Ukraine Update and Prayer

It is now over seven months since the Newfrontiers Ukraine Fund was established in response to crisis in the region. During that time believers and churches from across our global family have generously given a staggering 1.4 million pounds to aid emergency response, refugee support and church planting (and re-establishment) both inside and outside of the country.

Crucial aid continues to flow via hubs in Poland, Romania and Bulgaria with churches across Europe continuing to strengthen links, and send teams in-person to resource and support dedicated local volunteers.

Funding has enabled the purchase of vehicles (allowing refugees and vital aid to be safely transported) and emergency accommodation costs to be subsidised. In preparation for the difficult winter ahead wood supplies, a bulk order of emergency heating fans, and 50 tonnes of potatoes are also in the process of being distributed.

Aid directly reaching Ukrainian hotspots
In more recent months generosity to the Newfrontiers Ukraine Fund and ChristCentral Fund has meant finance has been able to be carefully targeted to reach parts of Ukraine facing the most abject need. In each of these (deliberately unnamed) cities and towns money is being directed to pastors and leadership teams with in-depth local knowledge of how funding can best be utilised.

There are simply too many stories to share of hope, relief and gospel witness. Here’s just one:

Resourcing makeshift maternity hospitals
One Ukrainian church continuing to serve the needy in the most challenging of circumstances has used funding to specifically reach young mothers who have had to be evacuated from areas of intense fighting whilst in labour.

Some of the women arriving in ambulances did not have enough breast milk to feed their babies, on account of poor nutrition and dehydration (caused by unsafe supply of drinking water). Having travelled in the most challenging of circumstances, they lacked basic necessities, some even arriving without shoes.

The local church used funds to supply these new mums with food, clothing, medication and basic hygiene supplies, as well as provide nappies and clothing for their newborns. The gospel was shared freely, and the opportunity was taken to pray alongside these young women as well as meet practical needs.

“In these circumstances your support was just in time. It was possible to organise and to help those in need and, at the same time, to bring them the words of God's love for them and the message of the Gospel. We prayed with them and praised Jesus. In this way, through your participation in our needs, the love of God was revealed to these people.” Ukrainian Pastor

Participants in joy
This sense of gratitude (reminiscent of that expressed in Paul’s letters!), is not just for the gift of resources, but also for prayer support and solidarity across our family of churches. It is a sentiment that has been echoed time and time again in communication from Ukrainian leadership teams.

Below one pastor movingly describes the privilege it has been to partner in the gospel, in this instance by relaunching a Sunday school, and providing hot and nutritious meals to local children each week:

“Our dear ones, you are participants in this joy, participants in what God is doing in our local church at this time. God is filling our lack through you. In this we see the love, grace and hand of God, and the unity of the church. The church cannot be divided by distance, circumstances, and the difficult situations in the world.”

Many of these local leaders were already serving deprived communities, and are now doing so under fire. Funds raised have enabled us to financially support key leaders enabling them to work full-time administrating aid and relief among their communities, without having to divert time and resources to ensure their own household don’t face severe lack.

Partnership for the long haul
Earlier this year one apostolic leader, Andre Bondarenko reminded us that the more severe, and more protracted, crisis would come later when the rest of the world grew weary of news stories coming from this part of the world.

With this insight in mind, we are pacing gifts and investment carefully, and remain well equipped - with around 60% of the Newfrontiers Ukraine Fund remaining - to build on existing partnerships and support local churches for the long haul. (The opportunity to give will also remain in place; find out how you can add your gift here).

We are mindful that many of our brothers and sisters are facing the intimidating challenge of starting again (perhaps for the third or fourth time since this crisis began), and the full pastoral implications are yet to unfold.

“A lot of people suffered because of the war, almost everyone is mentally affected. Some lost their homes, almost everyone was unemployed. Both our family and our church had to rebuild themselves.”

Across Ukraine unbelievers are being reached, with the hope of the gospel, but please urge those you lead and gather with to continue to remember our friends in the region, and the many needy communities they represent.

What can you pray for?
- Protection of people during unpredictable rocket attacks
- Restoration of civilian infrastructure (already about 40% of all critical infrastructure has been destroyed and many people live without gas, electricity and water)
- The Ukrainian economy (unemployment has already reached 30%)
- Churches to be places of comfort and hope, where people can receive warmth, food, clothing and hear the gospel
- Wisdom to use resources and unique ideas from God to be the answer to society at this time
- For an end to the war