Ukraine Response Update
This is an edited version of a message from International Ministries.
You can read the entire article on the IM website
The response among IM's donors and partners to the humanitarian crisis caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine has been unprecedented. What we are witnessing, and have the privilege to financially support, can only be described as a Christ-led grassroots movement! Across six countries, our European Baptist partners opened their churches, homes, camps, etc., to shelter some of the millions forced to flee their homes. I don’t believe most of us have witnessed anything like this in our lifetimes. Within days, more than 1,000 places were made ready—600 within Ukraine—for all who are migrating to sleep, eat, shower, and receive a word of hope. In the first month alone, our partners have served more than 1,000,000 people.
Now the challenge is that there is a large cost to providing these services. Providing three meals a day, a place to sleep and shower, and some basic provisions adds up quickly because it’s constant. But the hidden cost—the human resources needed—the majority of that is being provided by thousands of volunteers. What our partners are requesting is funding primarily for the “hard goods” needed—the food, beds, sheets, blankets, towels, etc. Volunteers, organized by our partners, are providing most of the labor.
In addition to this large-scale response, IM global servants have stepped into the gaps already evident. In Budapest, Hungary, Carmella Jones has been ministering to refugees of African descent—many of whom were university students in Ukraine. In Debrecen, Hungary, Amanda and Jon Good opened their home to host families, providing space and radical hospitality when their church is at capacity hosting other refugees. And Larry Stanton is traveling to the border weekly with IM partner, Hungarian Baptist Aid, modeling the best of what it means to serve alongside a partner—doing whatever needs to be done.
If you are wondering how we decide who to support financially with the donations given to One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS), our funds are following our relationships—foundations of trust, support and mutual accountability established in times of stability. It’s one of the many distinctives of how IM engages in ministry that serves us well. We turned immediately to the European Baptist Federation (EBF), as they seek to support and strengthen the ministry of European Baptists. I’ve known Helle Liht, Assistant General Secretary of the EBF, for sixteen years. Helle knows Baptists leaders across Europe—they are her friends and colleagues. She speaks their language—literally and figuratively. Since 2014 she has been working with Ukrainian Baptists to understand their needs and to assist them with building capacity in the event of invasion. While I don’t know that anyone could be prepared for the rapid onset of what we’ve seen happen in the past weeks, Helle and the Baptist leaders have worked together pretty much seamlessly since the escalation of the crisis.
Why give to OGHS? We have the privilege of supporting our Baptist brothers and sisters. They are giving their time and their money. We can join them with our donations—what a witness! For me, remembering that my donation is providing not only shelter and refuge, but through people who are a reminder of God’s presence and provision—well, it’s priceless. What is happening today across these countries, I believe, will result in people coming to know Christ, because in those serving them they are seeing the living God—the God who is always with them.
Thank you for the gifts you have already given, and those you will give into the future. This will be a marathon, not a sprint. When the media coverage fades, our partners across Europe will still be hard at work to bring stability to the lives of all those who find themselves someplace other than where they once called home.
Additional relief is urgently needed. Persons wishing to support relief efforts can do so through their own American Baptist church, or by giving online. Please select fund: "One Great Hour Of Sharing"; in comments, designate your contribution “Ukraine Relief”.