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Hello family and friends,

We are safe in God’s hand’s. His hands are working through us!

My friends, I will tell you honestly, I struggle with my feelings about Russians. I divide them into groups that I have identified. Putin, the Kremlin, and the oligarchs, fit into the category of evil. Those who protest this unprovoked and evil war show good and honest hearts. Many who continue to be brainwashed through the Russian media see power and authority as their provider.

I have recently been introduced to one more category that I will refer to as unexpected heroes. Here is their story. I have receive the story from people that I know who were witness to the event.

Russian maritime sailors working for a Romanian company, were sailing under the Romanian flag. A Russian War ship pulled along side the Romanian ship and demanded that they be a shield, enabling the Russian war ship to come close to the city of Odessa.

When the Russian maritime sailors refused, the Russian warship fired a missile at their own people, on the Romanian ship. A fire started on the Romanian ship, forcing the men to jump into the freezing water. While their ship was sinking, the Ukrainian rescue ship saved them from the frigid water and delivered them to the hospital.

A local church reached out to these men, men whose country was at war with their rescuers. While in the hospital for two weeks, men from this church brought them food, clothing, medical supplies for their recovery, and even a phone to call their families in Russia.

Because they were Russian citizens, and Russia was at war with Ukraine, the sailors could not return home. They were something like prisoners of war. Because of this, the Ukrainian soldiers guarded them day and night at the church, and in the worship services, too.

Ukrainian troops from Zmiiny Island that were captured by Russian soldiers early in the war were traded for the Russian maritime sailors.

When the Russian maritime soldiers returned home, their wives called the pastor of the church to thank him for treating their husbands so kindly. They are now looking for Baptist churches.

As for Sveta and I, there remains a shock, a numbness. It is gradually fading away. Our emotions catch up with us; our memories of our comfort zone remind us of what we called home. We look forward, finding home in our daily moment. We find our home, our strength in the Power of Jesus Christ Who lives within us.

Thank you for your prayers!

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta

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