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Dec 28, 2023
Editor’s Note: The following testimony was provided by an SGA-supported pastor in Israel.

Here is a ministry update from SGA-supported Pastor Yura. Though the Israel-Hamas war continues, he and his wife Luda press on against many trials in both ministering to people and training believers. 

Yura’s report provides insight into Luda’s cancer treatment, their response to people displaced by the fighting, and even starting up Bible training again. With rockets still coming down, Yura and Luda continue to declare Christ and teach His Word.

Shalom, dear friends.

We are very grateful to you for your support and ministry in these difficult times for our country, and we are glad that we can endure them together and see God’s power and His helping hand!

Update on health of my wife Lyudmila:

To date, she has undergone 22 chemos and four operations to install stents in her kidneys, and her current condition is satisfactory. There is a tendency to improve, but it is relative, as swings of her well-being still occur. When the war broke out, she continued coming to the hospital to receive treatment, and it was a very good opportunity for Lyuda to share the Gospel with other cancer sufferers who were very open to listen. We maintain relationships with these people and communicate frequently over phone. Lyudmila offered them a Bible study, so, please, pray they would agree.

Despite her illness, Lyuda comes with me wherever I need to be and tries to help serving the war-affected people who receive food assistance.

War in Israel:

On October 7, early in the morning, a terrible war began in Israel. We live in a city which is a little more than four miles from the border to Gaza, and in the first three weeks, 75% of the rockets were fired at our city. In the city itself, as well as the border area, many terrorists (1,500) were liquidated.

Residents of the city found themselves in a difficult situation, as they were enduring ongoing rocket attacks, seeing terrorists on the streets, and many were frightened even to leave their apartments. People would quickly run out of the food and had no opportunity to go shopping, as they were scared of being shot by terrorists, besides no shops were functioning.

By God’s mercy and owing to your timely financial assistance, we were able to serve these people and deliver food to their homes, to evacuate those who needed, to other cities and to provide other types of assistance. In the first three to four weeks, we were delivering food under the ongoing fire, despite of danger being on the streets. The supported people were very impressed by the courage of our team and were immensely grateful for help.

We were telling people that we were from the church, and it was a good opportunity to meet new people on a personal level. During that time, we built up about 1,100 food packages, visited more than 300 families, handed about 400 gifts to children, delivered 100 servings of hot lunches a day, and all that became possible thanks to the courage of our community members (as of today, we are just eight people) and your timely financial assistance.

Valentina’s testimony:

Valentina came from Ukraine, having escaped the war in her homeland, endured many difficulties and troubles, and while in Israel, on the third day of the war a rocket hit her apartment. She had just given birth and miraculously survived with a baby in her arms. Now with two children she was left without housing or any support. We are glad that God sent us her way, and we attended to her needs. Valentina was moved to tears and thanked God and us, saying, “I realized that I have a family in this city and I want to become a part of it!” She came to our worship service and wants to continue coming and help those in need.

Testimony of a family from Zaporozhye:

This family lost their housing to the rocket attack. During the firing, Sveta was in the hospital giving birth, and later they learned that a rocket hit their apartment. As soon as we heard about their situation, we arrived at their new place of living and brought essentials for the child and things the family needed. They said that they saw God helping them in their time of trouble, and were very grateful for the support. They want to bring their child to church for a prayer of blessing, and are delighted that they can be a part of our church family.

Distribution of food packages:

Today people go out of their homes, as the situation has improved. However, many do not have jobs or lack resources to cover their basic needs. We started distributing food packages in the premises of our church community twice a week. We distribute about 120 food parcels a week here and deliver some to people’s homes. People who come are very happy to see us and we are able to talk and invite them to the church service. Some of the aid receivers sign up for volunteering, thus they can be involved in communication with our church members, which is a great delight for us.

Bible School in Beer-Sheba

Despite the hostilities, we decided to continue the Bible study at the period of the truce. We had 17 people who came for the school, studying the Word of God with great joy. They said that during these difficult times, they really missed studying the Bible. Everyone has their own story to tell about how they are going through hardships of the war, how God acted and kept everyone during the days of trouble.

We are very grateful to you for your support and your service to our country in these difficult times. Please pray for us, for God to give us wisdom and open the hearts of those whom we help to hear His Word. We are planning to start a Bible school in Haifa and a homiletics study group for the brothers in our city. Pray for this, too. May God bless you!

With Christian love,

 Yura and Lyuda

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