By Gennady Podgaisky, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel
We came to the States in December of 2021 on a scheduled off-field assignment. We were planning to go back to the Ukraine on March 12, 2022 but, due to the war, we could not return.
About a week after the war started on February 24, we received the sad news that the Lighthouse, the first restored building at the Village of Hope, had been destroyed by shelling. The day we received this news, was one of the saddest moments in our ministry and brought the reality of war really close to home.
Praise God, at the moment of the bombing, nobody was in the building or at the Village of Hope property. All the foster families had moved away or evacuated the premises earlier. In the previous years, the Lighthouse housed two foster families with up to 21 foster children, as well as the offices of the Ukrainian Christian Cooperation Center.
This year, on September 11, a tragic day for the U.S., we were visiting and speaking at FBC Dunn, NC. We had known pastor Len and his wife Kathy since 2006 when they had brought a short-term volunteer team from their church who helped us in the renovation and rebuilding of the Village of Hope, especially the Lighthouse building.
They had spent their time and money in an unknown country. They had helped provide housing for orphans, the least of these, serving them in the name of Jesus.
FBC Dunn had sent teams to Ukraine for several years and we have kept in touch. We kept the church updated about the developments and the progress at the Village of Hope.
During our recent visit to the church, we shared about our current efforts on behalf of the Village of Hope and Ukraine. We included memories about their visits and the impact they have made for the future of Ukrainian children through their time there. We shared stories and remembered friends we made while serving at the Village of Hope.
We had a special meeting with the people who had come to the Village of Hope. It also saddened them to see that the property had been destroyed. However, they have resolved to come again when the war is over to help to rebuild the Lighthouse or a new building.
The Village of Hope has hope in its name, and there is an eternal hope which we have in God. Despite the war, death, destruction, loss, pain and suffering that reveal evil in the world, we have hope. Someday we will celebrate the end of all evil.
With the help of many people, there will be a new Lighthouse, or maybe even two new Lighthouses at The Village of Hope.
Gennady and wife, Mina, Podgaisky are Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel serving in Ukraine since 2002. Learn more about their ministry at cbf.net/podgaisky.
The Offering for Global Missions provides for the long-term presence of field personnel like Brooke and Mike. The theme for this year’s Offering is “A Place at the Table for Everyone.” In Luke 14, Jesus teaches us to invite those least expecting and, in society’s view, perhaps least deserving of invitation. CBF field personnel serving in countries around the world invite and are invited to the table as they cultivate beloved community, bear witness to Jesus Christ, and seek transformational development.
Learn more about the Offering for Global Missions and access free digital and print resources at www.cbf.net/ogm.