We looked on in horror as the might of the Russian army rolled into a sovereign nation only two weeks ago; as gunfire rang out and bombs dropped in cities like Kyiv, Sumy and Mariupol.
We felt powerless as Ukrainians threw themselves under armoured cars and tanks; as ordinary people started to take up arms to defend their country. One soldier, Vitaly Skakun, sacrificed his life to slow the advance of the Russian military. And who hasn’t heard of the crazy brave Snake Island 13 who told a warship to go f**k itself?
Our hearts broke as mothers fled with their young children with nothing but what they were wearing, leaving husbands and fathers behind to fight. And we were outraged to hear of the blatant racism African and Indian migrants faced at the border as they too were trying to flee.
And yet into this horror, come stories of care and hope. Of people from across the world donating funds, protesting, mobilising to offer practical support.
One such charity is Barnabas Fund International. The organisation is now looking to mobilise Christians to volunteer, pray and give. Their recent video appeal is below. Please watch it.
Where most big charities are appealing for funds, these guys are asking for goods as well.
“It’s because with the sudden influx of people into border countries, churches in these areas are finding food scarce as well as increasingly expensive,” says Hendrik Storm, Barnabas Fund International CEO.
“As you’ll see in the appeal video, one church pastor has specifically requested food and warm clothing as they try to support people who are coming through their doors in need of help.”
They need coats and warm blankets. They need food that can be easily opened. They need a place to rest.
“We’ve been working with a Christian lorry company who have volunteered their staff and time to drive to areas of high need,” Mr Storm explains.
“We’re also actively exploring ways to get help into Ukraine. But it’s a complex, ever-changing environment with many convoys often targeted by the Russian military. But every day the conflict continues, the situation inside Ukraine gets worse and worse.”
One pastor in Poland has been looking after a church for only three or four months before the fighting broke out in Ukraine and people started running. It’s common for churches like his to see 30 to 40 refugee families coming through the doors requiring help. They are hungry and cold with many having stood in queues up to 20 kilometres long.
Across the borders of Moldova, Romania and Poland, Mr Storm informs me that churches are taking out their pews and turning their halls into make-shift refugee shelters. Bunks have been put in and trauma counselling has started in some churches.
“I have been encouraged by the response, with many people opening up churches and even their own homes to support others. In some cases, members of the congregation have taken annual leave from work to help,” says Mr Storm.
“For Christians, this care is fundamental to who we are. We at Barnabas Fund are firm believers of what the apostle Paul said in Galatians 6:10. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
“The generosity the church exhibits to others shows Jesus’ love for us.”
If we are the praying kind, Mr Storm says these church pastors caring for Ukrainian refugees would be grateful for our prayers.
“They are thankful for financial and practical support, but they are especially encouraged when they hear brothers and sisters in Christ around the world are praying and interceding for them.”
Please pray for:
- Ukrainians as they cope with the situation unfolding in their homeland
- Wisdom and guidance as church leaders navigate these circumstances
- Energy for people on the ground as they look to care for their neighbours who have fled their home
- Peace to reign
And if you would like to support Barnabas Fund International with funds or donated goods (especially if you’re in the UK) visit: www.barnabasfund.org