Ukraine Pastoral Ministry Update

12 Mar 2022

Ukraine today is going through its 16th day of war.  For the past two weeks the lives of the people of Ukraine have been changed forever.  Over 1.5 million Ukrainians have fled their homes and country into neighboring Moldova, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and Poland, and then further into Germany, Holland and the UK.   The mission work of LCC with SELKU (Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ukraine) has moved into emergency help mode.  At the time of this writing all of our pastors are alive and relatively safe.  Here is an update on some of them.

  1. Bishop Alexander Yurchenko and his family remain in the mission house just outside of Odessa in the village of Usatova.  The Bishop and his sons are working hard transporting evacuees from Odessa and the SELKU congregations to the border.   He and his family have decided to stay and do all they can to share the Gospel and help others.   Since he has two sons and a daughter, the sons are not allowed to leave because men between the ages of 18-60 are not allowed to leave Ukraine. The Bishop’s wife and daughter are both nurses and they have decided to stay and help using the gift of nursing that God has given to them.  The Bishop continues to help make decisions for the church and also continues to serve as prison chaplain.  
  2. Pastor Oleg Schewtchenko, his wife and two sons have left Ukraine and are now living in Germany with his wife’s father, Bishop (emeritus) Victor Grafenstein.  Pastor Oleg has dual citizenship both German and Ukrainian. This enables him to leave Ukraine and connect with those on the other side of the border.  This is helpful as he can then receive cash or goods and bring them back into Ukraine.  What a sacrifice he is making as he is the only man who can leave Ukraine and yet he chooses to stay and help his fellow brothers and sisters in Ukraine.
  3. Pastor Alexei Navrotsky (see his video update below), his wife and two boys have also been evacuated out of Ukraine and are with Oleg’s wife in Germany staying with the Russian/Ukrainian Lutherans in Germany.  Pastor Alexei continued to stay in Nikolaev to help all the women and chldren of his congregation to leave but also his mother did not want to leave Nikolaev.  It is just within the past two days that he was able to convince his elderly mother to leave Nikolaev and they are now living in the building of our Lutheran Seminary in Osatava outside of Odessa.  Here at the Seminary they are housing refugees and gathering goods and humanitarian aid to bring to differnet villages and towns.  
  4. Pastor Valery Verba, his wife and son have left Ukraine and are with the wives and children in Germany.  Pastor Valery and his family serve in the village of Nova Kahovka and were visiting his mother in Odessa when their small village were taken over by Russian forces.  He is now trying to get food into the village and helping the other pastors transport people to the border and transport aid where needed. 
  5. Pastor Yuri Popel, his wife and children have left Ukraine and are also with the families in Germany.  He continues to stay in his small village of Kamenka on the road from Odessa to Moldova.  He is safe and caring for those in his congregation who have not left. 
  6. Pastor Yuri Timerkana, his wife and three children have left Ukraine and are in Germany and will be cared for by members of a congregation of our sister congregation part of SELK (Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church of Germany).   
  7. Pastor Sergei Bevz, his wife and two small children have joined the other wives and families in Germany and are safe.   Pastor Sergei continues to serve in Dnipro (Dnepropetrovsk) and in the small town of Zarya.  Here they have prepared homes and the church to receive refugees and help to care for others with food and medical aid.  The city of Dnepro has been under attack as some bombs have gone off in this big city along the Dnepro river just over one hour south of Zaparojia (this is where the nuclear plant is).  
  8. Pastor Rudolph Krause, his wife and daughter are safe in Yalta, Crimea. Since this has already been in Russian hands since 2014 they are already considered by Russians as part of the Russian Federation.  

The other pastors are safe and caring for refugees that come their way.  

Soon when all the refugees are gone the pastors will need to think about next steps. These will be caring for those who are left in the cities and towns and helping to get humanitarian aid to people in need.  

What is needed

Prayers are needed for the Lord to bring this war to an end.  Prayers for funds to come in to be used to buy fuel and fix vehicles and provide food and help with other needs.   Funds will be needed to help those who are in other countries trying to survive without putting too much of a burden on those who have so graciously opened their hearts and homes to care for and shelter.

Wisdom for pastors to know how care for themselves and comfort their wife and children and then continue to brings God’s message of hope and love, compassion and forgiveness to all. 

You can give to the special fund that Concordia Mission Society has set up, where finances will go directly into the hands of those who need it most.  Thank you for your prayers and giving to the LORD and His servants in Ukraine. 

Below is a video update from Pastor Alexei Navrotsky.




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.