Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief is among other state DR ministries responding to the crisis in Ukraine and has allocated $50,000 in relief funds for Ukrainian Response and $10,000 each for the Baptist seminaries in Ukraine and Romania, the Baptist and Reflector reported.
The funds will be sent through Send Relief to be used “to assist in meeting the immediate needs of the refugees coming across various borders,” said Wes Jones, Disaster Relief specialist for the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board. He noted that the $10,000 being sent to each of the Baptist seminaries in Ukraine and Romania is to assist them in their ministry to refugees.
Russian troops began invading eastern Ukraine on Feb. 24 and have spread across the country, including the capital of Kyiv. As of Feb. 28, reports indicate that there have been more than 350 casualties and 1,500 people injured as conflict continues to escalate, according to media reports.
Send Relief also reported that approximately 250,000 Ukrainians are crossing into other European countries, including Poland, Moldova, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Hungary and Romania. Most of the refugees are women and children as the men are staying to fight, according to an update released by Send Relief, a joint ministry of International Mission Board and North American Mission Board. See related story.
Passionate prayer, generosity
According to the latest media reports, as many as 5 million Ukrainians will be displaced in neighboring countries.
“Tennessee Baptists are responding with passionate prayer, intercession and generosity to the great humanitarian crisis affecting the Ukrainians,” said Randy C. Davis, president and executive director of the TBMB. Because of the faithfulness of Tennessee Baptists to give to the Cooperative Program and disaster relief, Davis noted, the TBMB has wired funds from churches across the state to assist in relief efforts in eastern Europe.
‘Heroes are showing up’
Davis added that he has been in touch with the president of Baptist seminaries in Ukraine and Romania. “These dear brothers are working tirelessly to care for refugees,” he noted. “They are not alone. Southern Baptists — through the IMB and Send Relief — are walking with these sweet brothers during a season when God and heroes are showing up.”
Send Relief began responding with food relief before the invasion and continues to ramp up its efforts, said Coy Webb, crisis response director for Send Relief.
“Send Relief continues to collaborate with national partners to provide food, shelter, transportation, clothing and ministry to those displaced and impacted by the crisis in Ukraine,” Webb said in an update that was sent to Southern Baptist Disaster Relief directors, which included Jones with Tennessee’s DR.
Jones noted, “First and foremost, our prayers are with the Ukrainian people as they walk through the next days and weeks ahead. We pray for peace in Ukraine, and that through this time, God will be honored and many will come to know Him in the midst of this event.”
Other states taking the lead
North Carolina Baptists and Ohio Baptists, Jones said, are taking the lead in the initial assessment and will respond to needs as they are made known.
“If we are requested to send teams, Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers will respond,” Jones said. Volunteers who are interested in going if called need to check the status of their passport, which needs to at least have six months before expiration, he said. In addition, there may be a vaccine requirement in place in the various countries where Disaster Relief volunteers may be called to serve, Jones cautioned.
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EDITOR’S NOTE — Lonnie Wilkey wrote this story that was originally published by the Tennessee Baptist and Reflector, newsjournal of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board.