Newsroom / Ukraine 2022

Update from CBF’s Ukraine Response Efforts – April 26

By Aaron Weaver

Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel are working to provide relief to Ukrainians. More than 1,000 Cooperative Baptist individuals, churches, partners and state/regional organizations have contributed to CBF’s Ukraine Relief Fund.

These gifts exceeding $700,000 are making an impact in Ukraine and across Europe as CBF field personnel and ministry partners help provide safety, shelter and Christ’s love to refugees. Learn more about how some of these funds have been distributed here.

Below are several updates from the week of April 12 from CBF field personnel:

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, 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:

  • Mina had a virtual meeting hosted by CBF’s Elket Rodriguez with ten Mexican pastors and church members, providing an introduction to Ukrainian culture and shared signs of war trauma and ways they could better welcome the 500 expected refugees that will come to their area in Monterrey.
  • Counseling with people in Ukraine
  • Worked to find a scholarship for a Ukrainian family with a college-age student
  • Video calls with Ukrainians
  • Worked on logistics to meet/visit with two more Ukrainian refugees this week
  • Met with Outback Ukraine Leadership Team, which included 17 people in six different countries
  • Visited a Ukrainian refugee family with three children in Turin, Italy. Spent two days with them debriefing, sharing memories, helping them process, delivering some needed items. This family stayed for nine days in the unfinished basement of their house under constant bombardment. This is the family that had 23 people with them.
  • Continued answering numerous emails and messages with many questions regarding Ukraine refugees, new Ukrainian refugee immigration policies, church and individual offers to help with needs and scheduling speaking engagements in the U.S.
  • Gennady attempted 25 times to send money to Ukrainians in Ukraine, abroad and those helping with humanitarian needs. Finally, 10 transfers went through.
  • We dispersed cash money for the purpose of purchasing a van through a team member (during European team meeting in Spain).
  • Had virtual meeting with pastors of CBF Georgia churches, gave update on the situation in Ukraine and talked about future involvement/partnership with us and the people of Ukraine. They have houses ready to host some refugees from Ukraine.
  • Had several calls and many messages to help organize with logistics to help a Ukrainian family that went to Mexico pass through the Matamoros border with the help of Jorge Zapata and another Mexican pastor from the border. They met the young family (husband, wife, little boy) at the airport, drove them to the border, helped them with the paperwork and babysitting, and once in the States, took them to the hotel. They are now in the Atlanta area.

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 continues to send contributions from the CBF Ukraine Relief Fund to support partners across Moldova, who are providing front-line emergency assistance to Ukrainians.

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

Shane and Dianne McNary — Poprad, Slovakia

Below is an update from the McNarys regarding their ministry work over the past two weeks:

This past week, I participated in a group call with the network of Roma pastors and missionaries. The building is coming along well. They have hired three guys who have cleaned it up in just a couple of days. The mostly-cosmetic renovations to make it a place for refugees to stay for short term beginning this week.

Followed up with Marek, the local Roma pastor, about several items. I wanted to clarify some issues of funding – several of the missionaries are now extra supportive of the building so it looks as if I will not need to invest any more beyond what I have already promised (to buy a hand-operated pallet mover). The group is organizing another food delivery to three churches in Uzhhorod with about 200 IDPs between them. The IDPs are staying with church members or in one of the church buildings.

Sent 1,000 euros to Slovak Baptist Union to help them fill a semi-truck which is being sent to Baptist churches in central Ukraine for distribution further east. 

Have reached final edits on a letter from European Baptist Federation (General Secretary, President, and VP should sign on eventually) to the EU and member states’ Ministers of Foreign Affairs on the long-term findings of EBF and Baptist World Alliance on human rights issues in occupied territories of eastern Ukraine, including Crimea. The letter will contribute to the conversation of UA ascension into the EU where the topic of human rights is both the first and continuing topic of ascension discussions.

Eddie Aldape — Albacete, Spain (previously Slovakia)

Eddie Aldape serves alongside his wife, Macarena, as a CBF field personnel in Albacete, Spain. He recently spent a month in Slovakia providing emergency relief to refugees. Here are a few brief updates from Eddie:

  • Purchased food for family members in Ukraine
  • Purchaed fuel, food and labor to shift a family of five from Albacete to Seville
  • Porvided train and bus fare and food for family of three

Read more about Eddie’s ministry here: “CBF’s Eddie Aldape works long days to move Ukrainian refugees through Slovakia.”

Please give generously to the Ukraine Relief Fund at

Additional Reading:

  • Ukraine Update — April 26 here.
  • Ukraine Update — April 5 here.
  • Ukraine Update — March 29 here.
  • Ukraine Update — March 22 here.
  • Ukraine Update — March 15 here.
  • Ukraine Update — March 8 here.

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