The reports that many of us see offer no hope. We cry out to God for help for so many. But God is working and bringing hope to many in Ukraine in small ways. God's light is still shining even in what many see as the darkest moments we've ever witnessed.
Our business office has been overwhelmed by the love and support that has come in. Over 900 churches and individuals have contributed to helping their suffering brothers and sisters. And we realize that there are 1,000's more who are working with other trusted organizations to provide for those suffering from this crisis.
Working with other churches like the Madison Church of Christ and the A&M Church of Christ, SIBI sent donated funds to help purchase vans for ministries in Ukraine. Working through Sasha Maliuga, one of these vans went to the Poznyaki church and is working to get people from Kyiv to Ternopil in Western Ukraine. Another group of men led by Dema Grishuk known as the Volunteer Brothers from Let's Love bravely drive vans to take people out of dangerous places and get them to safety in Western Ukraine or the border where they can get help. They developed a network of churches and locations where people find refuge or stay on their way out of Ukraine. Artyom Kirilenko just recently joined the Volunteer Brothers and wrote,
"Today we took my family to Romania, they were very well received there, and after tomorrow they will go to the Czech Republic and will live there for now. I will be driving here with Grishuk's group. I am very grateful to God that everything turned out this way, I have wanted to minister to people for the glory of God for a long time. And the Lord has made it all work out. I did not realize in the beginning what a blessing it would be for me and my family. I have long wanted to serve the Lord, but my work has kept me from it. But now because of this situation, I can devote myself to His service."
Our latest news from Mariupol is that the church building is still standing and all who were sheltering there are safe. Continue to pray for God's protection for them through such overwhelming destruction.
Brandon Price is trying to keep up with all of the students and staff from the Ukrainian Bible Institute. He has written a longer report including more information about the Volunteer Brothers and others.
On the other side of the border, we hear more and more from churches in Eastern Europe helping. Vladimiras Rancevas works with the Kaunas Church of Christ in Lithuania and has taken classes through SunsetOnline.org. He reports that brethren drive 7 hours down from Lithuania to pick up refugees at the Polish/Ukrainian border. They then drive them back to stay with members of the church. This is just one of the many stories of love and one of the places we intend to keep supplied with the money they need to continue being the hands and feet while we watch and pray.
Continue to pray for an end to this conflict. Pray for the safety and faith of the Ukrainian Christians. Rob Hindman wrote an excellent article about the importance of also remembering our brethren in Russia who are suffering in many ways as well. I encourage you to take the time to read through his post from Facebook.