Updates from the church in Chernigov, Ukraine, request continued prayer

Quinter (Kan.) Church of the Brethren pastor Keith Funk this week has shared a series of updates on the situation in Chernigov, Ukraine, received from pastor Alexander Zazhytko of the Chernigov Brethren. (Funk notes that the spelling Chernihiv for the city’s name is being used in reporting in the United States). The two pastors are in daily communication.

A first Newsline report on the situation of the Chernigov Brethren was published Feb. 24 at www.brethren.org/news/2022/quinter-brethren-request-prayer-for-partner-congregation-in-ukraine .

On Friday, March 4, the report from Zazhytko was that as of very early that morning, Russian jets were bombing Chernigov. As of that time, he and his family were safe and sheltering in place in their home. Funk wrote to Newsline yesterday: “These are civilian targets. Alex reports, ‘They cannot kill our soldiers; they are killing our civilians.’ …May we pray for safety and deliverance. May we pray for an end to this carnage.”

On Thursday, March 3, Funk relayed news of “the worst day” so far in the city since the Russian invasion began: “[Pastor] Alex and I have been talking. This is the worst day, he reports. Residential areas are now being targeted by Russian missiles, apartment buildings are being hit outside the center of town. His house is currently being rocked by the explosions. The situation is growing increasingly tense, if that is possible. I am assuring Alex that his brothers and sisters are praying here in the U.S. This is giving them encouragement and assurance.”

A recent photo of pastor Alexander Zazhytko and his wife, Tonia, in their church house. Courtesy of Keith Funk

On Wednesday, March 2, Zazhytko reported that he and his son were able to go to the supermarket because the previous night had been peaceful after several days of constant missile bombardment. However, lines were long to get into the store, and as they waited a missile landed nearby, hitting the hospital. “The people scattered. The mayor of Chernigov has messaged his people to get ready for the street fighting to begin.”

Earlier this week, Funk forwarded repeated requests for prayer: “Alex asks for prayer. Alex is in contact with his congregation. At this point all are holding out. Food is becoming a problem for some if not many in the city. Some still have running water, others do not. The same with heat and electricity…. Alex is so encouraged by our prayers but nerves are ‘frazzled.’”

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