Suddenly, the whole world is watching and praying for Ukraine. It does our breaking hearts good to see Americans and people all over the world posting blue and yellow flags and lifting up prayers for this country that has become so dear to us. If you’ve followed our Journey, you know that our serving in Poland has included many people – Holocaust Survivors from Isreal, Polish churches and teens, and running camps for Ukrainian children and teens. Although things have certainly reached a high level of severity in recent days, but Ukraine has been enduring much of this hardship for a long time. I remember one of our earlier years of involvement in the childrens’ camp when we learned what many of these kids were going through. See our post from 2015 – Faces That Will Melt Your Heart and Life Stories That Will Break It. Second to our purpose of sharing God’s love to these sweet children was simply helping them to feel safe and to forget all that might be going on back home, even if it was just for a week. We remember preparing camp for their arrival, praying for those intentions to be met. So as we learn of Ukrainian refugees making their way to safety at that very camp in Poland and see pictures of the camp setting up as many beds as they can fit into every available space, collecting food, activities, clothing, and everything they need to shelter these dear people… it is SO hard not to hop on a plane to help.
But the reality is that we would just be taking up beds that could be given to them. The cost of our airfare alone could house and feed so many. So what can we do? What they need most from us at this moment is prayer – lifting them up to a God who is still on the throne and who will bring beauty from these ashes. We are often guilty of saying “all I can do is pray”, but we must recognize that praying is, by far, the most powerful thing we can be doing. (We have a LOT to say on this topic but will keep it there for now as I don’t want this to be too long!)
The second greatest thing we can do is give. Taking in 180 refugees is going to be expensive for the camp in Poland, and ten PCM churches are also preparing to take in the flood of those fleeing the war. We will be giving from whatever funds we have in our ministry account as often as we can. If you feel led to give, we realize it is hard to know what organizations you can trust. Here are a couple of options for you:
- Give through Polish Christian Ministries here. Designiated “Ukrainian Refugees” in your card payment form or check memo. (This option is tax deductible.)
- Contribute to our Ministry Fund here. This money will be distributed directly to people we know as we are made aware of needs. (This option is not tax deductible.)
‘Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. ‘ 2 Corinthians 9:7
We are learning more and more all the time that sometimes, often, in fact, God’s leading is just in the next immediate steps. We may think we know the final destination, but then we are surprised as God reveals the next turn. Back in October, we wrote that we had thought that we would take a much-needed break from traveling to Poland, but then had felt the nudge that we still had a role to play. Desiring to always be obedient, we began fund-raising and saving, knowing that if God redirected us we would have many good avenues for those dollars to further a variety of ministries. A lot has transpired since October. It became evident that what God was asking us to do would actually happen sooner rather than later, take place here at home, and would be incredibly difficult – emotionally, spiritually, and even physically. This situation is ongoing and we will continue to play our part as needed. Of course, He has taught us much in the process and drawn us closer to Him as He always does.
Now, after much prayer, discussion, and Godly counsel, we hear God saying to step back and let go, to rest and revive, to devote some time to family, and to put funds that would have been spent on airfare to some other great uses that will grow God’s kingdom this year. We know this may not be the only unforeseen turn in the road, and we always want to be ready and prepared to obey when opportunities arise, so a portion of the funds raised so far will remain in our ministry fund waiting to be put to good use and earning interest in the meantime. The majority of the funds will be distributed…
- to provide scholarships for about 20 Ukrainian kids & teens to experience a life-changing week of camp
- to support our friend Sasha who serves a military chaplain in Ukraine
- to support Send Me Ministries as they share the gospel with Holocaust Survivors and Jewish people in Poland and Israel
- to support our friend Becky who has an opportunity to serve on a short term mission to Africa
- to support our friend Abigail in her mission trip to Nicaragua
- to support our brother and sister in their work with Africa New Life
We’ll be happy to provide details individually if any of our supporters would like to see evidence of that money flow, but we assure you that this money is God’s and none of it will be used for ourselves.
It may seem crazy to think that God’s will is for us not to go, but we really believe that to be true. Although God gives us the privilege of being part of what He is doing, it does not depend on us. His Word will still go out and will not return void. (Isaiah 55:11). He knows we need rest, Jesus modeled it for us and the Bible is full of examples. Right now we feel He is giving us permission to take time for that.
We are prayerfully considering returning to Poland in 2021, when the Ukrainian children’s and teen camps will be operating on their own for the first time. Will you pray with us and for us to have insight into God’s leading in the future? Although we will stop actively fundraising for a time, we will continue to accept donations and pass them on to fulfill ministry needs like those listed above. We are incredibly grateful for all of our supporters, and we still need your encouragement and prayers!