Ukraine: the pastor at the front lines

Ukraine: the pastor at the front lines

CMS local partner in demand as forces chaplain, while churches pray and fast for an end to war

Photo: Pastor Valery Alymov on the road as an army chaplain

Exhausted. Physically and emotionally. As Ukrainians prepare to enter the third year since Russia invaded their country, everyone is weary to the bone of this unwanted war.

This is what we are hearing from Valery Alymov, CMS local partner, Kyiv church pastor and former military serviceman.

In the three days leading up to the anniversary of the invasion on 24 February, Ukrainian churches have called for prayer and fasting to call on God for a just end to the war.

Pastor Valery, left, is much in demand as a chaplain to Ukrainian soldiers

The wounds of war

Having recently returned from the front lines where he has been ministering as a chaplain, Valery reported how heart-breaking it has been to see so many severely wounded soldiers – many of whom have lost limbs and whose desire to live is diminishing.

At one hospital, Valery met a 27-year-old who had lost both arms and whose legs were badly injured: “He arrived in hospital with no documents. It was really difficult to be with him…needing to learn how to live again.”

Chaplaincy: running into combat

The Ukrainian defence ministry has come to appreciate the importance of chaplains, particularly as the military has endured recent setbacks in battling with Russian forces. Even after two years, nobody can predict the ultimate outcome of this crisis.

As a former soldier and trained counsellor, Valery’s experience is much in demand at the front lines, with repeated requests for his presence.

While he is grateful for the chance to provide encouragement, support and to share the gospel with soldiers, two years of violent conflict have taken their toll.

730 days of struggle

Valery and Alison Giblett, who has served as a CMS mission partner in Ukraine for more than 20 years, ask us to join them in prayer:

  1. For Valery, as he copes with an overwhelming amount of work, both on the front lines as chaplain and as pastor of Tabernacle of the Living God (TLG) church in Kyiv. Pray for his physical and spiritual health and for wisdom how to balance ministry priorities.
  2. The government decision to replace the head of the army has been somewhat controversial. Pray that the country and the church will not be weakened by disunity.
  3. Pray for TLG’s continuing work to rebuild hope and lives of people who have lost so much in the past two years.
  4. As our partners tell us, everyone is tired. Pray for God’s peace and strength.
  5. Pray that somehow, through all this, Jesus will draw people to him. Soldiers have reported praying and feeling protected by God. Pray for the chaplains who run to the front lines.
  6. Leading up to Saturday 24 February, all Ukrainian churches have been asked to have three days of prayer and fasting on 22, 23 and 24 February. On these days especially, pray for a just end to the war.

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