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Update: Aid for Ukraine

BGAV asks congregations to pray, give to assist Ukrainians

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Updated Friday, April 22, 2022

As the conflict in Ukraine continues to ravage the country, our brothers and sisters in neighboring countries and in Ukraine work tirelessly to make sure those who are fleeing the conflict experience the love and hope that can only be found in Christ. As of today, Virginia Baptists have received nearly $275,000 from individuals and congregations which will be used to provide direct aid to those in need. Please prayerfully read the following update provided by our friends across Europe:

Dear sisters and brothers,

As the situation in Ukraine heads towards a third month, EBF continues its work to support the joint efforts of Baptists around the world who are responding with great compassion. This email contains updates on the situation inside Ukraine and in the neighbouring countries. We will be continuing with these reports on a monthly basis. Please feel free to share this with your networks and churches to raise awareness and encourage continued support of God’s Kingdom work in eastern Europe.

As the war wages on, we praise God for the support from the Baptist world as we lift up and encourage our brothers and sisters to endure through this difficult time.

Click here to read more: EBF Ukraine Situation Report - April 21, 2022

Updated Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Every hour, every day, we hear stories from Ukraine. Life in that region of the world has been changed forever for millions of people, and there is no end of the turmoil in sight. Most recently we've learned of the tragedies in Bucha and surrounding areas, and we feel helpless in our ability to comprehend the horror. We can't stop the war, but there is a great deal we can do to provide aid to those suffering because of it.

BGAV is working in cooperation with the global Baptist family in providing approximately 52,000 beds in 600 Ukrainian churches and 12 additional shelters in neighboring countries for those who are fleeing the conflict. In addition to a safe place to sleep, our brothers and sisters in Christ are providing hot meals, fresh water, warm showers, listening ears, and caring hearts as refugees find shelter in churches, schools, seminaries, shopping centers and individual homes.  

The cost of providing this care is enormous. Current projections tell us that it costs approximately $7 per day to care for a refugee. If we care for 52,000 refugees, we need $364,000 per day! BGAV has already received over $180,000 in addition to the $20,000 provided from strategic reserves. Our funds are being combined with over $6 million dollars given by more than 30 other Baptist Unions and Conventions across the globe.

Please consider how you and your church might continue to give toward this extremely challenging effort. Might we be able to reach a goal of providing care for every refugee for one day?

Please pray for these requests from a call with European Baptist leaders on Wednesday, April 6:

  • Pray for encouragement and support for volunteers serving refugees
  • Pray thanking God for the generosity of the international faith community in supporting refugee response
  • Pray for those who have lost their family members in Bucha, Bryanka, and other cities
  • Pray for those who have lost their houses
  • Pray God will bring this war to an end as quickly as possible
  • Pray for safe evacuations from eastern regions of Ukraine
  • Pray for victory over evil, for a stable and just peace for Ukraine

And please, lift up Igor Bandura by name in your prayers. He is the General Secretary of the Baptist Union in Ukraine, and his unwavering leadership needs our sustaining prayers.

Throughout the destruction and loss, the love and hope that can only be found in Christ is being shared fervently. Stories of love, worship, baptisms, and even weddings provide a glimpse of better days ahead. Read more about these stories and updates provided by our European Baptist Federation partners.

Updated Tuesday, March 15, 2022

People all across BGAV have responded to our call to pray and to give. As of today, individual donations totaling more than $55,000 are going directly to meet the needs of Ukrainians who need safety, sustenance, and hope. If you want to help, please consider including Ukraine in your church's prayer and offering times--whenever it works best for you.

The latest update from European Baptist Federation, dated March 11, shares of the amazing outreach local churches are doing to share Christ’s love during this time of turmoil: feeding hundreds of refugees, performing baptisms, and spreading kindness along with the gospel to those on the streets. These stories of hope and compassion show that God is always working, even in the darkest corners. Read the update below:

Our brothers and sisters in Ukraine continue to respond to the war in their country with compassion and open hearts. 600 churches are actively responding to the needs inside of those fleeing, acting as beacons of refuge across the country, including one small church in Yaltushkiv that feeds nearly 800 people every day.

As local food supplies start to diminish, Ukrainian Baptists have organised logistics centres ready to receive and distribute aid. In response to the increasingly dire supply situation, the Coordination Centre of the Ukrainian Baptists is working from Lviv to establish aid distribution warehouses in Eastern and Central Ukraine.

Still, amidst war, life continues to find a way. A church in Odessa performed six baptisms this week by the hands of Pastor Igor Kucher, church services and prayer groups continue to meet and we received news of three people accepting Christ into their hearts while hiding in the basement of a church in Kiev.

In Zaporizhzhia, church youth groups attempted to spread joy among the streets as they went from place to place handing out flowers and using the opportunity to share the gospel at the same time. While we also ask for your prayers for a church in Chernigiv, which was struck by a Russian shell earlier this week.

As the war drags on, your prayers are needed more than ever. We received these from Pastor Igor Bandura at our prayer gathering on Wednesday:

  • Pray for those trapped in churches in occupied cities, that even while surrounded by enemies, God would surround them with Christian love and care
  • Pray that Churches will be able to minister to all and that leaders will know the guidance and wisdom of the Holy Spirit.
  • Pray that peace will reign in Ukraine. Pray for those those fleeing - for safe passage, welcoming arms and hot food.

Wondering how your church can respond to the Russian invasion of Ukraine?  This video includes a brief update about how your gifts are being used, as well as prayer requests directly from our friends in Ukraine. Please download the video or play it directly from this link in order to show it to your congregations in worship, discipleship, or fellowship settings that are appropriate for your church. Read more about how to communicate our BGAV family's response to those seeking help in Ukraine.

Updated Wednesday, March 9, 2022

In addition to the $20,000 in budgeted funds that BGAV allocated on February 25 for assisting Ukrainian Baptists, BGAV has received over $25,000 in additional funding (as of March 9) toward this response - thanks to generous donations from individuals like you.

These funds are being channeled to Ukraine through the European Baptist Federation (EBF). Read a special update from EBF General Secretary Alan Donaldson about his recent visit with Polish Baptists responding to the crisis. The EBF also provided this update as of March 8:

Our brothers and sisters in Ukraine continue to respond to the war in their country with compassion and open hearts. 600 churches are actively responding to the needs inside of those fleeing, acting as beacons of refuge across the country.

As local food supplies start to diminish, Ukrainian Baptists have organised logistics centres ready to receive and distribute aid. This week multiple trucks sent shipments of goods from the west to the areas of need in the east.

Still, amidst war, life continues to find a way. A church in Kiev performed a wedding this week (and made sure the young couple had completed marriage counseling before they were wed). In the suburbs of Kiev two men were baptised. There was even one report of a baby being born in a church basement when an ambulance could not arrive in time!

In the weary region of Donetsk a church handed out food to each of those who came to church. Along with the food they gave seeds from the pastor’s greenhouse.

Ukrainian people have the hope that they will plant these seeds, as they have done before.

As the war drags on, your prayers are needed more than ever.

  • Pray that peace can still come to be.
  • Pray for God’s comfort for those who have lost family and their homes.
  • Pray that humanitarian corridors would continueto be developed so that adequate aid can reach those in need.

Anyone wishing may donate to BGAV's ongoing response efforts with EBF and Ukrainian Baptists by designating your online gifts to "Aid for Ukraine." Additionally, Woman's Missionary Union of Virginia (WMUV), one of BGAV's partners in ministry, is also seeking donations for its Project Ruth ministry in Romania that is currently housing 42 Ukrainian women and children, along with assisting other refugees during this period of unrest. Funds for WMUV's Project Ruth should be designated as "Aid for Ukraine - WMUV Project Ruth" when giving online.

If you would prefer to make a donation by check, please make checks payable to BGAV ("Aid for Ukraine" in the memo line) and mail to BGAV, 2828 Emerywood Parkway, Henrico, VA 23294.

     

Updated Wednesday, March 2, 2022

On Friday, February 25, one day after Russia invaded Ukraine, BGAV committed $20,000 in emergency aid to assist Ukrainian Baptists in serving those fleeing the conflict.

These funds are being channeled to Ukraine through the European Baptist Federation (EBF), of which Ukrainian Baptists are members. The EBF is the main coordinating body for this response at the request of Ukrainian Baptists. Any funds received now are being used to purchase necessary items such as food, hygiene items, medicine, generators, gasoline, blankets, pillows, and necessary items for the internally displaced people (IDPs) and refugees and the shelters set up for them.

This church in Poland converted their sanctuary into a shelter for Ukrainians seeking safety.
This church in Poland converted its sanctuary into a shelter for Ukrainians seeking safety.

In the coming weeks Ukraine and bordering countries will be presenting more specific proposals to the EBF, which will then be passed along to the partners for further funding.

Nearly all national Baptist Unions, Conventions, mission partners, and other organizations are operating together through the Baptist Forum for Aid and Development (BFAD), which is a network of global Baptist organizations committed to working together in times of disaster. BGAV is a founding member of BFAD and currently holds a seat on its Steering Committee.

Please join us in this response by donating to these efforts and by lifting up this region of the world in your continued prayers. During a recent call-to-prayer event coordinated by the EBF, the Ukrainian leadership specifically asked for prayer in the following areas:

  • Pray that the war will be stopped.
  • Pray for God’s comfort for those who have lost family and their homes.
  • Pray that Ukrainian Baptists are able to help those who are running from the war, particularly as it is still winter.
  • Pray for the first "Green Truck," which will leave for Ukraine tomorrow (3/3). This is a supply truck trying to make its way safely from Poland into Ukraine.

Posted Thursday, February 24, 2022

Each of us is acutely aware of the events surrounding Russia and Ukraine over the past several weeks, including the escalation of events over the past 24 hours. This afternoon several BGAV staffers with our international and disaster response ministries participated in a call with leaders around the world, including Baptist leadership in Ukraine. During the call they received an update from the field as well as a plea for needs in the near future should the situation not be resolved quickly.

One heartbreaking story they shared was of the Baptist orphanage currently in the midst of danger in Odessa. The children have hung posters in their windows saying, “Orphans live here!” with the hope they won't be targeted by soldiers.

We encourage every BGAV congregation to

• set aside a moment during this Sunday, February 27, to pray for peace in eastern Europe

• encourage churchgoers to continue in a season of prayer throughout the coming days

• share those prayers with us on social media as a source of encouragement to our Ukrainian partners in ministry and Christians throughout Europe

Some specific prayer concerns from the Ukrainian leadership include the fear in the hearts of innocent people caught in the middle of battle lines, the likelihood of escalating prices, the lack of resources in the near future, the loss of relationships, and the overall anxiety and hopelessness.

Additionally we invite everyone to join with the European Baptist Federation in a weekly prayer vigil that will take place via Zoom every Wednesday in the month of March beginning next week. You can register for this by clicking here.

The BGAV is working through the Baptist Forum for Aid and Development in order to provide for the needs as requested. You may contribute toward these efforts by clicking here.