Soon after the first bombs fell in Ukraine, hundreds of thousands of people fled their homes and sought safety in neighbouring countries. Jesus followers in the surrounding nations welcomed Ukrainians into their homes and offered aid. OM teams in Romania and Poland continue to partner with local churches to provide accommodation, supplies and peace for those traumatised by the conflict with Russia.
Many of the people who left Ukraine journeyed farther than the immediate bordering countries, particularly to the Czech Republic. Martina, a 26-year-old teacher finishing her master's degree in teaching, serves Ukrainians in her town alongside her church. In the last few months, she partnered with OM to teach English and Czech to Ukrainian newcomers and help acclimate them to the Czech culture.
Mothers and children made up most of Martina’s classes, as healthy men over eighteen have not been allowed to leave Ukraine. Though she has seen many fatherless families and young girls without their older brothers, Martina has also seen the Lord provide through job opportunities for those in need of work, the reuniting of families and the donation of food and shelter.
In the last few months, while schools in the Czech Republic have been on break, Martina partnered with her school to run summer camps for Ukrainian children. While excited to use her gifts to provide opportunities for the children to be children, Martina expresses: “I have no idea what they saw, and I have no idea if their families are complete.” She knows that most of the children fled their homes with their mothers because of bomb raids but does not know the extent of what they have seen. Martina, and many others, strive to teach and care for the children while demonstrating kindness, patience and love.
Martina’s church has also been running camps to welcome Ukrainians into the Czech community. Members of her church have invited many into their homes and provided for their needs for months. While some refugees wish to return to Ukraine, they have no idea when it will be safe.
Praying for endurance
The conflict with Russia has resulted in the loss of life, grief and tragedy in the lives of many, but God continues to demonstrate His faithfulness. While most families entering the Czech Republic left fathers and brothers behind, God recently reunited a family. Due to a medical condition, the father could not fight but was able to join his wife and two young daughters. God provides for needs and answers prayers––even in turmoil.
Martina asks for prayer and explains that while people in her church and town are “good at being helpful for a short period of time, they can’t spend money forever or live with someone in their house forever. It is easy to start, get money, to donate and pray, but the long term is harder.”
Please pray for wisdom and endurance for the Czech church as they serve Ukrainians living in their midst. Pray for God’s assurance that He will not forsake them, no matter their trials and that all will feel His love during this time.