Tour of the refugee housing for Ukrainians in Warsaw
by Doug Hartzheim
November 28, 2022
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Transcript of Doug’s Introduction
Hello, everybody. We just recently came back from Poland on our second trip. This time, I was able to take my wife, Margo, along with me so she could see what the Lord is doing over there. We met up with missionary Peter Pollack and his wife, Arlene. Peter lives in British Columbia. But since the war started, they’ve been in Poland and Ukraine about a third of the time.
Peter was raised in Poland till he was 17 years old. He’s fluent in Polish and also in Russian and Ukrainian. So without Peter, many, many things don’t happen. He is the connector between all those four languages, Russian, Ukrainian, Polish, and of course, English.
Additionally, Pastor Jim Keenan went along with us from right here in Bozeman, Montana. He wanted to get his arms around what was happening there in Poland and Ukraine. He actually went with Peter into Ukraine to meet with a church and some leaders over there. He was awakened in the middle of the night when a rocket hit less than two kilometers away from him. Jim was able to speak at the church and had a great overall time. Jim was not without some risk.
You’re going to hear in this video from the director of the Life Center in Warsaw. It’s one of the facilities for which Shepherd’s Heart is funding the rent. And without your help, this just doesn’t happen. You’ll notice right off that we stumbled into a morning prayer meeting. You’ll be impressed with all of the young people who are banding together and really caring.
This project is just fascinating. All the different ones that were brought together to get the work done there. And what they’re doing at the Life Center: it’s a haven for children. They have a nursery and daycare and teaching and an outside playground when it’s not too cold. They have classrooms: there was a class going on that was quite full of adults learning Polish as a second language. Some of these people are gaining English-speaking skills.
The Life Center covers so many things. Not on this video: emotional counseling, help for teenagers, and a little coffee house. Really good stuff.
But the number one message we heard down in Lublin and in Warsaw was, “Thank you for not forgetting about us.” So many of the charities have gone home now or have backed off, and we at Shepherd’s Heart don’t want to be in that group. We want to be those that are in it for probably a couple of years. We’re committed to two years worth of rent, which is a total of $5,000 a month – or $60,000 a year. But we haven’t quite raised half of that yet. And we’re about seven months into it.
But we had a big thank you from the folks in Warsaw and Lublin. I hope that you get to watch the other video from Pastor Sergei and his wife Natasha as they tell their story and what’s going on down in Lublin. It’s just fascinating. You’ll enjoy that video because, together, we’ve been able to take a former casino there that Shepherd’s Heart has rented for these folks. It’s now a church with living quarters for a whole bunch of people, all Ukrainians, mostly women and children.
So thanks for all you’re doing! I think you’ll really enjoy this, and we’ll keep you updated.
As of May 2022, there are an estimated 4 million people, largely women and children, who have fled the war in Ukraine. Every day there are an additional 30,000 arriving in Poland. We are partnering with several organizations on the ground in Poland to provide housing and soul care for the refugees in Warsaw and Lublin, as well as shuttle essential supplies back into Ukraine for those remaining. Together, we are making a tangible difference!