As we have watched the heart-wrenching situation in Ukraine and Eastern Europe unfold over the last week, we have been overwhelmed by the images streaming at us. For those living these events, the hours creep by as their lives change forever.
So much has happened in five days in Eastern Europe. Five days ago, people were living normal lives in cities and villages throughout the region. Now many have fled from their homeland carrying essentials and little else. Fleeing beyond their borders, though not far geographically, they are worlds away from the lives they lived just last week.
“Our hearts are stirred to pray for the people of Ukraine.” U.S. Assemblies of God General Superintendent Doug Clay says, “As in Isaiah 61:3, may God provide those suffering in this tragedy beauty for ashes, joy for mourning, and praise for heaviness. I’m grateful that our AG family always responds with generosity to make a quick and lasting impact for those in global crises.”
In Ukraine, partner churches are housing and feeding hundreds in their buildings and basements. A Bible school with historic links to AG World Missions (AGWM) is feeding hundreds of people each day as supplies last. Hundreds are sleeping in the building. “The needs are tremendous. The opportunities are unprecedented here to touch the community in practical ways through the church,” says the AGWM missionary working with the school.
A steady stream of refugees continues to pour into the countries around Ukraine — the UN Refugee Agency estimates around 368,000 have by this time arrived in Poland, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and Czechoslovakia. On the ground, workers say many of the first to arrive had connections and people waiting to help them. Those pouring into these countries now have nowhere to go and no one to care for them. They each have basic living needs, and we can provide them hope.
This is the first wave of a coming refugee crisis. Reports say the lines of cars at some borders have been 6 miles long. The UN Refugee Agency estimates that the numbers could swell to 4 million refugees.
AGWM Executive Director Greg Mundis says, “Among the millions suffering in Ukraine are thousands of our spiritual brothers and sisters! Our worldwide missionary fellowship affords us both the opportunity and responsibility to pray and give — to do all we can to help them. Our missionary family and national churches provide the ‘long reach’ that connects caring hearts in the US with the desperately needy people of Ukraine.”
Greg Mundis and Paul Trementozzi, Europe regional director, have been in communication with church leaders in Poland. AGWM is the working through well-established partnerships among Polish Pentecostal churches that begun ministry among Ukrainian refugees. These churches are well organized and determined to provide continued aid.
In Romania, the first refugees arrived over the weekend at a Pentecostal church in Cluj. There are hundreds of Romanian churches ready to help the thousands of displaced Ukrainians who will continue to arrive in Romania. Right now, emotions are high, and people are volunteering to help. But we must work closely with these churches to prepare them to minister over the long haul.
AGWM Area Director for Central Europe Kirk Priest says, “We have AGWM units already helping refugees or ready to help in Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania.”
Click here to support AGWM in providing tangible ministry to Ukrainian refugees in Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Czechoslovakia. Donations will also assist the national Church in Ukraine to minister to internally displaced peoples.