Christians are living out Jesus’ teachings as Ukrainians flee invasion. A movement of love, generosity sweeps Poland as it opens arms to Ukrainians
CHELM, Poland — With little more than the clothes on their back, hundreds of Ukrainian women and children wait hours in line to cross into Poland as part of the largest movement of people in Europe since World War II. They shuffle their feet quietly, even apprehensively, toward an unknown future in an unfamiliar country.
They’re stunned when they arrive. Volunteers have taped Ukrainian flags in their car windows and signs in Ukrainian reading, “free rides to shelter.” The drivers take the refugees to the Baptist church in Chelm, only a few kilometers up the road where people from around the world — Poland, Latvia, England, the United States, to name a few — are offering a place of safety and security for a few hours, few days or as long as they need it.
Families sit in stunned silence in an impromptu reception area where church volunteers tell the refugees the church has free food, drinks, showers, and places to sleep. The congregation even has a set-up children’s area where they can play with bubbles or watch educational videos projected on a screen.
“What we’re seeing is a movement of love and generosity across this nation. Poles are opening their doors and arms to Ukrainians. They are taking them into their churches. They are taking them into their homes. They are feeding them. They are caring for them,” said Marek Glodek, president of the Baptist Union of Poland.
“This is what Jesus calls His believers to do all the time. Polish Christians are taking the teachings of Jesus seriously and living them out each day during this situation.”
More than 60% of the 110 Poland Baptist churches are responding to the needs of Ukrainian refugees, many of them in dramatic and radical ways.
At a warehouse in Chelm, donations for Ukrainians are coming in as fast as they are going out to Ukraine and to shelters across Poland. The deliveries continue even after Russia intensifies attacks on the western portion of Ukraine.
In north Poland, church members installed new insulation, air conditioning, heating, electrical lines and beds in an old summer camp to revitalize it to house refugees.
Near the Belarus border, a church is providing shelter for about 50 people and sending supplies into Ukraine despite increased Russian aggression.
“More than 1.5 million Ukrainians have sought safety in Poland,” said Mickey Lenamon, TBM executive director and CEO. “Baptists worldwide have joined together to meet their needs. TBM is honored to be part of that, whether it is through funding, sorting and loading donations in-country, setting up beds, or even doing the little things that are needed like cleaning floors and toilets. We see what believers throughout the region are doing and are seeking to do likewise: follow Christ daily and share His love.”