As the situation on the ground in Ukraine continues to change rapidly, Cooperative Baptists and CBF partner churches have responded with compassion and love through prayer and gifts to CBF’s Ukraine Relief Fund.
Even as you have begun giving generously, several of our field personnel in Europe are already responding with grace, sacrifice and compassion to show hospitality to refugees fleeing the violence in Ukraine. The primary funding commitment for our Ukraine Relief Fund is to support CBF field personnel serving in the region, including Gennady and Mina Podgaisky, who have served in Kyiv, Ukraine, for 20 years.
The long-term presence of the Podgaiskys, as well as that of additional field personnel in the region are making an impact on the lives of Ukrainians fleeing the violence in their home country as they seek safety, protection and assistance in neighboring countries. The United Nations estimates that nearly 900,000 refugees have fled Ukraine since the invasion last week.
From the U.S., where they are on off-field assignment, the Podgaiskys remain in constant contact with pastors and others with whom they minister in Ukraine, conducting grief counseling, leading prayers, serving as resources for connection as some Ukrainians move within their own country to safe locations and as others seek to flee the country. They are helping to financially support travel needs for those that are fleeing and working to send needed financial support to ministry partners within Ukraine.
Assisting with Ukrainian refugees, Dianne and Shane McNary in Poprad, Slovakia, have prepared a place to be used as a stop-over by those moving into and through Slovakia. The McNarys are also working with local partners to house Ukrainian refugees in Važec, providing children’s activities for the refugee families there. CBF field personnel Mary Van Rheenen, through partners in Moldova, is also working to support Ukrainian refugees. And in Romania, Project Ruth, a CBF Legacy Partner, is expecting to house 23 refugees today and can accommodate up to 50 people in space it has prepared. We expect as the crisis continues more of our field personnel in Europe will be responding and that the needs will only grow.
Through partnership with organizations like the Baptist World Alliance and through the long-term presence of our gifted and called field personnel, and the relationships they have established not only with our congregations but with local partners, our Fellowship is uniquely positioned to be the hands and feet of Christ in this crisis.
In this moment, you have an opportunity to offer the hope of Christ with your generous giving. You can make safe shelter and dignified care possible for our Ukrainian sisters and brothers fleeing from violence. Please join your fellow Cooperative Baptists and CBF partner churches in support of this vital effort.