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“Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends!” Philippians 4:1 (NIV)
March 20, 2023
Cyclone Freddy Update
Many media reports are including the unusual phenomenon of Cyclone Freddy in how it is building, reducing and rebuilding in intensity and causing mass devastation and flooding. We are in contact with brothers and sisters in Mozambique and Malawi and so have some information of what is happening on the ground. The media has reported unfortunate deaths and loss of infrastructure as a result.
We know that brothers and sisters’ homes and ecclesial halls in affected areas have been destroyed, but to date we are not aware of any loss of life of brothers and sisters. We do know that communication with family members and brothers and sisters in affected areas has been lost and pray that it is just a loss of communication rather than loss of life.
Tropical Storm Freddy moved from the Indian Ocean and made landfall twice in Mozambique. This cyclone is unprecedented in longevity and distanced travelled and has already passed over Mozambique and Zimbabwe causing incredible flooding and damage.
We have heard from Bro. Homeless (who supports the CBM Linkman, Bro. Trevor Radbourne, and the brothers and sisters in Mozambique) who sent the following message, which brings home the personal challenges of the situation and how he is trying to reconcile the situation in which he finds his physical and spiritual family:
“Dear all, it’s almost 4 days now, with non stop rains and winds; reports say brethren’s huts in most villages around Zambeze are falling down, leaving people under trees and opportuned neighbors’ moment surviving huts. Rare communications from Quelimane (focal point of Freddy) due to fallen electric poles. Banned travels due to strong winds and fallen trees blocking roads.
The last I communicated with my first daughter who is doing her first year nursing in Quelimane was last Saturday. She reported to say the hut she is renting was already blown off and was struggling to take refugee in her neighbor’s. Since then up to date her phone can’t be reached. In which condition she is now, nobody knows. 5 village huts for Edna’s family including her mum’s have all gone, around along the spine (Trevor familia with this) road.
The goodness is, we know that all these are our loving Lord God’s actions Isaiah 45:7, Job 2:10. For it is written in Psalms 135:7 that He has storehouses of wind, and raises clouds to bring rains.. For I’m sure whatever He does has got its end or reason. Proverb 16:4. We need to pray for his will and give thanks, not grumble as others did. 1Cor 10:10.
Who knows, may be He is trying to correct us as his own children; reminding, us He still exists; as some of us have gone astray. Hebrews 12:6-11. As we know He is able to destroy the wicked including the righteous. Job 9:22. Who can say why are you bringing Freddy? Romans 9:20. We just need to ask Him, through faith, to elect us to have a place in a closer coming kingdom. As we can’t afford to enter by our own effort-so that not one of us can boast. Ephesians 2:8-10. This is why His ways are not human. Isaiah 55:8-11. Glory be to Him from now and evermore. Amen.”
We now understand that Bro Homeless’ daughter has been in communication with Bro Homeless. Her house is still waterlogged but she is safe.
Bro. Darren and Sister Amanda Storey have been in touch with Bro. Daston in the Malawi Christadelphian office who said:
“Yes brother Darren, indeed cyclone Freddy is devastating in southern districts of Nsanje, Chikwawa, Thyolo, Mulanje, Phalombe, Zomba, Blantyre, Neno, Machinga, Balaka and Chiradzulu. Reports from some of our area elders indicates brothers and sisters have lost their houses as well as crops in the fields and seeking shelter in government infrastructures such as schools. We can’t give you actual figures of displaced members now because the cyclone is still pounding. Will give you tangible figures in coming days once the cyclone is over. Thanks for your prayers over Malawi.”
We understand that several brothers and sisters in Malawi were reported missing, by being washed away by floods. However, they have now have been found alive. Phalombe South has been affected with vehicles and houses washed away, all the surrounding area is now a new river made by this cyclone – described as “very devastating” by our brothers and sisters. The photo above is of the collapsed Kalenso ecclesia in Nsanje which is also being used as a hiding shelter by victims. We understand there have been mudslides in Blantyre, similar to those in Mozambique. The President has declared a State of Disaster in the Southern Region with further flooding anticipated. We also understand that humanitarian help is being coordinated by The World Food Programme and Malawi Red Cross Society – this last point is what we are monitoring to help use decide what help we should give.
February 7, 2023
Turkey Earthquake Update
April 2, 2022
An Update on Brothers and Sisters in Ukraine and Russia (April, 2022)
Recorded Zoom panel discussion, from April 2 2022, with Bre. Mark Whittaker, Mark Sheppard and David Pearce – the CBM links for Ukraine and Russia.
March 7, 2022
The Growth of Christadelphia in Ukraine
There were Christadelphians in Ukraine before the Second World War, although at that time it was called USSR. Vladimir Doubrovsky came from a small town, called Shchors, many miles north of Kiev. Vladimir learned Esperanto, an international language.
He met Christadelphian Esperantists at an international congress, studied the Truth, and was baptized. He converted many of his friends in Shchors, but the terrible purges of Stalin, beginning in 1932, brought death to millions. Vladimir himself died of starvation in 1933 before he was thirty years old.
It was Esperanto that brought many to the Truth after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989. Bro Viktor from Russia was baptized at Cambridge in the UK in 1992. He advertised in many Ukraine newspapers for others who might be interested in the Bible. In 1995 a tour of newly independent Ukraine was made with Igor Bakai as the translator to visit these contacts.
Igor, after three years of translating for CBM UK visitors, asked to be baptized. On a warm Sunday morning in a sand-rimmed lake in Kiev, he was helped through the water into a new life in Christ which he still shares with us as we wait for our Lord.
Since those early visits after Ukraine gained independence, the CBM UK team would visit Ukraine several times a year, meeting new brothers and sisters in a very crowded flat in Kiev, hired for the weekend. Eventually the visiting team located a Sanatorium (health center) in the north of Kiev which had proper facilities for accommodation, meals, and a lecture room. Here they would meet two or three times a year for a Bible weekend, to which the brothers and sisters were invited.
The CBM UK paid for their costs to attend, for none of them had a car, and many were pensioners. After the weekend, the English visitors would travel by train or bus to Kharkov, Poltava, Kherson or Dnipro, all of which have been in the news lately, for a three-day visit, meeting the brothers and sisters in their homes and holding Bible talks.
The other big annual event was the Kiev Bible School, which lasted a week, and attracted around forty brothers and sisters, from ten to fifteen interested friends, and up to twenty children. This involved a team of six to eight UK brothers and sisters and three translators, for we ran a children’s class, a Foundations class for interested friends to learn the Truth, plus Bible studies for the brothers and sisters with two UK speakers.
Before the end of the week, any who asked to be baptized would be interviewed, and we would baptize them in a nearby lake before the final breaking of bread, when they would be received into fellowship.
At the peak, we probably had a hundred members in Ukraine. Each of them receives by post an exhortation and a Bible study in Russian for every Sunday. We also send them winter parcels, two or three Good News magazines each year in Russian, Sunday School lessons for their children, and verse by verse study guides and standard Christadelphian works translated into Russian.
Sadly, the COVID-19 epidemic prevented our visits in 2020 and we have not been able to restart them since then. The first opportunity as COVID restrictions eased was to be 2022, but the eruption of the war with Russia in Ukraine has brought an abrupt halt to all plans.
There are about eighty active brothers and sisters in Ukraine
At the last count we have about eighty active brothers and sisters in Ukraine. Many of these live in areas that are currently under bombardment by Russian forces – Kiev, Kharkiv, Melitopol, Kherson and beyond.
It means that a number of brothers and sisters have already made the decision to flee the fighting and are travelling to countries to the West such as Poland and Romania. Bro Igor, whose conversion is mentioned above, is one of those who is having to flee his home in Kiev with his seven-year-old son and head towards the EU.
But many of our members are elderly and are not able to make the journey, so are staying in their home-cities and praying that they are spared the constant attacks. Both those staying in place and those fleeing need our urgent prayers to God, that he will take special care of His children and bring them through this most trying of circumstances.
Mark Whittaker, CBM UK
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