Our brother, Vitalli Rusnak, is weathering a resurgence of Covid presently in the area of Storojinet, Ukraine. But in spite of the oppressive context of sickness, death and uncertainty, blessing has overridden bleakness in the face of great calamity. In this month’s report, he shares how he is making the best of a difficult season:
We bless the Lord, as the psalmist says, at all times! We praise the Lord that He has created everything and runs all things! We made plans in order to be more efficient, but our plans were turned upside down. Still, he knows what he’s doing and why such things are being permitted. He is sovereign. We humble ourselves and accept everything that he allows in our lives. This is what I am learning, and I also teach my brothers to do the same. We have had two weeks of lockdown in January, and then we were able to start our activities over again. But after a few weeks, Chernovtsy and the surrounding area was quarantined again. Covid statistics are really bad in our area and the virus is spreading so much. Many people have died of Covid here. Several persons from Patrauti also died of Covid. Schools have been closed again, but we are still allowed to meet at church with a limited number of people. We also need to observe all the Covid restrictions.
Many people from our church are battling with the virus right now, some of them are being hospitalized, while others are being treated at home. The hospitals are almost full, and it gets more and more difficult to be hospitalized. We pray that the Lord would search the hearts of the people in our area and bring them to repentance.
I preached the Word at several funerals this month and, to my surprise, people come and listen to the Word. A relative of mine died of a heart attack. I preached the funeral. Many Orthodox friends and relatives listened to God’s Word on this occasion. We pray that God would search their hearts and regenerate them. My grandmother (94) was infected with Covid and wasn’t admitted into hospital. She died several days later. After the funeral, most of my family members got infected with Covid, including my father (73), my brothers and my uncles. Some of them are being treated at home, while others have been hospitalized with pneumonia. We pray that God would have mercy on them and heal them. After preaching at my grandmother’s funeral, I had to isolate myself because I had been in contact with those infected with Covid. I’m still in isolation right now. Please pray for the people who heard the gospel at this funeral. Most of my relatives are not saved. Please pray that God would have mercy on them and reveal Himself to them.
In all of these adversities, God is in control and he is good to us, giving us new opportunities to preach the gospel. We bless him for the freedom that we have in our country and we ask for light from above, so that we could take any opportunity we have. We can’t organize evangelistic events and evangelistic projects because of the pandemic, but we can use the Internet for spreading the Word to our non-Christian friends. This is going very well and it doesn’t take money or effort. I keep encouraging the church members to send evangelistic messages to their friends and relatives.
On Sunday, February 27th, we were supposed to have an evangelistic event. At this event, we wanted to pass out seeds packages where we always had many people attending. But the event was cancelled two days before it was supposed to take place, because of the Covid situation. Now we pray and try to find another method to help the people and to give them the seed of the Word that can regenerate their hearts. We are praying for guidance and for a new method to get involved in this project.
I would also like to share with you about a difficult situation that I’m going through as a pastor. Presently, we have a situation in the church that is very difficult. It is like a bomb for me and for the other brothers who are actively involved in the ministry. We’re struggling with this and the testimony of the church is being affected. Please pray for repentance in those who are involved. Also, pray for us, as ministers, to stay deeply rooted in the Word and not to make compromises.
I couldn’t go visiting this month, so I just called the people that I wanted to visit, especially the older ones and those who are going through trials. We talked and prayed together. I called them often and pray that all the thoughts they are struggling with would be made obedient to Christ. I keep preaching verse by verse from the Sermon on the Mount and I’m glad to see the way in which God is working.
Thank you so much for everything you are doing for us and for the cause of the gospel in our country! I’m so grateful for your prayers, encouragement and teaching! I am also grateful for the support and the books which are a real blessing for us. I can feel that you are there for us and I pray for you.