Oleksandra is a storyteller who ministers to women in Ukraine. She has gone through some very difficult times but through it all, she remains a bright light to others. Last month, she shared this encouraging statement, “I had an opportunity to attend the ladies’ tea on August 13th and it was a huge blessing and encouragement, not only for me but for many women who desire to shine for God despite the darkness of war.” Oleksandra shares more about the tea and the ministry of women:
“What can a woman do when God remains silent and doesn’t answer one simple prayer? It was a question Yaroslava asked herself during her first four years of marriage. She had always been dreaming about having kids, but God closed her womb. Four years of tests, examinations, and intense treatment lead to an extraordinary diagnosis: unexplained infertility. The standard infertility testing had not found a cause for the failure to get pregnant. Yaroslava’s husband and she were both healthy. So, they just kept praying for a miracle as it was possible only for God to make it happen. Hundreds of people joined them in their prayer.
Yaroslava remembers there was not a single day when she would wake up without thinking about children. Every day she would kneel, crying and praying for God to bless them with children. ‘If you give me a child, I’ll give it to you, Lord, like Anna did, I’ll be more devoted to you, I’ll serve you more. What do you want me to do? Stop praying about it. God said it directly to my heart and I heard it clearly. I didn’t hesitate to listen to him. The following day, I woke up and I couldn’t believe that an obsessive thought about getting pregnant didn’t even come to mind or bother me, it wasn’t stuck in my mind anymore. I felt healed. Not even a tear was dropped in a whole day. I started living freely. And that was when God opened my spiritual eyes and I saw women in our church who were ghosted and overlooked. That very moment I conceived an idea of developing women’s ministry in our church.’
Here’s what Yaroslava tell us about the ministry:
In our church, there has never been women’s ministry as such. There were older sisters who rarely gathered for prayer or conversation, and there was never anything for the young ones. So, I got the desire to create something beautiful, aesthetic, pleasant, useful, and inspiring. And when the quarantine began, I started thinking even more about creating something for women, because everyone was isolated, lonely, and lacking social interaction.
When we were planning this first women’s conference, we spent a long time thinking about the name. The phrase “A Woman of His Dreams” came to mind. We kept this name, and it’s still the name of our sisterhood today. Finally, in August 2021, 120 women from various churches across Ukraine gathered in our church for this conference. We sang together, listened to sermons, enjoyed delicious food, had coffee, engaged in meaningful conversations, and prayed. During that event, a vision was born that this ministry should continue to grow and shouldn’t stop at just one conference.
Right after the conference ended, we decided to meet once a month with the girls from our church for prayer breakfasts at a café. And of course, we were already planning a meeting for 2022. We had a dream of hosting such a conference in the Carpathian Mountains in the form of a women’s camp. We already had an agreement with a speaker. But it turned out that we couldn’t find a suitable venue for the event, so we decided to stick with the standard conference format in the church. And later, analyzing all the events and planning, we realized that God simply protected us, our resources, and our plans, because in February of 2022, the war began. We all went our separate ways. Our meetings shifted to video conferences. Every week through video calls, we prayed together, supported one another.
In June of 2022, my husband and I returned to our city, and I decided that we should restart the prayer breakfasts. We saw a need for communication among a larger group of women, as many had scattered, and many churches were left without their ministries. Therefore in October 2022, despite the ongoing war,, we decided to organize a women’s gathering. During the war, it was very challenging for all of us. So, we thought and decided that the “A Woman of His Dreams” is what should grow amidst crises. The central idea of this gathering was that, like seeds, we have the potential to grow and bear fruit. When a seed sprouts, it’s painful and uncomfortable; it grows into a new and unfamiliar world. Similarly, our growth might be uncomfortable and painful, but only after that can we bear fruit for God. At the event, the women made a small pouch with mustard seeds as a reminder that even when our faith is as tiny as a mustard seed, God will use us to bring glory to Him.
This year, in August, we held a gathering that we named “Woman of His Dreams. Clothed in Strength.” The key verse was Proverbs 31:25, “Strength and dignity are her clothing.” The woman of his dreams, a daughter of God, rises every day, clothing herself in strength because God’s grace is renewed for us each day. We draw our strength from Him, seeking inspiration and the desire to serve, the desire to bear fruit. Only through God’s strength we can serve in our difficulties, our trials, and shine wherever we are. Each of us pays a price, especially now in Ukraine, but it’s through these challenges that we become strong in God.
We plan to grow; there’s a team, there’s a vision, and I see how God is guiding and blessing this ministry, because it’s needed now more than ever. Women’s issues don’t disappear, and war only amplifies all the pain and experiences, and the difficulties that women have faced before. But with God, we can go through anything, endure everything, because everything He gives is for good and it’s strengthening us.
Through this ministry, God teaches us as a team to be sensitive to the pain of others. Among our women, there are widows of fallen heroes, women whose husbands went missing in the war or suffered physically, lost limbs, etc. All of this requires spiritual and emotional strength. We appreciate your prayers and let God be glorified through this ministry!
Please continue to pray for these women as they have experienced great loss, but still, they go forth and shine ever so brightly!