The economic, social, political, and infrastructure cost of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will be felt for many years to come. Due to the interconnectedness brought on by globalization, these effects will be felt throughout the world.
However, one of the most tragic consequences of the war is the current refugee crisis as over 4 million Ukrainians and counting have fled and been displaced. Millions more will be forced to leave behind families, homes, professions, and a way of life almost overnight as the war drags on. Most of the displaced are women and children as men of fighting age stay behind to defend their nation. For comparison, only a million refugees combined from Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq for the entire year of 2015 resettled in Europe. In Ukraine, a million are leaving on the average per week. This is the worst refugee crisis since World War II.
The Bible places a huge emphasis on the care for the alien, orphan, widows, and the poor throughout Scripture. In Leviticus 19:34, God made it part of the covenant responsibility of Israel, “You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.” The reason is because they themselves were once refugees and aliens in Egypt.
The New Testament applies the same truth to the Church (Hebrews 13:2; 1 Peter 2:11). Therefore, as the body of Christ, we need to intercede for the safety, protection, and needs of those suffering in today’s war. Many fall prey and become easy victims to wicked crimes of human trafficking and exploitation.
Our Every Nation (EN) churches in Ukraine and Poland have been in the thick of this crisis serving as refugee centers. In Lviv and Ternopil alone, our churches feed up to 300 refugees a day. They provide food, beds, clothes, stipend, and free transport to Poland. Our pastors drive to war zones including Kiev to deliver tons of supplies and help residents escape on the way out. We also have a couple of pastors fighting on the frontlines.
According to Pastor Oleg Savchak of our church in Ternopil in Western Ukraine, “Since the beginning of the war, we have evacuated over 300 people from Kyiv, took 500 people to the Polish border, distributed 8 tons of humanitarian aid, and we have housed more than 3,000 refugees in our church!”
Pastor Przemek of EN Krakow purchased a few vans through the help of our churches worldwide, including Victory. He personally drives to EN Lviv, empties the vans of relief goods, fills it with refugees, and drives them all the way back to Poland every day. During a recent EN Global Team meeting, Pastor Przemek shared how he was stunned by the fact that there are over 2 million Ukrainian refugees in Poland, but you will see little to no refugee centers. The reason is because the Polish people have instead taken them into their homes and churches.
It is always the innocent civilians who suffer the most during times of war. God made it the covenant responsibility of His Church to help the poor, widows, orphans, and aliens. Let us stand in the gap and give toward their care.
- Ask God for a quick end to this war. Pray for both sides to agree to a truce very soon. Ask for wisdom and discernment for the diplomats and negotiators to arrive at amicable conditions for peace.
- Intercede for the millions of refugees including the millions more who have been displaced but choose to remain in Ukraine. Ask God to send angels to protect and provide for them.
- Stand in the gap for our churches in Ukraine and Krakow. Pray first for supernatural protection over our leaders and staff not only as they stay behind but go to the frontlines to deliver aid and help residents escape. Ask God to protect our church buildings and homes so that they may continue to serve as refugee centers.
- Pray for hearts to be open to the gospel. As tragic as crises are, these are the moments when the human heart is most open to God. Ask God for divine appointments and encounters for all those displaced; that even as they find themselves lost, they would find God.
Every Nation is a global family of churches and campus ministries, of which Victory is a founding member.
We are called to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). This is the reason we value world missions as a church and persistently pray for the nations every month.
To learn more about the situation in Ukraine, you can check the news and resources in the links below.
- Regular update on the Ukraine refugee situation from the United Nations
- BBC article on the number of Ukrainians who have fled for safety
- Pew Research Center article on how the Ukrainian refugee crisis ranks among the world’s worst in recent history
- New York Times opinion article on the Ukraine refugee crisis
- NBC News article giving a glimpse into the lives of the refugees
- Financial Times article on UK’s lagging scheme for refugees and the frustration it brings
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