As Ukraine faces the devastating reality of a Russian invasion, Mission to the World (MTW) missionaries and members of 15 partner churches of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Ukraine are on their knees seeking the Lord’s mercy, protection, and wisdom. Churches in the west are preparing to care for the displaced who have fled their homes in the east.
MTW is also working with the churches of Ukraine to provide aid and resources to the believers and the surrounding community. MTW has provided ways for churches to donate and keep their members informed through bulletin inserts and regular updates. With MTW’s permission, we are re-posting some of the most recent updates from the ground in Ukraine.
Updates & Prayer Requests (3/6/22)
The story of Oskar Schindler personally protecting, and later moving to safety, over a thousand Jews from near certain death has come to mind frequently over the past week.
Each of our pastors, team, and church members has their own list of people for whom we are working to provide safety. Each of us are on the phone checking in, tracking people’s progress west, and receiving gracious offers from churches and families in Europe who are willing to receive refugees.
The circumstances and consequences are very different but tragically, Oskar Schindler’s factory was in Kraków, Poland, where our refugee center is now located.
The constant texts, phone calls, and updates from those on the road fleeing a city being bombed, and the arrangements being made on the other end, are hectic, stressful, and taxing. Many of us don’t know how long we can keep it up.
But our fatigue pales in comparison to those on the road. Aside from the fact that these people have left cities being shelled, traveled with the sound of bombers flying overhead, and have been on the road for four or five days, they now have no guarantee of a certain future, or if they will ever return.
One church member from the city of Kherson left early this week, and their family has just recently arrived to safety. Kherson is now under full Russian control, TV channels have switched from Ukrainian to Russian, cell phones no longer work on local providers, and Russian soldiers patrol the streets.
They left everything behind and are unsure if they will ever return, either because of persecution for being in the church, or the questionable safety of their city. They may leave behind everything, as many did in eastern Ukraine eight years ago fleeing the persecution and danger when Russia took Crimea.
Pray for the health, rest, and ability to continue for those who are working with and making arrangements for refugees. It can feel like the future of each one of them is in your hands.
Pray for those who have left everything behind, that they would find hope in an eternal kingdom when the earthly one has fallen apart.
Updates & Prayer Requests (2/28/22)
From MTW Ukraine Country Director Jon Eide:
I received a remarkable phone call this morning. There is a couple in our church in Kyiv who wanted to get married—today. They were looking for someone in our denomination who could conduct a wedding service on zoom from a bomb shelter. The guy was going to serve in the military, and she was moving toward evacuation. They wanted to get married before both of those things happened.
I talked to another pastor in our denomination today who spent the night in a bomb shelter in Mykolaiv. He had spent the day riding his bicycle around the city, while the curfew was lifted, giving church members who had not evacuated money from the church for supplies.
These are small stories that point to a larger tragedy. The attack and ensuing war has led to thousands of stories like this.
As of today, Russia does not occupy any large cities in Ukraine, and has not taken over any major airports. Ukraine lives to see another day. Its people however have suffered greatly and there is no end in sight.
Hundreds of thousands are moving through cities in the west. Our refugee response in the church in Lviv is so maxed out that our team members and church members are having people sleep on the floor in their apartments.
The situation across the border in Poland, Romania, and Hungary is growing more dire. The country of Poland has made all public transportation free for anyone with a Ukrainian passport and Poland has also opened to up to 4 million refugees. We are now preparing our church in Kraków for huge numbers of refugees that would land in that city.
1. Pray for our church members in a number of cities who are spending their fifth night in bomb shelters. For safety and hope.
2. Pray for the refugee response that continues in Lviv, and now is moving further into Western Europe. For the European churches renting busses to go get people on the border.
3. Pray that in the midst of this terrible war, many would place their hope in Christ and his eternal kingdom.
4. Pray for peace.