Missions / Newsroom / Ukraine 2022

CBF’s Baxley and field personnel Mina and Gennady Podgaisky request prayer for Ukraine

February 24, 2022

By Aaron Weaver

DECATUR, Ga. — CBF Executive Coordinator Paul Baxley urged prayer for the people of Ukraine on Thursday following news of Russia’s invasion and also affirmed “solidarity with our Baptist sisters and brothers.”

Mina Podgaisky (third from left) plays games with leaders for the Outback Couples’ Retreat in Ukraine during a leadership planning retreat.

“Today I invite Cooperative Baptists to join with Christians around the world in praying for the people of Ukraine as they awoke the morning to news of the Russian invasion. Our Fellowship has an especially close connection to the people of Ukraine because of the faithful ministry of Gennady and Mina Podgaisky,” Baxley said. “Twenty years ago this coming summer, our Fellowship commissioned Gennady and Mina to serve in Kyiv, and a year later they helped establish Village of Hope in partnership with CBF congregations, friends and partners in Ukraine. That ministry has provided a home for many foster families, offered opportunities for Bible Study, granted space for camps for congregations, and others.”

“While Gennady and Mina are currently in the United States, their hearts and minds are with the people of Kiev, and we join them in praying for all the people of that nation,” Baxley continued. “Let’s pray for the end to the conflict, the establishment of peace, and wisdom for the leaders of the world. Let’s remember the clergy who lead congregations of every denomination across the Ukraine and the believers who gather in them. Even as we do so, let us stand in particular solidarity with our Baptist sisters and brothers. In the midst of war and conflict, let’s offer our prayers and our collective influence toward peace. As followers of the Prince of Peace, we can do no less.”

Gennady and Mina Podgaisky (right) celebrated the 15th anniversary of Radio Emmanuel, the only Christian radio station in Kyiv.

CBF field personnel Gennady and Mina Podgaisky are currently residing in North Carolina on off-field assignment. They offered thanks, prayer requests and other reflections in the following update to Cooperative Baptists.

First and foremost, we want to thank CBF for allowing us to respond to God’s call to serve the people of Ukraine. February marks the 20th anniversary of our commissioning to serve in Ukraine. Thank you for all the prayers and messages of support that are received during these last two months and especially in the last few hours. 

Currently we are in Black Mountain, N.C. We came here in December for our scheduled off-field assignment. We were scheduled to return back to Ukraine in mid-March. However, due to the war, we don’t know when we will be able to go back. 

Although we are in the States, we have continued our ministries and have been in close communication with the people whom we serve in Ukraine. We continue to meet online with our ministry partners; home Bible study group, church groups, individuals, friends and people whom we help through counseling. 

As of this early morning, February 24, the people we know, serve and love in Ukraine, are safe. The majority of the people are hunkering down in their homes, basements and bomb shelters, as bombings, drones, helicopters and planes continue their onslaught. People are united in prayer through online chats and trying to discern what they can do the next night, day or week. There is no widespread panic. People are showing the spirit of consideration and unity when buying food and supplies for upcoming days. There is still water, gas, electricity, phones and internet connections. 

Most Ukrainians do not have choices to go anywhere. While hundreds of thousands of people are trying to flee Kyiv and other parts of Ukraine that are under fire, there are miles-long lines on gas stations and the border crossings into European Union countries. 

The President of Ukraine has announced that Ukraine will resist by any means to this invasion. The government will provide arms to anyone willing to defend the country. The government started drafting people ages 16-60, male and female. These are the words of the President of Ukraine: “Love Ukraine? We are calm! We are strong! We are together!

We are supporting the people we minister in Ukraine through phone calls and online communications as our hearts go to them during these hard times. 

Please join us in prayer for the integrity of Ukraine, for unity and strength among the people there, and God’s presence and peace in the midst of uncertainty. 

Let’s pray fervently, have hope beyond hope, peace which exceeds all understanding, and the Grace and Mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ be with all of us.

Serving Him with You,

Gennady and Mina Podgaisky

The Podgaiskys have served in Kyiv, Ukraine since December 2002, where they facilitate the ministries of the Village of Hope, a ministry center that assists foster families. They also lead Bible studies, provide counseling, organize and lead family seminars; Outback couples retreats, and provide training on the Life-Skills Manual for Youth.

Four couples from the fall 2021 Outback couples’ retreat alongside the Podgaiskys. Gennady and Mina have guided these couples through the retreat and after, even seeing two couples move from near-divorce to renewing their vows.

Gennady and Mina helped establish the Village of Hope in 2003 when seven buildings in different stages of deterioration, located on a 16-plus acre former communist pioneer youth camp in the town of Bucha, Ukraine were purchased.

The Village of Hope currently hosts three Ukrainian foster families with a total of 21 children. The center also offers year-round camp facilities for local churches, Christian camp organizations and other groups to rent. Additionally, they lead a home Bible study group. Mina leads a women’s Bible study group where they do crafts, play games, fellowship and study the Word of God.

Mina is also one of the authors and trainer of the Life Skills Manual for Youth, an immensely valuable manual consisting of 10 modules of four-to-seven 90-minute lessons designed as a course for future orphanage graduates. The widely-used manual aims to supply youth with knowledge, tools and skills needed for independent living and successful integration into society written from a Christian perspective.

Gennady is a member of a local Christian counseling center in the city of 4+ million people. Gennady and Mina also provide pre-marital, family and individual counseling. Gennady also preaches regularly at their local church. Gennady and Mina lead family, parenting and marriage seminars and retreats in various churches in Ukraine.

Learn more about the Podgaiskys’ ministry at www.cbf.net/podgaisky.

Additional Reading:

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CBF is a Christian network that helps people put their faith into practice through ministry eff­orts, global missions and a broad community of support. The Fellowship’s mission is to serve Christians and churches as they discover and fulfill their God-given mission.

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