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Two baptisms that occurred in Ukraine on July 23, 2022

AUGUST 12, 2022

UPDATE #12 | Brotherly Love Prevails Amid Ongoing Crisis in Ukraine

“Even the War Cannot Stop the Disciple-Making Work”

UPDATE #12 | Brotherly Love Prevails Amid Ongoing Crisis in Ukraine

From July 23 to 31, publishers throughout Ukraine and in other countries where they have fled were baptized as part of the 2022 “Pursue Peace”! Convention. As of August 2, a total of 1,113 people from Ukraine have been baptized. One brother in Ukraine stated: “Even the war cannot stop the disciple-making work, as Jesus promised: ‘I am with you all the days.’”—Matthew 28:20.

We are happy to report the following experiences.

Natalia from Kreminna, Luhansk Region, is 63 years old. She and her two daughters began studying with Jehovah’s Witnesses in the 1990’s. Her daughters progressed spiritually and got baptized, but she did not. When the war broke out, a family of Jehovah’s Witnesses brought Natalia with them as they fled to a safer area. She was given shelter in a Kingdom Hall in Ivano-Frankivsk.

Natalia says: “After the horrible bombardments, it seemed as if I had forgotten how to smile. The brothers and sisters showed genuine love toward me. I did not expect such attention to my needs. At that time, my love for Jehovah was awakened. I read the Bible a lot, and a sister offered me a Bible study in the Enjoy Life Forever! book. She was Jehovah’s gift to me.” Natalia adds: “Now I am so happy to be baptized as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. I want to live in accord with the greatest commandment: to love Jehovah my God with ‘my whole heart and with my whole soul and with my whole mind.’”—Matthew 22:37.

Olia, in Poland, holding a homemade sign with the convention theme: “Pursue Peace”!

Olia from Cherkasy was an unbaptized publisher when the war began. On March 6, she fled to Poland with her daughter and granddaughter. She says: “We arrived there with only our go bags, but my spiritual brothers and sisters cared for the three of us. All of this convinced me that Jehovah’s organization is united and led by his spirit. After experiencing all of that, I was even more determined to dedicate my life to Jehovah. He helped me in my darkest moments, and now I want to serve him and show him my gratitude.”

Yulia from Donetsk Region is 18 years old. She grew up in a Witness family but had never progressed to baptism. She relates an experience that occurred shortly after the war began. She says: “I was lying on the floor, realizing that I could die at any time. Each square meter of the street where my family lived was destroyed, but we survived. After going through this and praying and meditating on Jehovah’s qualities, I got closer to him and stopped doubting whether I should dedicate my life to Jehovah. By answering my prayers, Jehovah showed how close he was to me. I used to merely have knowledge about God, but now I love him.” Yulia was baptized on July 23.

David, 11 years old, before his baptism in Germany

When the war broke out, 11-year-old David fled with his family to Germany. He had been an unbaptized publisher since he turned nine years old. He now looks forward to pursuing his spiritual goals. He says: “I decided to get baptized because I love Jehovah and want to be his friend. During my baptism, I cried tears of joy after becoming part of Jehovah’s wonderful family. I like telling people about Jehovah and his purpose for humans, so my next goal is to become a pioneer. I also want to serve my brothers and sisters in the congregation and hope one day to become a ministerial servant. My ultimate goal is to serve at Bethel. This has been my dream ever since I visited the branch office in Lviv in 2018.”

Olena from Kyiv became an unbaptized publisher in 2011. She was inactive for ten years. In 2020, congregation elders contacted her and gave her the brochure Return to Jehovah. She relates: “I resumed my Bible study and meeting attendance. However, after some time, I stopped again. During the war, Jehovah answered my prayers, and I realized that Jehovah had protected me, shown his love for me, and given me inner peace. I fled to Romania and found the Witnesses. The love and care I received from the brothers were like a warm blanket that Jehovah put over me.” Olena was baptized on July 24. She concludes: “I thank Jehovah for being so patient with me. Now I know that ‘for all things I have the strength through the one who gives me power.’”—Philippians 4:13.

As of August 2, 2022, the following totals have been reported from Ukraine. These statistics are based on confirmed reports from the local brothers. However, the actual numbers may be higher, since it is difficult to maintain communication with all regions of the country.

Effect on Our Brothers and Sisters

  • 43 publishers have died

  • 97 publishers have been injured

  • 22,568 publishers are currently displaced

  • 586 homes were destroyed

  • 613 homes sustained major damage

  • 1,632 homes sustained minor damage

  • 5 Kingdom Halls were destroyed

  • 10 Kingdom Halls sustained major damage

  • 37 Kingdom Halls sustained minor damage

Relief Efforts

  • 27 Disaster Relief Committees (DRCs) are operating in Ukraine

  • 53,836 individuals were assisted directly by the DRCs to find safer accommodations

  • 24,867 publishers have fled to other countries and are being assisted by fellow worshippers