Dear Friends and Family,
Христос воскрес! Воістину воскрес! On April 28th the Orthodox world celebrated Easter and the resurrection of Jesus Christ! One thing I love about Ukraine is that on Easter, you can say to any person you see “Christ is risen!” and they will always answer you back without hesitation, “Truly He is risen!” For so many it’s just a tradition, but I pray that more and more people understand the power of the words they are saying! Jesus is alive! He’s the one and only true and living God and He saves us from death, sin, and the grave! This year we held our Resurrection service outside; it was great to praise the Lord in the open air! We had several new people attend as well as some of our neighbors were listening intently from their balconies!
Dormitories: Before Easter, I was sharing in several of the dorms and asked the students “Why do we celebrate Easter?” Many of them could tell me Jesus died on the cross and rose again. But when I asked them what does that mean personally for your life today, very few had any idea or answer. It was the perfect chance to explain the Gospel, Jesus’ sacrifice and unfathomable love for us, and how we need to receive the price He paid for our sins. It was so good! So many students really grasped the importance of Easter for them personally. I’m praying for these planted seeds to come to fruition!
Evangelism: Now that the weather is warming up, it’s much easier to get volunteers to help with evangelism. Plus there are so many more people outside who are willing to stop and talk now too. We did a couple outreaches this past month and also held an outreach the Saturday before Easter. Our signs read“Jesus is risen” and “Jesus is alive”. Two men we ministered to do that day were at our Easter service the next morning which was very encouraging! So often little gestures go a long ways. Not everyone takes the free coffee or lemonade, but just by offering it and blessing people in Jesus name brings a smile to the people passing by. That little nudge is enough to get them to start thinking about God and about why these crazy people are outside giving away free refreshments! Last time one lady passed by our stand twice before she turned around and had to ask why in the world we would be so kind to strangers. I simply said that Jesus freely loved everyone and so do we, and that I know He loves Ukraine and hasn’t given up on our nation. After a short conversation and prayer she left with a smile on her face and hope in her eyes. Hallelujah!
Smila: I was able to spend some time in Smila recently with my teammates Juliana, her husband Andre, and our friend Phil. The guys had a wonderful youth service on Saturday night and I shared at church on Sunday morning. Pastors Dennis and Oksana are about to under go a major (and much needed) renovation to their house – they are getting a new roof! A big thank you to the generosity of several supporters who have helped them out! Pray that everything goes smoothly and that the work is done well and quickly! The day we were in Smila was also the Presidential election runoff vote. After service we participated in a citywide prayer gathering for Ukraine and for the new president. Then we hurried back to Krivoy Rog so my Ukrainian teammates could still vote! When I say hurry, it’s not easy to do as half of the journey (about 80 miles) is unbelievably bad roads right now – the amount of potholes is unbelievable! But we made it in time for them to still vote!
Ukraine’s New President: The runoff election on April 21st resulted in the overwhelming win (0ver 70% of the vote) for our new president, Volodymyr Zelensky. He is an actor from my Ukrainian hometown of Krivoy Rog and he will be taking office at the end of May. Please pray for him as a new president, that God would bless Zelensky and that he would make good decisions for our country! We pray that there would be economic growth and that peace would come to the war in eastern Ukraine.
Children’s TB Hospital: Our team continues to spend time with the kids at the TB Hospital. One of the girls named Isabella has been there for several months now. She is an orphan who also has trouble with her vision, as she is almost virtually blind. Often times when we arrive she is very discouraged and sad. She struggles with loneliness, especially since the other kids have family who come to visit and she has none. So a lot of my time there is spent just hugging her and talking with her. I assured Isabella that I’m coming there to see her specifically! That made her smile! I pray that God would heal Isabella and place her in a loving family!
Greenfield: The Greenfield ladies of course keep me on my toes – literally! They always want to dance with us when we come visit because they love to dance and it brightens up their day! Before Easter I shared the story of the cross and Jesus’ resurrection. Then I had a special gift, a cross necklace for everyone to remind them of Jesus’ love. They were so happy! On the following visit many of them were still wearing their cross necklaces! We also made sure to bring an Easter Pasichka bread to each of the ladies, as it’s a special treat they wait for all year long!
-For Ukraine’s new president Volodymyr Zelensky, that he be God’s man for the hour and that he is able to help change the economic situation in Ukraine as well as influence the war.
-For Pastor Dennis and Oksana as they move out and get a new roof on their house! Pray for all the finances, workers, and materials! Pray also for encouragement for them and their churches.
-For all the seeds planted around the Easter holiday to take root and grow in the hearts of those who heard the message of the Gospel.
-For God to put the lonely in families and the orphans to be adopted (like Isabella at the TB hospital).
-For our team as we prepare for summer projects like our annual kid’s camp as well as other outreach.
-For health and healing for our Church of Truth team (as many have been sick lately) as well as strength, encouragement, refreshing, and revelation.
May God bless you abundantly! Much love to you from Ukraine! I pray the Lord bring refreshing to your soul and peace to your heart! May His presence be with you always!
Your Missionary to Ukraine,
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About Leann Peterson
Leann has been serving in Ukraine since 2003. During that time she has witnessed the Holy Spirit touch a multitude of people, bringing them salvation, healing, freedom, and deliverance. Ukraine has seen it’s fair share of hardships: hopelessness, corruption, alcoholism, high divorce rates, addictions, depression, and poverty. But God can change all of that! He has given Leann a heart for the people of this nation. She believes that the Holy Spirit will be poured out upon Ukraine and that there will be a mighty move of revival all around the land!