GOD AT WORK IN UKRAINE (PART 2)

Christians are living out Jesus’ teachings as Ukrainians flee invasion. A movement of love, generosity sweeps Poland as it opens arms to Ukrainians 

 More than 60% of the 110 Poland Baptist churches are responding to the needs of Ukrainian refugees.

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.”

GOD AT WORK IN THE UKRAINE (PART 1)

Miracles are taking place in Ukraine, despite the horror of war, according to the Deputy General Secretary of the Ukrainian Bible Society. Anatoliy Raychynets, who is based in the capital Kyiv, says more and more people are turning to Christianity to find light in the darkness since the Russian invasion began, and he says the power of God is preventing even worse devastation.

Day by day, women with small kids are running here outside our office in the streets to find the basement bombing room to hide themselves there. Many people are crying out to help them to get out of Kyiv.

Bibles bring comfort in the midst of devastation

“Many people haven’t eaten for 3 or 4 days. There are many elderly people living in apartments around my office who cannot go outside because of illness. They just sit inside waiting for a miracle that someone will come to them. They call us “Angels!” when we find they need medical help and bring medicine and bread.” Despite the risks, Raychynets and his team help distribute food and medical supplies to local people, along with Bibles and resources. He says that many people ask for the Bibles, even if they haven’t previously had a faith. “Yesterday we were in a park to deliver bread to elderly people who were coming together and waiting for us so that they could have fresh bread. I always have Bibles in my car so that children can have Bibles for the bomb shelters and I can distribute to basements where people, ladies and children are hiding themselves. But one lady saw the Bibles in the car and asked to have one.

“There were about 80 or 90 people there and they just came to the car and asked for the Bibles.  One man stood there with bread in one hand and the Bible in the other. He said ‘I think the Bible is more important than the bread. I have never prayed before. I have never been to church.’ He was about 70 years old and had never read the Bible. But he said he knew now was the time to come to God and be closer to God. “We meet so many people like that. Over the last two weeks here in Kyiv we are seeing people who had never had a Bible before, never prayed before, but who are now asking for us to pray for them on the streets, at homes, everywhere. “People are searching for their faith because they know a miracle has to happen to resolve this situation. We don’t see any diplomatic or other solutions, we just know and understand deep inside only God can make some changes and stop this horrible war.”

But even in the amidst of the horrors of war, Raychynets says God is at work and miracles are happening. “We are very grateful to all of you who are standing with us in prayer and solidarity. I want to tell you that with prayer we see so many miracles. I have seen personally many miracles over the last 16 days – when bombs or rockets have fallen but not exploded and lots of lives have been saved because of that. Russian tanks have been left because they were empty of fuel and soldiers have run off. “In Odessa, in the Black Sea, there has been a storm for four days and ships couldn’t come closer to the city to shoot rockets. So prayers are already bringing results and miracles are saving a lot of lives.” Even as a Pastor, Raychynets says it is difficult to see so much pain and suffering.

This difficult situation is already changing our nation and changing our attitude to life. People are standing together, people are helping each other. I see so much of God’s love, in spite of war here. I think that Ukraine will come out of this situation like a real Christian nation that believes in God. It’s very evident that God does use catastrophes for His purposes and sadly they are needed to bring people to understand what is truly important in life. God is in control of His world and only His eternal purposes are of real significance.