Anya tearfully stacked the burned bricks from her house when a team of volunteers arrived in Ukraine.
As a result of ongoing attacks from Russian forces, Anya’s house had little left in it except for what few metal knick-knacks had survived the flames.
Upon hearing that volunteers came from a local church, Anya invited them in and broke bread with them while sharing her heartbreaking story. Through a lengthy conversation, Anya committed herself to Christ, and nearly 20 of her neighbors in similar situations began attending services at a partner church.
As the invasion continues, Anya and her neighbors will most likely have to abandon what is left of their community to flee the country. Surrounding nations currently receiving Ukrainian refugees include Poland, Romania, Moldova, Germany and Hungary.
In anticipation of this, Send Relief , the compassion ministry of the International Mission Board and North American Mission Board, funded multiple bus rentals to transport hundreds of refugee families across the border to local churches that wait with open arms. Send Relief has also provided volunteers with first-aid kits, food, clothes, diapers, medicine and prepaid phones to distribute them among the families as they cross.
A partnering church in Germany has completely transformed its nursing home into a temporary shelter for newly arrived refugees.
The lead pastor, Boris, shared, “Our church had a vision to build three things on our campuses: a school, a gym and a nursing home. We completed these projects right as the war in Ukraine began and we prayed, ‘Lord, lead us to make the right decision.’ Our church invited Ukrainians to stay in our nursing home for an entire year with the funds that Send Relief has provided, including paying for the electric bill, food services, furniture, gas, hygiene items and other necessities.”
While many Ukrainians heard the gospel message through these services, many refugees didn’t receive help from the government and felt too ashamed to ask for help from the church.
With time and many intentional conversations, not only did volunteers provide these families the assistance they needed, but they also obtained more information on the barriers the refugees will face in the resettlement process.
Ways to pray
With these pressing needs in mind, here are five ways you can pray for Ukrainian refugees.
— Pray for a successful registration process and quick resettlement in their new host countries. Because of the sudden influx of refugees in surrounding nations, the paperwork takes longer than average to process. Many families live months without financial support, work permits, medical attention or proper schooling for their children.
— Pray for adequate housing for families. It is extremely challenging to find affordable apartments on such short notice, so many refugees live month-to-month in makeshift shelters or refugee centers.
— Pray for families to acclimate well to the new language and culture. It’s difficult for Ukrainian refugees to navigate settling into their new nations without a timeline for return or any assurance of seeing their homeland again. It takes time to reconcile that their host countries may be their final destinations. Planning for the future is vital during this transitional period. Please pray for peace and wisdom as they come to terms with the trauma they face and the decisions they must make in its wake.
— Pray for the Ukrainian men. Many brothers, husbands and fathers remain behind to fight. The people see a nationwide spike in depression and other mental health crises because families now have to live separated indefinitely.
— Pray for the pastors ministering during the war to see the hand of God at work as they faithfully serve. They experience unimaginable daily hardships while remaining focused on pouring into others. Pray for stamina and grace as they continue to minister and work.
Ways to give
Check with your church, association or state Baptist convention to find out how they are contributing to ongoing relief work in Ukraine. To contact your state convention for more information, click here. Or, for more information about Send Relief, click here.
EDITOR’S NOTE — This story was written and originally published by Send Relief.