I’m writing this email to our many Shepherds Heart friends from my room in Lublin, Poland.
I came over here with a pastor friend of mine, Brian Hopkins to see just how Shepherds Heart could make a difference. The war in Ukraine has displaced four million people to date, and each day the numbers are rising.
We’ve been to the train stations and border crossings where 30,000 per day are still coming through. I’ve interviewed these moms as they wait for their boys to come out of the bathroom. They are exhausted after a lengthy train ride, and now they are getting on a bus to go on to France. When I ask if they have friends or family there, they tell me no. I ask who is going to help them, and they say that the state is.
These families have been displaced by war, and are frankly, shellshocked. They are halfway through on their journey to a foreign place barely speaking a word of English, and no French. They are worn out, and their husbands, brothers, and dads are back fighting a war that replaced a peaceful existence.
We have been meeting with Convoy of Hope and their team here in Lublin. “Convoy” is a church-based, Assembly of God, disaster relief organization that works with all churches. They provide food and goods all over the world to those in need, in times of crisis. Convoy rented a warehouse here almost a month ago to distribute diapers, baby food, canned tuna, crackers, granola bars, and so on. Some of the refugees helped clean up the warehouse. Others that know trucking in the region are coordinating the big-rig pickups that head for a place inside Ukraine and redistribute to Sprinter vans that take goods to the front line and to trapped refugees. They have lost one driver, and another was shot in the leg.
Tonight at dinner one of the ladies was interrupted by a phone call from her relatives in Kiev. Her neighborhood was under attack from non-stop missile attacks while we were eating dinner. By the end of dinner, she got a report that her relatives had fled and were out of there. She showed us a cell phone video from a couple of days ago when her relatives were driving, and sniper bullets hit her car and windshield. They got out of there without injury, but the video was unbelievable.
We are teaming up not only with Convoy but also Joel Colon of One Challenge International, a missionary and church planter in Ukraine. When Joel and his wife Irena fled Kiev, he immediately teamed up with his two brothers-in-law to organize the trucking that is needed throughout the large country of Ukraine. His family is involved with construction and trucking and as needs arise, they are able to move a lot of goods efficiently. In fact, Joel and his family have turned out to be Convoy of Hope’s primary mover of freight into the war zone.
Through our friends at Convoy and Joel at One Challenge we are able to meet and interview families in need of a modest monthly subsidy to help them buy groceries or some of their rent. At Joel’s suggestion, we will provide six-month subsidies in the amount of $300 per month to assist families in getting resettled. This is enough to make a meaningful difference, yet not so much as to send a signal of overreach of American wealth at this time.
The couple we ate with tonight are actually from Belarus and were living in Ukraine. They are like people without a country. Belarus is a satellite country and puppet regime of Russia, and not friendly to Ukraine. Michael and Sasha have Belarus passports and license plates. They were going to apply for Ukrainian citizenship next month. The Belarusians aren’t trusted in Poland or Ukraine because of the allied nature between Russia and Belarus. Joel is helping them, and Shepherds Heart will also be chipping in $300 per month for six months as they get themselves re-established here in Poland.
I will be sending pictures and the stories of each family that we are meeting with. I am interviewing and developing relationships with each and everyone we intend to send assistance to in order to avoid this being just a transactional gift. We meet with Andre and Liera tomorrow am. Then off to Poland to meet with the Bishop of the Polish Pentecostal Church who has connections with all of the protestant churches in the area. There are many in Warsaw still sleeping in the convention center and public buildings.
When I get back next week I’ll send pictures and more explicit stories to introduce you to regular people that have gone through an incredible trauma these past few weeks.
Please consider what you can do to sponsor these families that now include traumatized moms and their children. They came with nothing but the clothes on their backs, and in some cases, perhaps a backpack. Many have no clue where they are going. Their eyes tell the story.
We can make a difference by giving a monthly donation that heads off to a personal European bank account with their name on it that will give them the right to buy groceries or pay for other needs.
I know you’ll come through for these needs! Please forward this to your pastor and anyone you know that would like to help those who have lost everything. And please consider a regular, monthly gift.
This would be like having your house burn down and running out the door with a couple of things, and then just start walking or driving to a train station which is miles away. Then you get on a train to nowhere in another country. Imagine the worst, because that it what this is. No houses, no material possessions, no more husband, brothers, or fathers within reach. No bed or meal within site. You are totally dependent on complete strangers to lift you up.
Our goal is to lift up Jesus, while lifting these good people up.
Will you consider joining in?
God bless you all!