By Aaron Weaver
Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel are working to provide relief to Ukrainians. More than 1200 Cooperative Baptist individuals, churches, partners and state/regional organizations have contributed to CBF’s Ukraine Relief Fund.
These gifts exceeding $800,000 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 May 24 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:
- Zoom meeting with FBC Rome, Ga. Missions committee
- Mina shared at Churchland Baptist Church in Chesapeake, Va.
- Counseled people in Ukraine
- Spent time researching and sending several e-mails/messages to try to find two sponsors for Ukrainian families coming to the States. Talked to the families several times and to the pastor helping connect with some sponsors from several churches.
- Held Zoom team meeting with Outback Ukraine Leadership Team. Present were 12 people in different countries who joined the call.
- Led break-out session at the CBF Florida Spring meeting in Orlando, and shared during the General Session
- Spoke at Church on the Drive, Orlando, Fla.
- Continued answering numerous e-mails and messages with many questions in regards with Ukraine refugees, new Ukrainian refugee immigration policies, church and individual offers to help with Ukrainian needs and scheduling speaking engagements in the U.S.
- Continued conversations with ministry partners in Ukraine
- Continued sending funds to individuals, families and ministry partners doing humanitarian work in Ukraine
- A second van in Ukraine has been purchased and fix — it is now being used for bringing humanitarian aid and with ministry to disable people
- Visited with a Ukrainian family/refugee that we helped find a house in Sarasota, Fla.
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.
Below is an update from Mary regarding a partner in Moldova, Pastor Petru:
On May 10 Petru Ciochina visited a refugee center in Chisinau where only Roma are housed. He wrote, “It is the only center in Moldova that has captured Roma men. Inside there were three police officers who were watching the order. (Only in the Roma, this)”
I take this to mean that of all the centers Petru has visited, only the Roma one has a police presence. It was not clear whether Petru thought this was necessary . . . or a result of general prejudice against Roma.
Petru took supplies that the center was not providing. He noted that there were 200 adults and 90 children there. He met a lawyer, a Roma Christian woman from Moldova who is advocating for these refugees. They are going to work together.
Petru verified that this is the same lawyer mentioned in the Christianity Today article (which also quoted Shane; see excerpt below about Moldova). She is related to the wife of one of the strong believers from the Roma church that Petru pastors.
I continue to assist in translation for Ukrainian refugees in our Dutch church. Our own town (Westervoort) is considering housing refugees in the town hall. We would not be the first Dutch town to do this.
Read this recent feature story on Mary and her ministry: “In Living Memory: Netherlands-based CBF field personnel helps meet needs of Ukrainian refugees”
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, who has returned to Spain:
- Continue reaching out to Ukrainian families in Albacete for weekly prayer, support and updates
- Assisted a mother and son with funds for travel from Ukraine to Poland and then Poland to Spain
- Assisted family members escape from one area to a safer area as they are not able to leave
- Some of the people we are assisting with funds in Ukraine are sharing with others that don’t have assistance from outside.
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 www.cbf.net/ukraine.