“We want to return to restore the ruins of crippled souls…”

A pastor from Severodonetsk spoke about the events in the city and the ministry of the church.

The pastor and members of the Evangelical Transfiguration Church remained in the war-torn Severodonetsk (Ukraine) to the last to preach the Gospel and help the townspeople survive.

Pastor Alexander Torgunov and the parishioners of the Transfiguration Church delivered food, diapers, clothes, medicines, New Testaments and preached the Gospel to the residents of Severodonetsk, who had been hiding in basements and bomb shelters since the outbreak of hostilities on February 24.
Church members continued their ministry to people even after the shell hit the building in which the pastor’s apartment was located, where several church members with their families had previously moved.

Pastor Alexander is married and has five children. He founded the church in 2016.

“In 2013, I went to a rehabilitation center where I heard about Jesus Christ,” he said in an interview with Voice of the Martyrs – Korea.

” In 2014, my wife and I entered into a covenant with God.
God gave me a new life, freedom from the slavery of sin, and I clearly understood that I must return to my hometown, where I became famous as a scoundrel, a drug addict and a criminal. To return and tell many guys that there is another life, that there is Jesus Christ, Who gives freedom from addiction.”

So pastor Alexander returned to Severodonetsk and traveled within the region for 5 years, visiting hospitals, tuberculosis dispensaries, pharmacies and other places where he could find drug addicts and alcoholics, sharing his testimony and preaching salvation in Jesus Christ.

“After my personal testimony, many guys also went to a rehabilitation center and received freedom from addictions, saved and restored their families,” the minister said.

The Church has worked closely with the city and social services to reach low-income, large, and at-risk families by inviting families to church meetings and home groups and distributing food parcels.

When the war broke out, the church had to abandon its own ministry projects, but the skills they had acquired proved to be in demand on a much larger scale. The Christians cooked and fed the neighbors, and delivered food, medicine, diapers, and Bibles throughout the city.

Since the pastor lived in an apartment on the first floor, they received several parishioners with children, as well as the pastor’s unbelieving parents and another unbelieving family in which the husband was a drug addict – he is now in rehabilitation in Rivne (Western Ukraine).

On March 3, a shell hit a neighboring apartment.

“Thank God, everyone survived, windows ere only shattered in our apartment,” said pastor Alexander. They decided that families with children, pensioners and people with health problems should be evacuated to Rivne.

The rest of the church members worked with city volunteer groups and other local churches to assist with evacuations and deliver humanitarian aid.

“The guys went to those places in the city where even volunteers were afraid to go,” the pastor said. Church members remained in Severodonetsk as long as they could, but as the situation worsened and they were forced to leave.

“Now the situation in Severodonetsk is very terrible,” Alexander emphasized. “We really want to return in order to restore the ruins of not only urban structures, but also the ruins of crippled souls due to the war, bringing the Good News to people.”

Several church members and families traveled to France to help the mother church reach out to alcoholics and drug addicts in the country. Other members are in Kharkiv assisting the mother church with prison ministry and distribution of humanitarian aid.
The rest of the members, including the pastor and his family, are in Rivne.

At the moment, hostilities continue in Severodonetsk. Three key bridges connecting Severodonetsk and Lysichansk are now impassable to vehicles, supply and evacuation routes for the Ukrainian armed forces along these routes are impossible.
It remains only to pray for the preservation of the lives of thousands of civilians who continue to remain in the city.

Based on materials from the Voice of the Martyrs of Korea.

Source: «Хотим вернуться, чтобы восстанавливать руины покалеченных душ…» Пастор из Северодонецка о событиях в городе и служении церкви – ВО СВЕТЕ (inlight.news)

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