Ukraine--What Can I Do?
Updated: Mar 8, 2022
If you're like me, you've been shocked and saddened by the situation in Ukraine, particularly by all of the refugees who have been displaced and are fleeing, without knowing where their shelter or food will be coming from. In particular, this situation has touched me in a way that many other world events don't as it is some of my best friends in the world on the ground helping serve these people. The team at ELS Ministries Cluj, in partnership with YWAM Romania are working to feed and house refugees. Care for orphans, widows, and the needy is a central part of being a Christ-follower, and so when their neighboring country was invaded, this team immediately pivoted their entire ministry to refugee care. I've been so grateful that so many of you have asked how you can help, so I thought I would put together this brief outline of what they are
doing currently to care for everyone in need in their area.
There is a transportation ministry, bringing refugees from the border crossing to the city of Cluj where they can be better resourced. They are serving the crossings at Siret and Sighetu-Marmatiei (named for the Romanian town on their side)
They are serving some refugees who need to stop over as they transit through to somewhere else. One example is African students in Kyiv on student visas; other examples are those with family in Italy who hope to stay there longer term.
They are serving some refugees who plan to stay for a month or so
They are serving some refugees who might have to stay longer than a month. Of course these situations are still developing as the situation constantly changes.
They are also providing meals and food to a wider range than they can house. Those service levels include:
They received a donation of 10 flats for use by refugees (praise the Lord!)
They have leased a property for 3 months for use by refugees
They are coordinating individuals who are opening their homes to the refugees
They are serving lunch to refugees, centering in the Baciu Baptist Church
There is also a level of spiritual outreach going on:
There is a burgeoning prayer meeting in Ukrainian, currently planned in the Baciu church
The hope is to transition this prayer meeting to a full church service
The gospel is shared in the context of the transport/meal/housing services but never as a condition of receiving the services
The team has put together a working budget for the next phases of ministry, including some prayer needs.
They would like to add 5+ more staff working on this full time. The main obstacle would be retaining housing options for them to make this possible.
They needs to find more housing spaces for refugees generally. This will likely be a significant financial commitment.
Our team is praying for more Ukrainian speakers, ideally someone who can help lead the prayer meetings or translate for sermons, if not preach themselves. Translation is a problem!
The team needs to get a better space for the daily distribution of food. Ideally, this would pivot to a community center, where people can meet for relationship, Bible study, and connection. This would need a facility AND materials, like outfitting the kitchen, tables/chairs, etc.
Some blocks to this implementation are financial (as everything will be a big commitment!) Other blocks are personnel (praying for more staff). Other blocks are translation. Other blocks are supply/chain logistical (not any more mattresses in the stores; not enough flats to put refugees into).
The team is thinking and praying about this, but the immediate needs are so pressing that it’s hard to forecast beyond 90 days and especially as so many financial and logistical items are still unknown. He is very grateful for the support so far...praise the Lord for all He is doing to bring healing in the midst of this tragedy!
If you're interested in helping resource this or just would like to learn more, you can visit 3Crosses.org/ukraine to either give or stay updated. In the meantime, it would bless me if you would pray Isaiah 2:3-5 in the midst of this tragedy. May everyone turn their implements of war into implements of blessing and may they never learn war anymore!