Refugees Serving Refugees
Apr 12, 2022 | 4 min read | Dave Patty
Ben and Kristy are members of our team, but they are also refugees.
In the first days of the war against Ukraine, they crossed the border into Poland after waiting in line with small children in the car for 48 hours. Half of our 36-member team remained in Ukraine, while the other half relocated to Poland and the Czech Republic within the first week of the war. Those in Ukraine are ministering to internally displaced people and taking dangerous trips to the front lines of the conflict to deliver aid and move people to safety. The rest are now refugees themselves, caring for other refugees.
School for their children has gone online, so they connect from a distance. For those children still in Ukraine, instruction is often interrupted by sirens and trips to the basement for safety. Ben and Kristy’s kids installed a particular app on their phones that informs them when the sirens end and the danger has passed so that they can rejoin the classroom instruction.
Far from their home, this family and the rest of the JV Ukraine team have worked to transport over 40 busloads of refugees across the border during March and sent over 100 tons of food and aid to the front lines of the conflict, enough for 250,000 meals. Every face on those 40 buses has a story; every hand that reaches out for a bag of food or medicine bears some pain.
Olena used to live in the Kherson Oblast, just north of Crimea, which the Russian forces have brutally occupied since the very beginning of the war. Along with her 8-year-old son, Matviy, she lived underground from the start of the war until the 20th of March. They heard of many cars getting shot up in the days before their departure, but they were miraculously able to travel for three days to get to our partner church’s base in western Ukraine. From there, one of our buses transported her and her son to safety at our training center in Czech. Here is what she just wrote:
“God’s Word gives hope in the hardest days. We came to you with tears in our eyes, but we are departing with big sincere smiles. These smiles, good sleep, good food, the compassion of people, a calm in the soul, and faith that God will lead us to victory—this is what you have given us. You have helped people return to life. You have shown us a new day filled with new opportunities. With great thanks, the people living in room #302.”
Olena and her son are just two of over 4 million refugees that have fled to the countries surrounding Ukraine. The Josiah Venture team is working to help churches integrate Ukrainian believers into their congregations and reach out to the refugees who recently arrived in their communities with the good news of Jesus Christ.
Many of you have given to make this possible. Please know that your aid is reaching needy people within days of its purchase, and all of this help is passing through the hands of believers, coupled with the message and presence of Jesus.
Thank you for helping us return people to life.
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