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Ukrainian Relief Update

In March 2022, AMT equipped $25,000 from our Overseas Disaster Fund in order to provide practical relief to Ukrainians amidst the ongoing war crisis. These funds were primarily directed to GLO Romania's Bucovina relief team, who, along with several other organisations, were and still are assisting Ukrainian refugees. In addition, AMT appealed to our donors to consider supporting this cause. We received an overwhelming response of financial blessing.

While needs are still ongoing, as a small token of our thanks we have compiled some news from Christian organisations actively providing relief to Ukrainians. Up-to-date news can be found on each organisation’s respective websites or social medial platforms. Please continue to uphold them in your prayers.

Our faithful co-worker, Graeme Erb (DPG 22), has known the brethren serving with GLO Romania since 1992, when he served among them. Keith and Bronwen Cruickshank (DPG 28) have also served among them in more recent years. Following is an update from one of the GLO team, March 15th:

We appreciate everyone’s prayers and concern for us and the situation with the Ukrainian refugees. We still have no refugees at the GLO centre, but continue to be in contact with Cornel, who is directly involved in taking humanitarian aid into Ukraine. Currently, most refugees have been accommodated in areas closer to the borders. There are many organizations, churches and individuals helping out, which is wonderful. However, when the first refugees move on to their relatives in Europe, another wave of refugees will enter Romania. Our own church in Sibiu is involved in helping refugees transit Romania to other countries by taking them to the airport or driving them to Poland or Germany.

We had about 10 Ukrainians in our church yesterday, some Christians. Several knew English, so we were able to speak to them. They were on their way to Germany. The spirit of panic and fear is beginning to creep in and control many hearts and minds even in Romania. More and more people talk about getting ready to leave the country, so prayer is much needed and very effective! CEF Europe wants to print 5 million You Wonder Why tracts, and prepare 100,000 evangelistic backpacks. Many children and adults from Chisinau centres of refuge and places near the Romanian border hear the Gospel.

Update from Echoes International, March 25th:

We would like to say thank you to all who have sent funds already. Our desire is to directly help assemblies in the impacted countries and allow them to organise the aid which best suits their circumstances. We are now arranging to send gifts to the following areas:

  • Kairos Agency, Romania – Kairos are the assembly Mission Service Group in Romania. Their mission school was turned overnight into a refugee hub and travel agency. They had up to 30 volunteers helping with transport from the border, in the kitchen, and coordinating buses to other countries (typically Poland, Belgium, Germany). They also helped those planning to stay in Romania. At first, most Ukrainians were looking to travel onwards, but increasing numbers are now looking to stay. At one stage, they were receiving 200 refugees per day. The centre now has CEF materials and New Testaments in Ukrainian. They pass these to refugees who are travelling on. Kairos are aware that they entered the crisis at a sprint, but are now in a marathon. They are trying to find an approach that can be sustained in the longer-term.
  • Romania Brethren Union – Warehouses have been rented to collect aid from within Romania and beyond. The needs are mostly food, medicine, baby items (food, nappies), disinfectant, soap and shampoo. Clothes are not required at present. Aid is also coming from other countries and Kairos received a container from Italy recently.
  • Moldova - The situation in Moldova is similar to Romania. The borders with Ukraine are very busy. All the evangelical churches have worked together to help refugees at the borders. They provide food, tea, coffee and literature. Previously, people have been coming in to Moldova and travelling onwards, but now more are staying. Some have arrived with the intention of heading to Romania but have chosen to stay to help with other Ukrainians coming through. They can support with translation, etc.
  • Christian Medical Association -  This group have strong ties to the UK and are operating from Liviv in Ukraine. Philadelphia Trust have an active route into the country for funds. We are sending a gift through Philadelphia Trust to help with their supplies.

Update from Trans World Radio, March 28th:

A little-told story amid the tragic war in Ukraine is about how God is at work there. At TWR, through our partners and contacts in the region, we see only the tip of the iceberg. But what we see includes evidence of how the hearts and minds of people afflicted by the war are being moved spiritually. For example:

  • The director for Women of Hope in Ukraine, whom we’re calling “Svitlana”, has relocated to Central Europe. But she remains in contact with various Ukrainian women. She shared that most of these women had little interest in the things of God in the past, but now many of them are constantly contacting her with all sorts of spiritual questions.
  • Some members of the TWR team in Ukraine have been helping to evacuate women, children and handicapped people. They say that some of their passengers are in a panic, while others pray silently. The drivers are able to pray, sing and talk about God with the passengers. “There is certainly a great deal of openness to the gospel message,” reports Frank Stephenson, TWR Europe communications director.

Your prayers and your financial gifts to the Ukraine-Russia Crisis Fund are so meaningful at such a time as this. Stephenson shares that the fund is being used to provide food and other daily necessities for our scattered team in Ukraine. It’s also being used to keep content continuously produced and on the air. TWR still broadcasts into the region from transmitters located outside of the country. “Svitlana” is providing some of the voicing for those programs, in both Ukrainian and Russian.

Will you pray with us?

  • Praise God that all on the TWR Ukraine team are still alive. Most are still in Ukraine, and they are in areas that are coming under increasing attacks, so please continue to pray for protection and strength during this stressful time. Ask that God would give them the peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7), and that they would be able to convey that peace to their listeners.
  • Please intercede for TWR’s ministry contact in Russia, who faces important ministry-related travels in a time when travel restrictions to certain countries keep changing.
  • Pray that evacuations would be able to continue. Media reports indicate that Ukraine halted evacuations today, March 28th, because of a belief the routes would be unsafe. Pray that team members, when they are able to minister in this way, would continue being a positive witness to their passengers. Pray for protection as they bring these refugees to safe places.
  • Lift up “Svitlana.” While serving out of Central Europe, she’s also struggling with the fact that her husband, brother and father are still in Ukraine.

Update from OM Ukraine field leader, Wayne Zschech, March 31st:

I’m currently in western Ukraine. We just purchased another van so that we can do humanitarian aid shipments. Our goal is to acquire aid in western Ukraine, so we can ship it to pastors and ministries in central and eastern Ukraine. As you know, there are a lot of people that are really suffering, so our goal is to empower pastors and ministries to be the hands and feet of Jesus where they are. That’s where the emphasis is at the moment. There are still people moving westwards, and we continue to supply them with accommodation and a way out, but now the emphasis is on getting help to people as they need it, while they need it, and hopefully not be too late. We ask for wisdom during this time. We are looking for more vehicles, and it’s good that aid is finally starting to come through. The beautiful thing about Christians is that we’re highly flexible, manoeuvrable and spontaneous, and that allows us to do things very actively, and that’s what’s needed right now. It’s an amazing thing to see how many people are doing what across all these connections that we have, so thank you for your prayers. The body of Christ is shining at this time.

Bryson Thomas (Director, ECS Ministries Aust.) has been in contact with the Emmaus director in Poland, who has kindly provided a more specific outline of the needs and opportunities, April 4th:

Since February 24th until April 1st, almost 2.5 million Ukrainians have crossed the Ukrainian-Polish border. Some of them have moved on to other countries, but most of them have found shelter in Poland. God gave us, the Church of Christ, a unique privilege in helping our Ukrainian friends.

Our motivation for helping Ukrainians is the love of God: “And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me’” (Matthew 25:40). Almost all of the 41 assemblies that exist in Poland are helping directly or indirectly. Those assemblies which possess buildings are accepting refugees. Many believers also open their homes for them.

From the very beginning of the war, we saw at least five areas of help that we are able to offer:

  1. Transportation of the refugees from the eight Polish/Ukrainian border crossings. At least eight assemblies are involved in this work directly and all of them indirectly.
  2. Welcoming the Ukrainian refugees in assembly halls and believers’ homes. Almost all of the assemblies take part this ministry. Some give shelter for a short time (1-2 days), others for as long as it is needed. Many of the refugees prefer to stay in Poland, usually for two reasons: Poland is close to their homeland, and Ukrainian and Polish languages are similar to each other. The Polish government does everything possible to make the life of the Ukrainians possible. Children can start school right away. After a few weeks, they are able to communicate in Polish. Believers and assemblies not only offer Ukrainians a shelter, but also food, clothes, and time.
  3. Helping those Ukrainians who have the possibility to go to other countries. Some of them go to Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, France, and other countries. Polish believers and assemblies provide food and fuel. In some cases, the refugees need help to get passports, because some of them do not have documents.
  4. We understand the Ukrainians need spiritual food. This is why we have decided to print the Gospel of John, the Emmaus course God’s Word, and the leaflet Why does God allow war? in the Ukrainian language. We plan to print more Emmaus courses in the Ukrainian language in the coming days. Thousands of Ukrainians that have flooded to Poland are open to the Gospel witness as never before. As the government and humanitarian organizations fulfil their role, we as believers and assemblies concentrate on spiritual influence, but without forgetting the material needs. The first three runs of the evangelistic literature have been distributed through all of our assemblies plus other churches in Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, and Moldova. Our plan is to print more and more evangelistic literature in the Ukrainian language, not only for the Ukrainians residing in Poland but also for those living in other European countries.
  5. We invite Ukrainians to our meetings and organize special Ukrainian meetings for them. They need not only literature but first of all our time and counselling. Many of our people invite them for a meal, or their children to play with Polish children. After one or two days, children understand each other quite well. We also organize special prayer meetings together and make it possible for them to contact their dear ones remaining in the Ukraine (husbands and fathers).

We keep praying that God will use us among those dear people. We also appreciate any help coming from outside of Poland. The number of refugees is growing every day. It is a great mission field and we feel privileged to serve those needy people. Thank you so much for being willing to partner with us!



 

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