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Devoted Sydney church member killed on flight MH17

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A western Sydney church is coming to terms with the loss of one of their own, Victor Oreshkin, one of the 298 passengers on MH17.

Victor, aged 29, was a core member of the small Slavic Evangelical Pentecostal Church in Lidcombe, Sydney. He was on his way home from a holiday in Europe visiting family when his plane, the Malaysia Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down over Ukraine. He had also attended a Christian conference while overseas to enjoy fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ who share his Slavic heritage.

Victor Oreshkin was killed when his flight home from holidays - Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 - was shot down over Ukraine. Photo: Facebook

Victor Oreshkin (pictured above) was killed when his flight home from holidays – Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 – was shot down over Ukraine. Photo: Facebook

Alex Minchenko, Victor’s pastor from the Slavic church described him as a “quiet, happy person” who was reliable and held a lot of responsibilities in the church. Victor looked after the PA system in the church, was part of a team organising the church youth group, and volunteered as a Sunday School teacher.

“He was very much involved, and as a person, he was appreciated by everybody,” Alex told Eternity.

Victor’s family had been attending the Slavic Evangelical Pentecostal Church for nearly 50 years, says Alex, who had known Victor from birth. Victor’s parents, Serge and Vera came to Australia as refugees in the 1960s, almost the same time as Alex. They’ve been part of the same small Slavic community ever since.

The church held a special service yesterday as part of their usual Sunday gathering to remember Victor and pray for his family. “It’s not a very big church community, so everybody knew Victor. It was very moving and touching… very emotional. But an opportunity for people to express how much Victor meant to all of us.”

Alex says the church had prayed for Victor before he embarked on his holiday, sending him off and “praying for God’s blessing.”

“Victor took the flight home but never came back to earth. God has delivered him to heaven,” Alex said .

Victor had been studying a Certificate of Theology part-time with Morling College in Sydney and was due to start his next subject—Old Testament—on Tuesday night this week.

Principal of Morling College, Ross Clifford, said Victor was known in the faculty for being a “delightful young man”. He had spoken to Victor’s father to pass on the College’s condolences. Tomorrow during the College’s regular Chapel service, there will be a special time of prayer for Victor and the other victims of the MH17 disaster.

On Tuesday night, when Victor was to start his studies again, his classmates will be joined by the Dean of Students and other faculty members on hand to pray and talk.

Victor’s church has been bombarded with media requests in the 24 hours since news emerged that Victor was on the MH17 flight. It’s been overwhelming for pastor Alex, but he says his church will always appreciate the prayers of their Christian brothers and sisters from around the country.

“I believe, as a Christian, that prayer helps a lot, because only God can really encourage and help us, and especially [Victor’s] family, go through this. We’ll appreciate prayers from God’s people, for sure.”

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