Kherson’s Christians unite to rebuild after Russian Occupation


Eastern Europe


Photo AFP

Baptists within Ukraine’s Kherson region have come together after months of a Russian takeover. Despite widespread destruction, members from the surrounding villages have returned with visions to rebuild their churches.

According to a report from the Institute of Religion and Society RISU, twelve Baptist members from the village of Kochubeivka stayed after their church was levelled by Russian forces. Although the Russian occupation lasted two weeks, the village’s infrastructure laid heavily damaged. A vehicle that was used to transport surrounding villagers to the church was burned down.

In the village of Novovorontsovka, local pastor, Serhiy Kostin, said that he has resumed church meetings after almost a month of Russian takeover. During the occupation, insurgents confiscated his car. Despite “extreme poverty” from artillery damage, residents insist on coming home with an aim to rebuild.

The village of Visokopill, which is 42 kilometeres from Novovorontsovka, had their house of prayer nearly destroyed by Russian occupiers. Church members are currently restoring parts of the roof, which has suffered heavy damage, as reported by RISU.

On March 11th, Russian troops invaded Kherson and took over the area, including Tavria Christian Institute (TCI). In August, Russian occupiers destroyed three buildings on the campus, which included the prayer hall, an office, and a dormitory, according to reporting by Megaportal inVictory. When the city was liberated, TCI employees were able to enter the property. What they saw shocked them. The campus laid in ruins, with buildings smashed and debris scattered across the base. A military vehicle sat intact in front of the destruction. The library was brought to a nearby dump by the soldiers, and the dining room was described as a “pigsty.” After witnessing irreparable damage, TCI leaders held a press conference on the destruction from the “Russian world”. TCI plans to restore the area and continue their ministry, Megaportal inVictory also reports.

Last week, TCI posted aletter on their website, which was supported by several Ukrainian theological institutions.

“Despite the situation, Ukrainian theological institutions continue their mission in the face of constant attacks by enemy aircraft on energy and other civilian infrastructure,” the address said. “We ask that you use all means to support Ukrainian educational institutions with your prayers, educational resources and finances to help them survive these dark times.”

Although the restoration will take many more months, Kherson’s Christians see hope in the city’s future.

“We do not lose heart. We are together. One with each other and with God,” according to a written statement from the Kherson pastors, which was reported by RISU.



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