Ukraine 2022

Update from CBF’s Ukraine Response Efforts – March 29

By Aaron Weaver

Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel are working to provide relief to Ukrainians. As of March 24, nearly 975 Cooperative Baptist individuals, churches, partners and state and regional organizations have given more than $400,000 to CBF’s Ukraine Relief Fund in the month since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. And those gifts are already making an impact in Ukraine and across Europe as CBF field personnel and ministry partners in the region help provide safety, shelter and Christ’s love to more than 3.7 million refugees.

These gifts and others that continue to be given will be used to provide relief to those served by CBF field personnel and ministry partners. Learn more about how some of these funds have been distributed here.

Below are several updates from the week of March 29 from CBF field personnel and partners:

Gennady and Mina Podgaisky — Kyiv, Ukraine (currently in North Carolina)

The Podgaiskys continue to work with their networks to provide friends and neighbors with evacuation information and connecting Ukrainians to resources in the country such as transportation, relocation to safety, shelters and contact information for medical advice and the location of food/shelter.

They are also sending funds contributed by Cooperative Baptists through the CBF Ukraine Relief Fund to trusted ministry partners and individuals in Kyiv, Romania and Spain to provide humanitarian relief. Gennady and Mina are counselors and have been providing around-the-clock emotional support to ministry partners, church council, church members, Bible study members, and other friends and neighbors. Below are several recent updates from the Podgaiskys.

  • “In this past week we continued counseling people in Ukraine as well as several Ukrainians who reached Italy, France, Spain, and Poland. Now, since they are in safety, their biggest concern is for the wellbeing of their male members of the family who stayed behind, and what they will be doing in the foreign countries: just waiting for the war to end in order to return back to Ukraine, staying in that country and settling down, learning language and culture, finding jobs, putting children to school, moving to other places, etc.”
  • Communicated via social media with people in Ukraine, and Ukrainian refugees in Poland, Slovakia, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Romania and the United States
  • Sent funds for refugee families in Ukraine, Italy, Slovakia and the Netherlands
  • Called pastors and ministry partners in Ukraine in regards to possible long-term and immediate relief ministry projects
  • Participated in our Kyiv church’s council to discuss ways the church should operate in wartime and how the church can help its members. 90 percent of our church members have left Kyiv and are dispersed in Ukraine and abroad. The buildings of The Ukrainian Evangelical Theological Seminary, where our church has been meeting, were shelled and have substantial damage
  • Met with several possible and present ministry partners and shared about our ministries and the situation in Ukraine
  • Spoke to churches in North Carolina and Tennessee and gave a newspaper interview

Mary van Rheenen — Romany Ministries in Europe

Mary van Rheenen, who serves in The Netherlands alongside her husband Keith Holmes, has strong partnerships with Christians in Moldova, which borders Ukraine. Mary reported that she has sent contributions form the CBF Ukraine Relief Fund to support partners across Moldova, who are providing emergency assistance to Ukrainians.

Read this new feature story on Mary and her ministry: “In Living Memory: Netherlands-based CBF field personnel helps meet needs of Ukrainian refugees”

  • There are 230 refugees on cruise boats in Arnhem (Rhine River cruises). Our Dutch church is reaching out to them, establishing relationships, offering rides to worship services, and working towards providing translation of worship services.
  • From a Moldovan pastor who Mary is assisting: “Dear Mary, This week we took food to a ‘Metanoia’ church in Chisinau, which collects products to transport to Ukraine. Four Baptist churches in Kyiv were connected, and the brothers from Kyiv come to a safe place in Ukraine, established in advance and there they load from one transport to another. It is distributed there as needed. The value of the products of a single truck is about 3000 euro. So far, the Metanoia Church in Chisinau has distributed 20 such transports with the help of some churches.”

Shane and Dianne McNary — Poprad, Slovakia

Slovakia has reported almost 250,000 refugees have arrived in Slovakia as of March 22. Below are ministry updates from CBF field personnel Shane McNary:

  • Toured a building with Roma pastor Marek and [CBF field personnel] Eddie Aldape suggested as appropriate for warehouse and other issues. While the space is wonderful, the cost is more than I had offered. Thanks be to God that within three days, the money was gathered from local churches and individuals, and the building was bought. Contract signed on March 25.
  • Stayed in contact with Slovak Baptists and Roma churches, and helped connect resources and needs. Slovak Baptists are preparing a large humanitarian aid to be sent to Baptists in Eastern Ukraine. Refugee funds were sent to three Slovak Baptist churches since Monday and all funds will meet needs not covered by other aid. This includes utilities for four refugee families in Presov; aid for a smaller congregation in south-central Slovakia with multiple families.
  • Reached out to a local congregation that focuses on newcomers living in Slovakia. Interest on my part is providing for the psychological needs of refugees who decide to stay in Slovakia without forcing integration into Slovak Baptist churches.
  • Visited with Eddie and Roma pastor Marek at church in Pavlovce and Uhom

Eddie Aldape — Albacete, Spain (temporarily Slovakia)

Eddie Aldape serves alongside his wife, Macarena, has a CBF field personnel in Albacete, Spain. He left March 15 to travel to Slovakia to assist Shane McNary in the relief efforts. Following a week in Slovakia, Eddie provided this update:

Transported people to the border who needed to return to Ukraine. One family returned as soon as they found out that the husband had been killed. The men had stayed behind to protect their property from looters. The women and children decided to return and mourn the loss with family members. 

Others had to return in order to obtain documents required for traveling to their final destination. One married couple required a legal document for travel because the bride is a minor. They also wanted to take the opportunity to take food and other supplies to church members that remain in Ukraine. This particular group of 29 people come from a Roma church. The lead pastor remains in Ukraine assisting those that are able to leave. He sent his wife and daughters, son in laws, other pastors and deacons, to go with their families into Europe for safety. They have been returning to Ukraine as many times as possible to return items they were carrying with them because they will be limited on the amount of them, so they are returning excess things. They are also taking supplies back for those that remain.

Made several trips to the border to receive families and individuals and transport them to different locations where they will rest, regroup, and decide where they will go next. 

We also spent time cleaning one of the first locations where refugees were hosted the first couple of weeks. The church building was used and most things needed to be clean. We also painted the inside of the building and repaired some of the cracks on the walls.

We also organized the donations that have been received till now. We helped categorize them and organized them for easier access. Some items were distributed to those passing by and to Ukrainian churches known to the local pastors. We organized them as well as we could, but due to the limited space, it is difficult to maintain things in order. 

Returned to Poprad and met up with Shane to exchange a rented vehicle which required some repairs. Took the opportunity to acquire a local SIM to be used for mobile data. The roaming data which I had available on my Spanish mobile company was used up as the free WiFi offered at the hotel was rarely available, I used my mobile as a hotspot to help others to have internet access. Also took advantage of Shane’s offer to use their washer for laundry.

Attended 3-4 home groups and transported 5 people to these gatherings. the days that I was not able to attend, was because I was at one of the borders taking items and picking up someone.

Days are long and kind of run together so I do not remember exactly what day it was that we went to look at a possible location for the distribution center, which by the things mentioned above with the donated items, would be ideal to maintain an organized method for collecting and distributing the items.

Continue to struggle with internet connectivity and trying to post updates to our ministry Facebook page and sending updates to those that are supporting our non-funded Ukraine relief efforts, which will continue as funding is acquired.”  

Alicia and Jeff Lee — Skopje, North Macedonia

Alicia and Jeff Lee reported that Macedonia recently began receiving refugees from Ukraine. Below is an update from the Lees:

Macedonia began receiving refugees from Ukraine over the weekend. The number is around 50. The Food Bank of Macedonia is responding by providing food for those in need. We are getting a list of needs from the families. Most of the families have come without the father because, as you all know, the men have to stay. The families are staying in flats and apartments set up by the municipality. We do not know if the number will increase. We are working with a Catholic refugee ministry to provide other needs that are requested.

Project Ruth — Bucharest, Romania (CBF Legacy Partner)

In Romania, the CBF Ukraine Relief Fund has allocated $25,000 to support Project Ruth, a CBF Legacy Partner ministry, led by Executive Director Mihai Ciopasiu, which offers education, medical care, pastor training and church starting in Romania. Project Ruth has now become a refugee center for Ukrainians, and in the first month since the Russian invasion, Project Ruth has welcomed nearly 100 refugees into their center. The CBF relief funds will assist in set up for housing refugees with the purchase of needed appliances for the housing center including washing machines, refrigerators and stoves. These relief funds will contribute to Project Ruth’s budget for numerous expenses including food, utilities, medical care, fuel and more.

For more information on the ministry of Project Ruth, see this new story from CBF Communications: Being the hands and feet of Christ: Project Ruth provides aid to Ukrainian refugees

Please give generously to the Ukraine Relief Fund at

Additional Reading:

  • Ukraine Update — March 22 here.
  • Ukraine Update — March 15 here.
  • Ukraine Update — March 8 here.

4 thoughts on “Update from CBF’s Ukraine Response Efforts – March 29

  1. Pingback: Update from CBF’s Ukraine Response Efforts – April 5 | CBFblog

  2. Pingback: Update from CBF’s Ukraine Response Efforts – April 12 | CBFblog

  3. Pingback: Update from CBF’s Ukraine Response Efforts – April 26 | CBFblog

  4. Pingback: Update from CBF’s Ukraine Response Efforts – May 24 | CBFblog

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