaking hard truths, sharing their humanity in e-prayer rooms, on Messenger, and in emails. If you listen closely, you can see and hear them beyond the flickering lights of the nightly news. Their voices must be heard, and justice demands that we listen and engage.

As we read in Micah 6:8, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

Allow me to share the promises of God as shared by the officers of the EET, and to put faces to faraway ‘news stories’ to gain your prayer support today and tomorrow.

Officer overview

Captain Oleg Samoilenko is a Salvation Army officer serving in Poland. The Salvation Army is an inspirational force for Christ – a family, uniting people in a kinship like none I have seen elsewhere. Oleg, a Ukrainian, is broken as he says, “A bomb just fell into the house next to my home in Kiev, where my mother is in a bomb shelter [in Ukraine, a bomb shelter is actually a basement]. I keep calling my mother, who cannot even speak – stuttering, crying, hysterical.” In the last two weeks, Oleg's Mum has been able to flee to Poland where she is recovering and assisting Oleg and his team to care for refugees and traumatised children. Pray for Oleg and his family.

Captain Dmitro Rak and his team unload supplies.

Captain Dmitro Rak (Dima) serves at the Dnipro Corps in Ukraine and leads worship in the subways. Just hours before he leads, he shares: “I wish I could write that everything is fine, calm. I wish I could write that I can sleep, eat, that I could forgive the enemies who stand before us – who are bombing us, shooting us in the streets on our land – that I’m not mad at the injustice – but it would not be true. The truth is that I can’t pray properly, and I cannot look into my children’s eyes or my wife’s face for I fear that it might be the last time. I’m asking for prayer. Tonight will be a difficult night.” Pray for Dima and his family.

Olga and one-year-old Daniel are now refugees. With her medical background, Olga organised and led Moldova Salvos Mobile Medical Clinic. When she married, she moved to Ukraine. Recently, she was able to pack two suitcases as she left the country. What would you pack if your life was reduced to two suitcases? Pray for Olga and her family, for, as she asks, the strength to face each day.

Majors Andrei and Olga Iniutochkin, Moldova Divisional Leaders, have transformed Moldovan corps in Chisinau into centres for refugees. They stand, with their small teams, at the Ukrainian border, with food and personal care items, and have even asked their officers and soldiers to bring refugee families into their homes. Pray for Andrei and Olga.

Major Elena Kotrutsa offering support.

Major Elena Kotrutsa is stationed at EET Territorial Headquarters in Chisinau, Moldova. She recently lost her husband to COVID-19. As a young girl, she also lost her parents when they were sent to Northern Russia during Russia’s occupation of Moldova; they never returned. “I call Ukrainian officers every day to make sure they answer their phones,” she says. “I’m afraid when they don’t answer that I may never hear from them again.” Pray for Elena.

Captains Sergiu and Galyna Kolyde Nica serve in Lviv, Ukraine, with their little son and daughter. Lviv is famous for its beauty and its chocolates. Sergiu, known for his street work with the poor and refugees, is a musician who produced a video channel of instrumentals so Eastern European corps can have worship music. He also founded a Velo Klub (Bicyclers Club for Christ). As air raid sirens go off, he takes his family and they huddle in the closet. He gives his phone to Matvei, his son, to play games and watch cartoons to divert his attention. Sergiu says, “This is my reality, but I am ready to meet Christ. Please pray for all Ukrainians who do not yet know him.” Pray for Sergiu and Galyna and their family.

Standing for tomorrow

Pray for the officers, pastors and businessmen who have been called to defend the streets. This is a role they had never imagined, and most had never trained for. The Women’s Ministries groups are bringing bits of food and bread to them, as well as gathering for prayer and even helping with tasks for the frontline. I share their names with you, knowing that I could write and write and write of these heroes and their willingness to stand against an uncertain tomorrow. Pray for these by name:

Majors Veaceslav and Galina Drozdovski, Major Vera Yefimenko, Captains Daniel and Valeria Lukin, Major Irina Shvab and her husband, Konstantin, Captain Svetlana Bochkareva, Captain Daria Bessmolnaya, Yulia Khoroshilova, Captains Dmitry and Daria Bessmolniy, Dmytro an Nataliya Rak, Corps Sergeant-Major Vera Volf, Captains Yuri and Irina Polytkin, Lieut. Dmytri (Dima) and Nastia (Anastasia) Pomytkin and their sweet little girl, Captains Sergiu and Galina Nica, Andrey and Vera Priadko, Lieut. Tatiana Popova.

Isaiah 43:2 tells us, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire…the flame shall not consume you.”

But how important it is to read this Scripture in context. This is not a get-out-of-jail-free card. This is truth, reality – a promise. And it’s bigger than you ever imagined.

For you – who are passing through the waters, experiencing the deepest rivers – this is a picture of the God who is in the waters. When it feels as if you’re drowning, or that you’ll be consumed by the flames that surround you. When death seems imminent, and the rescue far off: “I AM,” “YHWH,” carries you, surrounds you with his presence of grace and love.

The Salvation Army is providing hope, healing, and comfort to displaced and affected families and individuals through service to those impacted and displaced by the ongoing crisis with food, shelter, and spiritual care. Our faith in God transcends borders and we serve those in this humanitarian crisis with compassion and without discrimination or prejudice across Eastern Europe, from Ukraine to Romania, Moldova, Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Russia.

 Find current updates on The Salvation Army’s response to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and how you can support the relief effort, here

This article first appeared in The Salvation Army Canada’s Caring magazine.


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