Today, I invite all Cooperative Baptists to prayerfully consider making a financial contribution toward a relief fund we have established in response to the crisis in Ukraine following the Russian invasion last week. My hope is that we will tangibly extend our genuine support to the people of Ukraine through the generous sharing of our resources. With any appeal for funds, it is important that you know how those funds will be used.
Twenty years ago this month, our Fellowship commissioned Gennady and Mina Podgaisky to serve in Kyiv. They established Village of Hope a year later, and their ministry has flourished in collaboration not only with our partner congregations but Baptists and other Christians in Ukraine. Our first funding commitment with any contributions received will be to provide relief to those served by Village of Hope and for local partners of that ministry under the leadership of the Podgaiskys and CBF Global Missions.
Beyond that, our generous support will be directed to The Baptist World Alliance Forum for Aid Development (BFAD), the international disaster response work of our partners at the Baptist World Alliance. They are working actively with Baptist leaders in Ukraine and others in that country to identify the most essential use of funds. Because the situation on the ground is changing rapidly, and the crisis is mounting, it is imperative that we give generously and support the work of trusted friends and partners, not only among CBF field personnel, but in the Global Baptist community.
Already 400,000 refugees have fled the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In the days to come, there will be great need to provide care for those refugees. Many, many more remain in the midst of the conflict in Ukraine. We hear stories now of Ukrainian citizens being forced by the Russian military to take up arms against their own government. We know of elderly persons and little children hiding in cold basements and sleeping in bathtubs to try to stay safe and away from the intense fighting.
All of those whose lives have suddenly been turned upside down by this horrific act of war are children of God, made in God’s image. Many are sisters and brothers in Christ and fellow Baptists. Now is a time to pray fervently, give generously, use influence toward the making of peace and stand in solidarity with Ukrainian Baptists and others of good faith and good will.
Our Fellowship is uniquely positioned to respond, not just because of our partnerships in the Baptist World Alliance, but also because of our 20-year investment in ministry alongside the Podgaiskys. In this moment of crisis, you have an opportunity to offer the hope of Christ with your generous giving.