The war in Ukraine is in its third week and millions of Ukrainians have fled their homes. In the midst of all the fear and devastation, we see enormous compassion and love. People have opened up their hearts and donated to those in need and families open up their homes and help with transportation and accommodation. Word of Life and the international network have the privilege of being a part of this important relief efforts.
During the first week of the war, five refugee centers were opened around Ukraine. Three of them in the cities of Khmelnitskiy, Pavlograd and Lviv, are so-called transit centers where people in transit can stay on their way out of the country. Two more centers, in Lviv and Poljana, are refugee shelters where displaced people are allowed to live until further notice. A sixth shelter will soon open in Lviv. In total, these centers can accommodate about 500 people.
In the first week, Word of Life donated a yellow minibus to the center in Lviv, which was filled with food and medical supplies. This was driven to the war affected areas around Kyiv to provide people with the most urgent needs. On the way back to Lviv, the minibus was filled with people who had no other transport out of the war zone.
In Lublin, Poland, we have opened five centers that together have 250 beds. We have acquired a large warehouse where we can receive trucks with supplies from all over Europe. There is a great need for both food and medical supplies and already in the second week of the war, Word of Life, in collaboration with Heart of Evangelism, sent a truck with food into Ukraine via Lublin. Via Heart of Evangelism, Apotea – a Swedish pharmacy company, will also send three trucks with medical supplies. In addition to the need for food, there is also a great need for transport of people out of Ukraine. We have therefore bought two minibusses to be able to bring supplies into Ukraine and people out of the country. A process is also underway to buy more mini buses and cars in order to be able to operate as efficiently as possible.
Word of Life also works in Moldova, where the local church has engaged volunteers to help Ukrainian refugees cross the border. So far, a few hundred people have been helped with accommodation in Moldova and others have been helped to move on to Romania and Italy, among other places. For the funds Word of Life sends, they also hand out food packages, hygiene items and charge prepaid cards so that families can keep in touch with each other. Volunteers who travel back and forth across the border to help people out of Ukraine receive grants for fuel.
On site, at the Polish-Ukrainian border, Toni Gadd is responsible for logistics with needs and transport. It is a lot of work to coordinate all the deliveries to Poland and further into Ukraine. The situation in Ukraine is changing from day to day and therefore we monitor the situation closely and adapt our work to the needs that exist.
The shelters are filled with people of all ages, expressing heartfelt gratitude to each person who has made a safe shelter a reality. The gift of a warm meal and safe place to sleep is a true gift to hundreds of displaced people. All this is possible thanks to the generous gifts from people and organizations across the globe! Thank you for making a difference both in prayer and in your giving.
05/12 - 2022
During the second Advent Service, the church received the first video greeting from Pastor Janne. This was a long-awaited greeting that brought joy and thankfulness to us all. Pastor Janne is still in the hospital where he continues his rehabilitation. In the greeting, Pastor Janne expressed great thankfulness for all the love he and his family has experienced - especially through the outpouring of prayer that has been in the church and spread throughout many places over the entire world. He shared how the intercession has lifted him during the situation he has been in since the accident and how the Lord is so close to him and helping him. He is praying for us all, both the church in general but also each individual member of the church. Janne spoke of how in the middle of this difficult time, he has experienced a strong love for Jesus and how joy and strength have been constant in the hard times. He shared about how the spirit of intersession has been so strong, sometimes in the middle of the night, for evangelization, missions, and our future. Janne spoke of faith for a new year of grace and prosperity in 2023; a year we can build the church together. He expressed his desire and expectation to come and share a great sermon, filled with love, that the Lord has laid on his heart for the church. The greeting concluded with these warm words, “God bless you all and thank you that you are the wonderful, fantastic, beautiful people you are, who love me, and now I can love you back and express my love and prayers for you. God bless you all and have a wonderful Advent Service. Thank you for being who you are.”