Last month, we reported concerns over the ongoing harassment experienced by churches in Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine. In this report, we shared that the leader of the Kurchatov Church in Mariupol, Pastor Leonid Ponomarev, together with his wife, Tatyana, had been abducted by Russian soldiers. At that time, their location was unknown.
We are thankful to share that, according to the International Union of Churches of Evangelical Christian Baptists, Pastor Leonid and Tatyana were released on 21 October (the couple are pictured above, in between two others).
No further details are available at this time.
While we can praise God that Pastor Leonid and Tatyana have been safely returned to their home, their situation serves as a reminder for us to continue prayerfully upholding the people still residing in Ukraine, who are facing the daily challenges and dangers of war.
Pray for the continued strength and protection of churches in Ukraine. Pray that their congregations will continue gathering in secret, despite the risks.
Pray that Leonid and Tatyana will be comforted by the Lord and by their community as they recover from the ordeal.
Pray for church leaders who have chosen to stay behind in Ukraine in areas of high persecution.