When the Home of Hope Neighborhood Center in Berdyansk, Ukraine, was purchased and renovated years ago, we prayed—and many of you joined us in prayer—that it would be a place where people would find Jesus. At the time, we thought that meant English clubs, youth meetings, church services, and much more. All that has happened, but people are also finding Jesus there in a way that was completely unexpected to us.
With the conflict between Ukraine and Russia continuing to escalate in the east, refugees have been pouring into town. We’ve opened up the Home of Hope to house about 30 refugees. Before they moved in, everyone agreed to our house rules (such as no alcohol or smoking, and the gate is locked at 10 p.m.) and, so far, we’ve had no problems. The youth center is still open two nights a week, and refugee families have started coming to relax and play games together. What an incredible opportunity to share the love of Jesus!
Fortunately, we had a number of bunk beds in storage, and we provided bedding and linens for them. We also want to help with food costs, and we’d like to purchase a better washing machine. We don’t want to turn away anyone who is in need. We’re also partnering with a Ukrainian pastor who was granted an abandoned campground to house even more refugees. He named it the “City of Peace.”
We’ve been given so many opportunities to talk to people. They’re concerned about peace, and they’re walking in chaos. They want to know why I, as an American who could leave, am still here! It gives me a chance to tell them about why I’m still here—because God called us here, and until He tells us differently, we’re staying.
When people ask what we think about what’s going on, we say that God is in control and we have no choice but to trust Him. It’s been neat to see churches respond to the crisis with that same message: they are telling people to pray, pray, pray!
We never thought to pray, “Lord, send us refugees.” But He did it anyway, and we pray that the seeds of hope being planted in their lives will draw them to the Source of that hope.
GIVE: Donate to WGM Ukraine’s Samaritan’s Fund to help us feed, clothe, and care for refugees. Designate your gift to Ukraine Samaritan Fund #25470. These families are walking through some extremely difficult times, and we are privileged to care for them in any way we can.