Within days of Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine, Baptist World Aid began distributing thousands of dollars to respond to needs in a region wracked by war yet hopeful of how God will work in the tragedy.
“How the Baptist family has galvanized to serve our brothers and sisters since the start of the Ukrainian war has been simply impressive,” said Marsha Scipio, director of Baptist World Aid, during a forum focused on the global Baptist response to the war in Ukraine at the Baptist World Alliance 2022 annual gathering at Samford University. “We thank God to have an opportunity to serve in this manner.”
Established in 1920, Baptist World Aid seeks to alleviate poverty and hunger, respond when disasters strike and support sustainable community development projects around the globe, organizing prayer and resources to help in times of crisis.
In Ukraine, that has meant helping “build the capacity” of the Ukrainian Baptist Union and Baptists in neighboring countries to “mobilize their resources to support refugees that crossed their borders” as they flee the war, Scipio said.
‘Serve and pray’
Igor Bandura, vice president of the Ukrainian Baptist Union and a member of the Baptist World Alliance mission and evangelism commission, spoke of the situation in his country.
“Church buildings have been damaged or destroyed completely,” he said. “Families are divided and can’t worship God together. … Between 100 and 200 soldiers are being killed each day at the war sites, and thousands of families are experiencing terrible pain in their time of loss and grief.”
Believers in the country are prayerful that God will use the war to bring more people to “a saving faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior,” he said. “Without this bigger reason, all the sufferings are senseless and useless. This is why we continue to serve and pray.”