Tragedies can unite people and point them to the common cause of serving their neighbor. The war with Ukraine, unleashed by the Putin regime eight years ago and having reached grave dimensions in February, caused destructions of horrific proportions, loss of life, and refugee flows from the war zone. Even though the Ukraine National Defense forces valiantly resist the aggressor – the government, local authorities, public utility companies, and the business are doing everything in their power to maintain order and availability of all necessities on the home front. It is quite understandable, that under wartime conditions society cannot function as it did before, and this creates new, and sometimes very unexpected opportunities for cooperation.
From the very onset of the acute phase of the war, GELCU and its congregations tried using their resources and international network to serve victims of war under new conditions. The list of people and organizations that helped us with their donations, humanitarian loads, hosting Ukrainian refugees abroad, as well as in prayers, informationally and diplomatically, is huge. We have already written about some activities, there are more stories to be published. But unfortunately, over time the need only continues to grow, so does our list of partner networks.
Our Fraternal Reformed congregation of St. Andrew in the village Pіdhaichyky of the Ivano-Frankivsk region became a placement for people, who had to flee from the zone of active military activities, primarily from Kyiv and the surrounding area. Some of the homeless clients of the “House of Mercy” ministry were housed in the congregation. Silesian Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession (Czech Republic) provided a considerable amount of humanitarian aid, which allows the congregation to host displaced people. A part of the aid was given to underprivileged population in Pidhaichiki and the area, and another was given over to Kyiv and the Kyiv region (including Bucha and Irpin).
Congregations of Holy Ascension in Kharkiv, “Reconciliation” congregation in Poltava, and congregation in Kremenchuk (Poltava region) opened distribution points for humanitarian aid for people displaced from the war-stricken areas or those who face difficult life circumstances. It became possible with the support of Diaconia of the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Poland, and the Polish Protestant branch of the order of St. John, which provided necessary pharmaceuticals.
Congregations in the Odessa region have been practicing cooperation with secular organizations and local authorities in their social ministry for quite a while. They collected a large amount of clothes and passed it to the social welfare services in the village Iosypovka of the Odessa region.
Very unexpected help was rendered to the congregation of St. Paul by Stefan Toman – a Swiss, who purchased and brought groceries and hygiene items, which he delivered himself, having driven his car a long way.
Later on, a humanitarian load from Europe with groceries, hygiene items, and pharmaceuticals, collected by the organization European Foundation for Ukraine, was unloaded and stored in the premises of the St. Paul’s Church Center. A part of the aid was distributed among those in need, while another half will be passed on to the defense forces.
We give thanks to God for opening new opportunities for cooperation to serve our neighbor. We are grateful to all those, who donate finances, give their time to purchase and deliver the necessities, and also those, who pray for us and share truthful information about what is going on in Ukraine.
Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered. (Proverbs 11:25)