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Love Ukraine Charity Concert vol.2

Japone Artists will have a charity concert for Ukraine again in this year! Performers are Utako Arakawa (Soprano/Vocals) and Yoshimi Kawai (Pianist, Componist). And we will have a special guest performer Jeroen van der Ham (Storyteller). The program is very special, unique and varied as it will contain original music (Japone original music/Yoshimi's original piano music), Gospel music, Classic music, Anime/game songs and etc...! This concert will invite you a fantastic music world with a refined high qualified performance! *Date & Time; Saturday 30 September 2023, 20:00PM *Place ; Evangelisch-Lutherse Kerk Haarlem ( Witte Herenstraat 22, Haarlem. *10 min walk from the station Haarlem).   *Tickets;15 Euro > Admission is free for Refugees from Ukraine (a donation is welcome)!

This time as well all proceeds of the concert go to the activity “Supporting and helping the refugees from the Ukraine by the Japanese church” (*see the articles below)

“Supporting and helping the refugees from the Ukraine by the Japanese church” Since 3 weeks after the Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24th February in 2022, for the sake of supporting the refugees of the Ukraine, Reverent Nobuyuki Uchimura (The paster of Milano church /Japanese Church of the Southern Netherlands) is continuing activities of transporting supplies, foods and donation money directly to the Ukraine with driving 2,600 km round trip from Milano to Ukraine. Mr. Uchimura and his wife Mariko are cooperating with local churches and Ref. Funakoshi and his wife who live in Ukraine as missionaries and help local people and refugees in Ukraine.

Mr. Uchimura says ; Supporting refugees is normally done by professional organizations, but at the same time, the activity of local churches is essential and should not be forgotten. My mission is helping such local churches in the Ukraine. In my view, the big problem is that children are suffering greatly. They are one of the biggest victims. I would like to help for the week such as children, family and elderly people who need great help."

*Here we introduce parts of his reports* On Monday April 10, 2023 we left Milano (Italy) and helped one week in Ukraine. On Friday 21st of April we were safely back again in Milano.

All our work was blessed; the transfer of donations and medical assistance for refugees in a church in Kherson, where heavy fights are taking place, church services and a leadership training in a church in Odessa.

The destruction of the province Kherson and the scars of the invasion of the Russian army are beyond words. The church was also hit by a cluster bomb. But the reverent and his wife were not evacuated and continued to support the villagers. While we are driving in the car with reverent Funakoshi and his wife, there was artillery fire at approximately 300 yards from our car. Ukrainian soldiers warned us "Hurry up!" so we left the car behind en jumped in the trenches nearby. As soon as the shooting stopped the soldiers said "The next shooting will start in 2 minutes. So leave here immediately! ” We went back to the car, started it quickly and left the area. Your prayers have supported us. Thank you very much!

(*From left to right; reverent Funakoshi, reverent Uchimura, Mrs. Uchimura and Mrs. Funakoshi) On Friday April 28, 2023 cities all over Ukraine were attacked by Russian rockets and in the central city of Uman an apartment complex was hit by rockets, which killed 17 people including a child.

This city has the largest Jewish community in Ukraine, it was the city where I and my wife stayed 2 weeks ago with Mr. and Mrs. Funakoshi from Odessa. Most of the civilians were evacuated after the Russian invasion began. From the thousands of Jews who lived there only 30 people remain. We went there to pray near the catacombs in the city and we met a Jewish man who lost his son during a Russian shelling and he himself suffered from a serious brain attack (the man in the center of the picture below). Every time when I hear news about bombarding in Ukraine I worry about the safety of the people that we have met.

Despite the situation that news is diminishing and that people are getting used to the ongoing war, we hope that we will continue to raise our hands in prayer.

On Friday, August 25th, my wife and I returned to our home in Milan from Ukraine. We are grateful for your prayers. We left Milan on August 8th, driving 4,500km for 17 days. On Saturday, August 19th, I accompanied a team from Odesa Church to a hospital where soldiers injured on the front lines are hospitalized. To be honest, I was conflicted “Would it be all right if I could go to this place ?” and I was also nervous about “What I can do and what kind of reaction I will get if I appear in front of those people?”. However, when we entered the hospital room with small supplies and tracts to share the gospel, the soldiers cried tears of joy at our visit. And they entrusted their precious troop badges and watches to me. I got a glimpse of the fact that there are many people who went to the battlefield to protect their country and family against the Russian invasion and suffering severe wound to their bodies and minds, and who feel like they have been forgotten by the world. I would like to continue to support the work of the church in Odesa that be a neighbor of these people.


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